Signs Your Pet Needs a Dental Exam: Understanding When to Prioritize Your Pet’s Dental Health

Dr. Katie Rohrig
Dr. Katie Rohrig, Veterinarian

Your pets are part of your family and, just like any family member, they deserve the utmost care and attention. We understand the importance of your pet’s well-being, and we want to ensure they receive the best care possible.

Recognizing when they need a dental exam is essential in ensuring their comfort and health. As part of our commitment to your pet’s health, we want to remind you of the signs that could mean that your pet has dental issues:

  • Bad Breath: Though a common indication, persistent foul breath could be a sign of underlying dental problems. Bacteria give off gases that cause bad breath. Bacteria are infecting the gums and periodontal space. This infection can spread to vital organs.
  • Changes in Eating Habits: Reluctance to eat, suddenly dropping food, or chewing on one side could signal dental discomfort.
  • Visible Dental Issues: Look for any apparent changes like discolored, broken, or loose teeth, and red or swollen gums. These are often indicators of dental disease.
  • Excessive Drooling: Sudden or increased drooling may be a response to oral discomfort.
  • Behavioral Changes: Watch for subtle changes like irritability, restlessness, or avoidance behaviors.
  • Decreased Activity: Dental pain can lead to a decrease in energy levels or reluctance to engage in usual activities, such as play.

These signs might be gentle nudges from your pet, indicating that it is time for a professional dental examination and, potentially, further intervention.

Consequences of Ignoring Potential Dental Issues

Ignoring signs that suggest your pet needs a dental exam can lead to several adverse consequences:

  • Worsening Dental Disease: What might have been a minor concern can evolve into severe problems, including advanced periodontal disease, bone loss, broken or missing teeth, and significant infection or abscess.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Unresolved dental problems can negatively impact your pet’s quality of life and overall comfort. 
  • Systemic Health Complications: Dental issues don’t just stay within the mouth. Poor oral health has links to issues like kidney, liver, and heart disease.
  • Increased Treatment Costs: Delaying or avoiding dental check-ups might result in more complicated treatments and higher costs.
  • Reduced Lifespan: Chronic pain and severe health complications relating to dental issues could affect longevity and happiness.

Your proactive approach to your pet’s oral health not only ensures their comfort, but also helps to prevent severe health issues in the future. Should you notice any of these signs, I encourage you to consider bringing your pet in for a dental exam. Together, we can develop a personalized treatment plan to address your pet’s oral health needs.

Schedule an appointment today

We are committed to providing compassionate and effective care to help you, and your pet live your best lives together. You can call us at (434) 836-2499 or visit us at 280 Piney Forest Rd., Danville, VA 24540.