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8 Warning Signs of Pet Dental Disease

Recognizing Oral Disease in Dogs and Cats

Recognizing the warning signs pet dental disease in your pet is the first step to a healthier pet. You must lift the lips of your pet in order to see the teeth and gums before you can make any decisions. Use your senses of sight, smell and touch to evaluate the health of your pet’s mouth. Normal teeth have a uniform white color and the gums have a light pink color throughout. If you see any redness or discoloration present on the teeth or gums that is an indication of dental disease. If you smell a foul odor coming from the mouth that is also an indication of dental disease. If you touch the teeth and they move or the gums and they bleed that is an indication of a more serious condition called periodontal disease.

BY AGE 3 — Up to 70% of cats and 80% dogs are showing signs of Periodontal Disease (Gum disease with potential bone loss)

Many painful dental conditions develop gradually, and are more common in middle-aged and older pets. As a result, behavior that the owner interprets as “acting grumpy” may be the result of dental pain. Owners often observe that their pet acts “years younger” following dental treatment.

SMALL DOGS — BIGGER DENTAL ISSUES: Owners of small dog breeds filed 10% more dental claims than owners of large dog breeds. Small dogs are also more likely to develop periodontal disease, gingivitis, bone loss, and eventual tooth loss than big dogs.

Behaviorally, you might see changes in eating such as dropping food, excessive drooling, even running away from the food bowl after starting to eat. However in most cases your pet will not express their pain and will suffer in silence instead.


  • Oral trauma / Fractured tooth
  • Gingivitis
  • Tooth resorption
  • Deciduous teeth
  • Ulverative stomatitis

Your pet’s regular veterinarian will have the perspective to recognize dental disease; therefore, it is best to start with an examination. If your veterinarian suggests that it would be in your pet’s best interest to see someone with advanced training in dentistry our veterinary dental specialists would be pleased to become part of your pet’s health care team.

SEEING THE ROOT(S) OF THE PROBLEM: Dental disease is painful! Full-mouth digital radiographs play a critical role in assessing the internal anatomy and health of the teeth, the tooth roots, and the bone structure that surround the roots. Proper imaging is also crucial to identify and effectively treat all cancers in the oral cavity.

Thinking about Anesthesia Free Pet Dentistry?

Call (410) 828-1001 to make an appointment at any of our locations or click below to contact us.

Our doctors are Board Certified Veterinary Dentists™

The board-certified veterinary dentists at Animal Dental Center have the extensive knowledge, expertise, and specialized equipment to determine the extent and severity of your pet’s oral disease and to provide appropriate treatment. You will have peace of mind knowing your pet is receiving a professional dental cleaning, diagnosis through radiographs and treatment of periodontal disease and other oral pathology. This treatment, usually combined with at-home daily oral homecare will also help to prevent future oral disease.
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