Periodontal disease is serious, yet many pet owners do not even realize how common it is. It is estimated that 85% of dogs and cats have periodontal disease by the time they are four years old. So how can you know if your pet is in the 85%? Here are five signs that may indicate periodontal disease.
1. Bad Breath
One of the easiest to notice and most common complaints of owners whose pets have periodontal disease is bad breath! Although there are numerous causes of bad breath (or halitosis), periodontal disease is the most common. If you have to turn away when your pet’s mouth is near you, you should schedule a dental exam or teeth cleaning!
2. Discolored/Broken Teeth
Most pets will hide discomfort, and often we do not even know they are in pain from a toothache. An easy way to check is to routinely monitor for discolored or broken teeth. These are often diseased and require veterinary attention!
3. Gingivitis/ Swollen Gums
Red and inflamed gums are a good indication that your pet is suffering from periodontal disease. Although your pet may not display discomfort, this is often a painful condition.
4. Drooling, Abnormal Chewing, Swallowing Food Whole, or Going to the Bowl but not Eating
Any change in eating or chewing habits could be a sign of dental illness. Other problems like nausea could be the culprit, but periodontal disease should be considered.
5. No Signs at All
We know, no symptoms at all can’t really be a sign, but this is true. Many pets that suffer from periodontal disease do not show their owners any signs at all. This is because disease often occurs below the gum line, and our pets are great at hiding pain. Sometimes early-stage periodontal disease is difficult to detect.
Pets should have a dental exam (often included in the annual wellness exam) at least once a year. It is not uncommon for pets over four years old to require yearly cleanings, as well. Be sure to schedule your pet’s dental exam or cleaning today!
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