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Common Signs Of Dental Issues In Pets: A Coral Springs, FL Veterinarian Weighs In

March 15, 2024

February is Pet Dental Health Month. This is a really essential topic that is unfortunately frequently disregarded. Dental issues are as painful and problematic for pets as they are for humans. In some ways, they are worse for our animal companions because they cannot call their dentist to schedule an appointment or even tell you what is wrong. Keep an eye out for indications that anything is wrong. This article includes advice from a local Coral Springs, FL veterinarian on what to look out for.

Dental problems are fairly common in our beloved buddies. Even the most devoted pet owner can easily miss the clues that something is awry. Some of the most prevalent ones are gum disease, abscesses, overcrowding, and misalignment. 

Pets can also break or crack their teeth. This is pretty common in dogs. Fido may look cute fetching sticks, but his fondness for carrying things in his mouth can backfire on him! Cats are purrticularly susceptible to tooth resorption and feline stomatitis.

Have your veterinarian inspect your furry friend’s teeth at regular intervals. Between appointments, keep an eye out for these warning signals.

Bleeding Of The Gums

Just like in humans, bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. You may not see anything on your dog or cat’s gums, but you may see streaks on their toys or bowls, as well as dark stains around their mouth.

Excessive, Bloody, or Ropy Drool

We know that certain dogs are, well, kind of slobbery. If your canine buddy is a Bloodhound, Boxer, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Mastiff, Retriever, or Basset Hound, you can generally expect Fido to be a little sloppy in this area. However, excessive drool, especially if your pet isn’t normally slobbery, can be an indication of an issue.

Cats don’t normally drool, so if you see Fluffy drooling, take note.

If your furry friend has dental issues, they could find chewing uncomfortable or challenging. You might also notice them dribbling food from the side of their mouths when eating.


Have you ever had a toothache? They definitely are no fun, and can in fact be quite agonizing. This is true for animals as well. You may notice that your pet isn’t acting normally. They may withdraw to a secluded area and avoid interacting with the rest of the family. In severe circumstances, pets may snarl or snap when you touch their face or lips.

Pawing At The Mouth

Another thing to watch for? You may see your animal companion pawing at their mouth or face. This may be typical while Fluffy grooms herself, of course. However, if it does not appear to be tied to your furry pal’s beauty regimen, there could be a dental issue.

Unkempt Fur (Cats)

Kitties are usually pretty diligent about grooming themselves. Fluffy may spend several hours each day keeping her beautiful fur soft and clean. If your feline friend’s mouth hurts, it may interfere with her normal self-care regimen. 

Plus, cats who are not feeling well frequently skip their customary beauty routines. Kitties, like people, frequently do not feel like themselves when they are sick.

Preferring Soft Foods/Treats

Chewing on a hurting tooth is definitely not pleasant. Hard food merely makes things more difficult. You might notice Fido or Fluffy going more for soft foods and disregarding dry ones. Your furry friend can also lose interest in hard snacks or kibble.

Dental difficulties may reduce Fido’s interest in playing games like Fetch or Tug of War, as he utilizes his mouth to play. Fluffy, on the other hand, may simply not feel like batting at her favorite catnip mouse or chasing that strange red dot that has eluded her for so long.

Tartar Buildup

As you may know, visible tartar buildup is closely associated with gum disease. Gum disease in pets is basically the same as in humans. This begins with slight gum inflammation. At this stage, gingivitis can typically be reversed with proper treatment. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen with pets. As the situation worsens, tartar accumulates around the gumline, causing infection pockets. This results in the loss of gum tissue, followed by bone.

Keep in mind that this issue really isn’t about appearances with pets. Fido and Fluffy will still be cute if they don’t have a perfect smile! The issue is much more a medical one. Gum disease is actually quite serious. It not only causes tooth shifting and loss but it has also been linked to several serious health concerns, including heart disease and liver and kidney difficulties. That’s because the illness can spread from a pet’s mouth to their essential organs, through circulation.

If your furry pal has visible brown or yellow buildup on their teeth, they may require a thorough cleaning. This removes tartar from the gums, allowing them to recover and reattach. Contact your Coral Springs, FL veterinarian for further information.

Bad Breath

Pets aren’t known for having minty-fresh breath, but their affectionate nose boops and smooches aren’t supposed to make you gag, either!

Bad breath is always a cause for concern, because it might indicate a variety of health conditions.


Swelling is a major red flag. It is not just an indication that your four-legged pal is in severe discomfort, but it is also a warning that there may be a serious infection present. Any infection can be hazardous, but those close to the brain are especially concerning.

Avoiding Physical Contact

Another issue to be aware of is if your furry pal starts to seem uncomfortable with having their head or face touched. This is particularly concerning for animals who normally enjoy having their foreheads stroked or their ears scratched.

Changes in Eating Habits

Another thing to look for is a change in your pet’s food habits. Preference for softer foods is a red flag, as we’ve already discussed. That is not the only one to watch for, however. Your four-legged pal may take longer to eat.

Reduced Appetite

If your furry buddy has severe issues, they may lose interest in eating entirely. That can be quite dangerous! This can cause weight loss and possibly starvation. 

It’s also worth noting that a lack of appetite can indicate a variety of serious health issues. If your furry pal isn’t eating, call your vet immediately.


Dental problems frequently create problems with the nasal passages and sinuses. This can result in nasal discharge. It can also cause sneezing. While the occasional sneeze isn’t cause for concern, ongoing or frequent sneezing is.

Other Signs of Dental Issues

Sometimes, the issue stems from the shape, number, or angle of pets’ teeth. There are also things to watch for here. 

Some of these include:

  • Extra Teeth
  • Missing Teeth and Visible Abscesses
  • Severe overbites
  • Misalignments

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your Coral Springs, FL veterinarian immediately. Many of these issues can be corrected surgically. The sooner this is addressed, the better! 

Conclusion: Dental disorders in pets are extremely common. Tartar accumulation, drooling, weight loss, foul breath, changes in eating patterns, and apparent swelling are all red flags to be aware of. If you detect any of the following, contact your veterinarian straight away.

Have you observed any of the following indicators in your dog or cat? Please feel free to contact us at any time. As your Coral Springs, FL animal clinic, we are more than pleased to assist!

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