Looking for Signs (Dental Series, part 2)

We are continuing the Cats in Tow series on pet dental health. If you missed the first entry, you can catch up here.
Prevention, as always, is the key, and we will talk more about prevention in the next article. But even prevention fails sometimes. And if it does, you need to be aware of the signs.
You and I go to the dentist if we are in pain (between our regular check ups of course!). So, should you just look for signs of pain in your pet? Well yes, but this may be very hard to spot. Animals have evolved to hide pain because in the wild they cannot show this kind of weakness. Therefore, you have to pay special attention to changes in behavior. These can mean anything and are often your clue to something going wrong with your pets health.
In particular in relation to dental health, there are some other signs that require immediate attention, including:
  • Change in eating habits
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Red or bleeding gums
  • Whines or other noises when they yawn or eat
  • Reluctance to groom 
  • Weight loss
  • Lumps or bumps in the mouth
  • Swelling on cheeks or below eyes
  • Not wanting you to touch their head or mouth
  • Pawing at their mouth
  • Difficulty picking up food
  • Chewing on one side of their mouth
  • Reluctance to play with chew toys or preference for softer toys
  • Inability to open or close the mouth
  • Vomiting undigested or poorly chewed food
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Discolored teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Rotated teeth
  • Chronic eye infections
Many people assume that many of the above symptoms are just signs of aging. They can be, but a visit to the vet is always the best way to know for sure that you are keeping your pet healthy.

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