5 Signs that my dog needs professional teeth cleaning

Dental issues in dogs can be hard to detect if you don’t know what you’re looking for. After all, dogs are wired to eat pretty much anything, regardless of the discomfort it may cause. Add to this the fact that most pet parents don’t even know that dental disease is a big issue in dogs, and thus don’t know what to look for. If you’ve ever wondered to yourself if there are ‘signs that my dog needs professional teeth cleaning’ then at least you’re ahead of the game. Let’s have a closer look.

Knock-Out-Foul Breath

Even though horribly foul breath may be an obvious sign of dental problems for those in the know, it’s always surprising to see how many pet parents think the eye-watering foulness of their dog’s breath is just a normal thing to expect. Sure, there’s dog breath – this is just par for the course. But then there’s dog breath – the kind that can nearly knock out a water buffalo from forty paces. Like the American redneck comedian, Bill Engvall likes to say, “here’s your sign.”

When your dog’s mouth smells like a New York sewer, he’s needed a dental exam and cleaning for a long time coming. This stuff doesn’t creep up overnight – it can take years to develop. Even so, the process is the same. Bacterial and plaque build-up causes inflammation and further infection. This leads to gum and root decay eventually leading to bone loss and even organ failure. The molar of the story... don’t let this happen in your dog’s mouth. Schedule a dental exam right away before it gets much worse (and it will).

Broken, Worn-Down, and/or Discolored Teeth

Over time, your dog’s teeth will slowly grind down. This happens as a natural process, but it is accelerated in dogs that regularly chew sticks, rocks, and other rough materials. Once the enamel is worn down it can lead to tooth decay, or worse – it can act as a highway for harmful bacteria to infect the root, causing pain, inflammation, infection, and even bone loss over time. Discoloration is a sign that there is too much plaque buildup, and dark spots can indicate a cavity. A dental exam and cleaning will help take care of these issues.

Favorite Toys Are Avoided

Rarely will a dog show signs of pain in a direct manner. This is just part of their genetic wiring, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Even so, you can watch for other signs that indicate there is an issue. Even if your dog is enthusiastically willing inhale a bowl full of hard kibble, there can still be underlying dental pain. This can be seen if they begin avoiding favorite chew toys when they would otherwise dig right in.

If your pup is reluctant to enjoy a chewy treat you’re offering, he’s not in great oral shape. This is a telltale sign your furry friend needs a professional dental cleaning.

Unusual Lethargy

If your senior dog is slowing down, but you’ve had him checked for everything else, and he has untreated gum disease, it’s time to get his teeth cleaned. A complete tooth cleaning that includes a round of x-rays can reveal some pretty serious dental disease lurking just under the gumline. This may very well be the source of your pup’s problems. Taking care of this problem alone may give your dog back the skip in his step he once had – if anything, it will breathe a bit of energy back in his sails.

When Your Vet Says So

Your veterinarian is trained to see the signs of oral problems creeping in. If they notice that your dog is experiencing any of the signs of progressive gum disease they will let you know. All dogs over the age of three should have their teeth cleaned at least once per year (if not twice). Four out of five dogs over the age of three have dental disease – not a proud statistic when this can be entirely prevented with proper food, daily exercise, and regular yearly dental visits. Always heed the advice of your vet when they recommend a dental appointment.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to ensuring your dog has a pain-free mouth, professional dental cleaning is the key. Looking out for the signs that your dog needs professional teeth cleaning is one way to go. However, if you start early and develop an oral health routine that includes a yearly dental cleaning you will stay ahead of any problems. If you have any questions or would like us to have a look at the state of your dog’s oral health, reach out today. We will be more than happy to assist you!

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