If you have ever had a toothache, you then understand how a relatively minor pain in a small area can have a negative effect on your entire health and well being. This is the same for your dog. A cracked tooth, cavity, or infection can quickly become a major health problem if left untreated. Part of the problem is your dog cannot tell you where they hurt. Fortunately, by knowing the signs of dog dental problems you can quickly recognize when there is an issue and seek treatment.
Sign #1: Decreased appetite
If your dog appears to have trouble eating, isn't eating, or is losing weight, then dental issues can be the problem. This is especially true if they have no issue eating soft food, like a table scrap or occasional treat, but refuse to eat hard treats or their normal food.
Sign #2: Drooling
Many dogs drool and this isn't a problem. The issue is if you notice your dog drooling more or if the drool is pink and has blood in it. The drool is in response to the pain and the infection. Pink or red in the drool indicates blood, which means you need to take your dog in for treatment.
Sign #3: Swollen gums or muzzle
A bad infection can lead to an abscess. You will typically notice swelling on only one side of the muzzle or along the gum lines on one side of the face. This means your dog has a pocket of infection that needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Sign #4: Tooth Loss
In severe cases infections can cause teeth to loosen or even come out. Some dogs are very good at hiding their pain, which means this may be the first visual sign of a problem. Unless your dog is a puppy, there is no good reason to lose a tooth. A lost tooth means you need to get in to the vet.
Sign #5: Tenderness
Does your dog no longer enjoy head scratching and petting so they turn away, or worse, snap at you? If so, then pain in the mouth is likely the cause and a dental infection is likely at the root of it. Even the most friendly dogs can lash out when in pain, so don't overlook this behavior if it isn't normal.
For more help, contact a vet hospital like the Animal Emergency Clinic to schedule an appointment for your dog.