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Signs of Doggy Dental Woes

July 15, 2018

Dogs are very good at communicating with us, at least when it comes to certain things. For instance, Fido can be pretty clear about making his point when he wants to request a walk or a play session, or when he’s hoping you’ll share your food. However, our canine buddies aren’t really able to tell us when they have health issues, so it’s important to watch for symptoms. In this article, a Brampton, ON vet lists some common signs of doggy dental trouble.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is one of the most common signs of dental trouble. While Fido will probably never have minty-fresh breath, his affectionate puppy smooches shouldn’t turn you green with nausea.

Tartar Buildup

Visible tartar buildup is often indicative of gum disease. Gum disease is very dangerous! The infection can move from Fido’s mouth to his major organs through his blood, and can contribute to some very dangerous health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. A good cleaning will remove that icky gunk, and fight bacteria and infections. Ask your vet for more information.

Reduced Interest In Play

Dogs use their mouths to play, so it makes sense that dental issues can put a damper on your furry pal’s usual frolics. If Fido’s favorite toys are gathering dust, he may have dental problems.

Ropy or Bloody Drool

Stringy, ropy, or excessive drool can all be red flags. Of course, some of our canine friends are naturally, well, a bit slobbery. However, if you notice your usually non-drooling dog slobbering, dental issues may be to blame.


Just like people, dogs can get a bit grumpy if they don’t feel well. If your usually-sweet pooch seems uncharacteristically cranky, contact your vet. Fido may also shy away if you try to touch his mouth or face.

Blood Spots

Keep a close eye on your furry companion’s things. Bloody spots or smears on your pup’s toys or dishes can also be warning signs of dental trouble.

Different Eating Habits

Dental trouble can also cause Fido to change his eating habits. Your four-legged friend may eat more slowly than he once did, or start chewing on just one side of his mouth. Sometimes, pups with dental issues begin to show preferences for softer foods.

Our Advice on Signs of Doggy Dental Woes in 2024

What’s the number one sign that your dog has dental problems?

The number one sign of dental problems in dogs is bad breath. While it’s common for dogs not to have perfectly fresh breath, excessively bad breath that is particularly foul can be a strong indicator of underlying dental issues, such as gum disease or tooth decay. If your dog’s breath makes you recoil, it’s a clear signal to have a veterinarian examine their oral health closely to identify and treat any dental problems. Early detection and treatment can prevent more serious health complications.

Your dog is grumpier than usual, could that be related to dental health?

Yes, if your dog is grumpier than usual, it could indeed be related to dental health issues. Just like humans, dogs can experience discomfort or pain from dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, or abscesses, which can affect their mood and behavior. This discomfort may make them less tolerant and more irritable, especially when their mouth or face is touched. If you notice a change in your dog’s behavior alongside other signs of dental trouble, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for a proper examination and treatment.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to dental issues than others?

Yes, certain dog breeds are more prone to dental issues than others. Smaller breeds and those with brachycephalic (short-nosed) features, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas, tend to have more dental problems. This is due to the crowded positioning of their teeth in smaller jaws, which can lead to increased plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay. Regular dental care is especially important for these breeds to prevent dental issues and maintain overall health. Consulting with your veterinarian about specific care for your breed is advisable.

How does a dog’s age affect the types of dental problems they might experience?

As dogs age, they become more susceptible to a variety of dental problems, including tartar buildup, gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. The risk of oral tumors also increases with age. Younger dogs might experience issues related to teething or retained baby teeth, while older dogs are more likely to face more severe conditions due to years of wear and potential neglect of dental care. Regular veterinary check-ups and dental care throughout a dog’s life can help prevent and manage age-related dental issues, ensuring better overall health and quality of life.

How often should you take your dog to the vet for a dental checkup?

It’s recommended to take your dog to the vet for a dental checkup at least once a year. During this visit, your vet can perform a thorough examination of your dog’s mouth, checking for signs of dental issues such as tartar buildup, gum disease, or tooth decay. Depending on your dog’s dental health, age, breed, and history of dental problems, your vet may suggest more frequent checkups or cleanings. Early detection and treatment of dental issues are crucial for maintaining your dog’s overall health and preventing more serious complications.

Do you know or suspect that your dog has dental trouble? Call us, your local Brampton, ON pet clinic, today!