There are many reasons your pet may experience dental pain during their lives. These reasons can include but are not limited to dental disease, cavities, infections, buildup of tartar and plaque, and injuries to the mouth and gums. If you’ve ever experienced dental pain, you already know that it’s a serious issue that require prompt treatment.

Due to how common dental disease and other dental related issues are in dogs and cats, it’s very important that pet owners are able to spot the signs of dental pain in their pets so they can seek medical care for their pets before the issue gets worse.

Many signs of dental pain are not immediately recognizable as being related to dental pain. Here’s how to spot the signs that your dog or cat may be in pain.

A dog undergoing a dental exam


Abnormal Behavior

If your pet is experiencing dental pain, you may notice them displaying odd behavior. These unusual behaviors may be your pet signaling they’re in pain, or may be your pet trying to ease their discomfort on their own.

If your pet is in pain, you may notice increased vocalizations such as meowing, barking, whining, or chattering. Pets in pain may shy away from or refuse affection. Your pet may also refuse to allow you to touch their faces and mouths and may even lash out at you due to pain if you try to examine their mouths.

Your dog or cat may also start to scratch at their face or ears, drool, yawn excessively, sneeze, shake their heads, or hide.

Many of these symptoms may be mistaken for other issues such as fleas, ear mites, or stress. If your pet displays any changes in behavior, they require an examination to determine the cause.

Changes in Appetite or Chewing

One of the easiest to spot signs of dental pain is changes in your pet’s appetite or how they chew their food.

A dog or cat who is experiencing dental pain may refuse to eat certain types of food like dry food or crunchy treats or may refuse to eat at all.

Chewing on one side of the mouth or dropping pieces of food as they eat may be a sign of dental pain, especially if your pet is not normally a messy eater.

You may hear your pet grinding their teeth as they eat or chew. Teeth grinding can be a sign that your pet can no longer chew or bite properly.

In some cases, pets may even become sick after eating and vomit complete pieces of food due to avoiding chewing.

Signs of Inflammation or Infection

If your pet is experiencing dental pain that’s related to inflammation or infections, you may notice their gums are swollen or bleeding. You may also notice that your pet has terrible breath.

In more severe cases, such as abscesses, you may notice pus in and around your pet’s mouth. Abscesses require immediate care.

Your Pet May Show No Signs at All

Both dogs and cats have natural instincts that tell them to hide their pain. These instincts mean your pet is very good at concealing medical issues and it’s possible your pet is experiencing dental pain while showing no signs of pain or discomfort.

Due to their ability to hide pain, we highly recommend both dogs and cats receive regular dental exams and dental cleanings to prevent dental issues or detect them in their early stages when they are the easiest to treat.

Dental Care For Pets in Greater Cincinnati

Dental pain can severely impact your pet’s quality of life and if left untreated, minor dental issues can quickly become serious medical issues.

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, you can schedule an appointment at Companion Animal Medical Centre online or learn more about the dental related services we offer.