Naturally, the development of dental disease is a painful process. Signs are often vague, or non-existent, but can include:
- Picky eating
- Becoming withdrawn
- Food-shy behaviour
- Bad breath
- Weight loss
Some behavioural changes attributed to old age can actually be due to oral pain and can be hard to notice. In fact, some dogs may exhibit no outward signs at all! Regular dental checks with your vet or nurse are the only way to make sure your dog is not being affected by dental pain.
It is important to note that not showing any signs does not mean your dog is not in pain. Dogs may try to hide pain, or ‘soldier on’, and can be very adept at this. As well as pain, oral infections are often present in advanced dental disease, and infections that start in the mouth can travel around the body, worsening organ conditions such as kidney, heart and liver disease.
Dental checks are a great way for your clinical team to check your pet’s mouth, but the entire mouth can be difficult to fully examine in a conscious examination. These checks allow us to estimate the level of treatment required, but a full examination of every tooth is undertaken if your pet progresses to dental treatment under general anaesthetic. This ensures nothing is missed.