Tooth Pain in Pets by Dr. Sarah Martin

Just because they are still eating, does not mean they are not painful.

Most pets with painful dental conditions do not show clinical signs that are obvious to the owner, but this does not mean that they are not feeling pain. They cannot tell you about the pain- the constant dull headache. In the wild, animals tend to hide signs of illness or weakness – dogs and cats possess this instinct.

Many painful dental conditions develop gradually, and are more common in middle-aged and older pets. As a result, behaviours that the owner interprets as “acting grumpy” may be the result of dental pain. Owners often observe that their pet acts “years younger” following dental treatment.

How would you like that mouth to kiss you? Or how would you like to live with those teeth—it would be painful every day, all day and you would constantly be tasting pus. I know for a fact that animals with teeth like this still eat. What is their alternative? To starve? You wouldn’t starve yourself to death if you had a severe toothache but that doesn’t mean you want to live with it either. There is no medication we can give these poor pets that will make it all better. The offending teeth need to be removed and the plaque and tartar removed, then their mouths will heal wonderfully. Our older pets do fantastically with anesthesia. Ask yourself if you would like to live your senior years with a mouth full of horrible teeth?

So how about prevention?

Great idea! Getting your dog (and cat for the truly dedicated) trained to brushing can start at any point in their life, the younger the better. The key is to not make it optional: they will walk away from you if you let them! Come on in for a free dental exam until the end of March 2015 and we will gladly demonstrate techniques.