Cats can be persnickety about nearly everything, and it’s unlikely that any cat owner has many sanctioned opportunities to get their hands on their cat’s teeth. That isn’t a good thing. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that about 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they’re three years old. In fact, dental disease is the most common health problem among pets.
Just as with humans, oral health problems can lead to cardiovascular issues, which means your cat could experience heart disease. Kidney disease is also a side effect of poor oral health for your cat, and bad teeth and gums simply decrease your pet’s quality of life, impacting their comfort level and ability to eat.
It can be difficult to know when your cat is in pain, which is why it’s your job to watch for signs of oral health problems in your feline friend. Here are five changes that could indicate trouble with your cat’s teeth, gums, or mouth:
1. Lack of interest in food
Your cat might be hungry, and she might approach her food bowl with interest, but if she seems reluctant to take a bite after checking out the victuals, her mouth might be bothering her.
2. Odd eating habits
If your cat is eating but starts to exhibit odd behaviors during a meal, like dropping food while eating or chewing only on one side of her mouth, then she might be experiencing discomfort.
3. Bad breath
No matter what her diet is, your cat should not have fishy-smelling breath. If you’re repulsed when your cat breathes on you, there’s probably an issue happening with her teeth or gums.
Cats are not really animals that drool all that much, so if your cat has excessive or bloody saliva, she’s exhibiting signs of dental disease.
If your cat has always loved to have her face petted but now balks at the action, she may be experiencing mouth pain.
Tartar on your cat’s teeth looks like a yellow-brown buildup, and red gums are a sign of gingivitis. These problems will not self-correct. Dental disease in your pet can lead to broken teeth, bleeding gums, and other painful oral health issues. Discuss the treatment of dental disease, and the steps for maintaining good oral health for your pet, with your vet. Dental chews or additives in your cat’s drinking water can help reduce tartar buildup, but brushing your cat’s teeth is also essential to maintain their oral health and overall well-being.
Pet dental care is a non-negotiable if you want your feline to have a long and happy life as your companion. If your pet needs a dental appointment or has any sort of health emergency, visit the Northpointe Veterinary Hospital, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.