Your dog’s dental health is so important. While there are steps you can take to help keep your pet’s mouth in good shape, there will likely come a time when they’ll need a dental cleaning. A dental cleaning done by a veterinarian can ensure good dental health through their senior years. 

Needing medical attention for your pet’s teeth is nothing to be ashamed of! Knowing the signs of dental disease ahead of time is the move of a responsible pet owner, so kudos. 

What are the signs you should be looking for that could indicate that your dog needs a dental cleaning? Here are five: 


Irritated and Red Gums

Dogs can experience gingivitis, and gums that appear to be irritated or red (versus a light pink) can be a sign of this. Your dog might paw at their mouth or gums if they feel sore. Gingivitis is a sign of dental disease. If you suspect gingivitis is present call your veterinarian to schedule an exam. 


Stinky Breath

Perhaps your dog has never had a mouth that is always minty fresh. That’s completely normal. Terrible breath or unique and new smells coming from your dog’s mouth could indicate that there is dental disease present. You are with your dog every day, so you’ll begin to notice if their breath is stinkier than usual. Once you’ve officially noticed, it’s time to check in with your veterinarian to explore the need for a dental cleaning. 



Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can help control plaque in their mouth. When the plaque builds up, they are more at risk of developing dental disease. Ideally, your dog’s teeth should be pearly white. If their teeth are caked in plaque that is causing discoloration (yellow or brown), you can consider it a sign that they require a more professional dental cleaning. 



Dogs with dental disease have gums that bleed easily. You may notice your dog’s gums bleeding from simple, everyday activities like chewing a bone or playing tug. If it doesn’t take much to make your dog’s mouth bleed, consult your veterinarian for a mouth health check-up. 


Loss of Appetite

Your dog is normally counting down the minutes until mealtime, but suddenly they don’t seem all that interested in their food! They poke around at it with their nose, take a couple of small bites, and leave the rest behind. Of course, this seems concerning for a pet owner! It may not be that your pet suddenly isn’t hungry. Instead, their mouth could be a source of pain for them, and it’s making them turn their nose up to their food. A toothache plus chewing up kibble is no fun. Keep this in mind if loss of appetite is a symptom your pet is experiencing! 


A healthy mouth makes for a happier dog! Your dog’s dental care doesn’t have to be complicated. Stay on top of brushing at home, and keep a close eye out for these signs that you may need help from your veterinarian.