National Toothache Day: Does Your Pet Have a Toothache?

Tossing and turning in bed until the wee hours of the night, trying to brave through the painful throbbing of a damaged tooth even for just an hour’s worth of shuteye—yep, we’ve all been there and it’s no fun! That’s why as adults, we’ve learned that skipping a 2-minute teeth cleaning ritual isn’t worth getting a head start on those z’s.

As a way to educate people on the importance of dental care, as well as the prevention and treatment of teeth-related issues, we observe National Toothache Day every February 9th. However, as pet owners, we should care for our furry friends’ teeth the same way we do ours. They’re just as vulnerable to developing toothaches as we are. But since they don’t have the ability to verbally communicate that they’re in pain, it’s important that we know the signs to look out for.


5 Signs that Your Pet Has a Toothache

National Toothache Day: Does Your Pet Have a Toothache?

Red Gums

One of the first signs of a developing tooth problem are red, inflamed gums, especially in cats. They normally appear as a line along the affected areas, where the teeth meet the gums. Usually, this happens as a result of an infection caused by bacterial buildup (plaque).

Checking your pet’s mouth regularly can help you spot developing dental issues early and prevent them from getting worse. If you see any redness, inflammation, pus, abscesses, discoloration, bleeding, or any other abnormalities, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

Chewing On One Side

Most pets, especially food-motivated ones, wouldn’t mind making adjustments to their regular eating methods just to continue gobbling up their favorite meals and treats. For most, that means chewing on one side to keep food particles from coming into contact with an aching tooth.

However, if your furry friend has problematic teeth on both sides, they may forgo chewing altogether and simply swallow chunks of their main entrée whole.

Excessive Drooling

Another classic sign of a toothache in pets is excessive drooling. This is because the salivary glands tend to produce more saliva whenever there’s an infection or injury inside the mouth. Sometimes, blood may also be present in the saliva.

Bad Breath

While our pets’ mouths don’t necessarily smell like flowers when they’re healthy, it’s usually pretty bearable. If it becomes a little too foul that it (almost) makes you want to grab the nearest trash bin and spill your guts out, however, then something is terribly wrong. Whether from tooth decay or an infection, rotting tooth often causes a very distinct, foul odor that resembles rotten eggs or meat.

Loss of Appetite

In some cases, the pain from the infected tooth could be so severe that it causes your pet to refuse to eat. If that happens, try to inspect their mouth for any of the signs mentioned above. But only if they let you. It may be too painful for them to open their mouth. If that’s the case with your pet, it’s best to bring them to the animal clinic so they can get sedated prior to examination.


My Pet Has a Toothache, Now What?

National Toothache Day: Does Your Pet Have a Toothache?If you believe that your pet has a toothache, take them to the animal clinic right away. Your veterinarian will perform an oral examination to confirm the root of the issue.

Once your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with a tooth infection, you’ll be given two options. The first one is a procedure called extraction, where your pet goes under anesthesia and your veterinarian pulls the infected tooth (or teeth) out. This is the fastest and most inexpensive way to resolve the issue.

Another option is a root canal, for pet owners who want to save their pet’s tooth (or teeth). However, there are specialized skills and equipment required for this procedure, so it will need to be done by a licensed veterinary dentist. Unlike teeth extraction, root canals are on the pricier side.


How to Observe National Toothache Day

National Toothache Day: Does Your Pet Have a Toothache?

Check Your Dog’s Teeth

What better way to observe National Toothache Day than to check whether or not your pet has a toothache, right? So take some time out of your day to examine your furry pal’s mouth for any abnormalities and signs of a tooth infection.

Get Your Pet’s Teeth Professionally Cleaned

Since it’s recommended that both pet owners and pets get their teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year, why not do it on National Toothache Day? It’ll make it much easier for you to remember, too!  So after visiting your dentist and getting those pearly whites scrubbed to perfection, don’t forget to bring your pet to the vet for professional teeth-cleaning as well.

Consider Getting Teeth Cleaning Chew Toys

Whether you’re still working on getting your pet to warm up to the idea of tooth brushing or simply looking for another way to keep your pet’s teeth clean aside from a dental cleaning kit, then consider investing in teeth cleaning chew toys or dental sticks. They’ll be cleaning their own teeth without even realizing it!


How do you plan on spending National Toothache Day?