What is a Dental Emergency for Pets and How to Avoid Them

As a pet owner you may know all of the signs of dental disease and other dental problems in your pet. However, you may still be wondering what is classified as a dental emergency. This is especially true for those with vets that work by taking in emergencies before all other types of appointments.

A dental emergency occurs in pets that are showing noticeable pain or that are exhibiting other troubling symptoms such as bleeding from the mouth. Of course, if this applies to your pet then you should seek veterinary care for them as soon as possible.

pet dental emergencies

In this article we will be explaining what a dental emergency is and how you can avoid them. In addition to this, we will also be describing what a dental emergency looks like in cats and dogs and be explaining how dental emergencies are treated and diagnosed. Alright, let’s just jump into it.

What Is A Dental Emergency For Pets?

A dental emergency in pets occurs when they are in noticeable pain or discomfort when using their mouth. This could be while they are eating, playing with their toys, and even just interacting with others.

In addition to this, a dental emergency in pets  can also occur if you notice other strange symptoms such as bleeding, the presence of pus, or excessive drooling. Either of these situations would be considered a dental emergency by a vet clinic.

Signs That Your Pet Is Having A Dental Emergency

We have already mentioned some broad examples of what a dental emergency is in pets. However, there are more things included besides bleeding and discomfort. Here are some other signs that your pet is having a dental emergency.

  • Pawing at their mouth
  • Vocalizing during eating
  • Avoiding contact with their face
  • Flinching when you go to touch or pet their face
  • Eating strangely
  • Reduced appetite
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Foul breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pus coming from the mouth
  • Noticeable swelling or inflammation in the mouth
  • Losing adult teeth
  • A rotted tooth
  • Avoiding picking things up in their mouth (such as toys)
  • Unable to fully close or open their mouth
  • Injuries or trauma to the head, face, or neck

If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms in your pet then there is a chance that they are experiencing a dental emergency. As a result, it is a good idea to call your emergency vet if your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms.

How To Prevent A Dental Emergency In Pets

Luckily, some kinds of dental emergencies are preventable. This is because most of the time these kinds of problems in cats and dogs are caused by poor oral hygiene and the development of a bacterial infection.

Dental emergencies that are caused by poor oral hygiene can be prevented by cleaning your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. You can do this by brushing them manually with pet toothpaste and a pet toothbrush and by giving your dog or cat dental chews.

What To Do If Your Pet Has A Dental Emergency

If you believe that your pet is having a dental emergency then you should call your vet immediately. They will either be able to give you an appointment as soon as they can or direct you to a place that can. Some cases may require that you take your pet to an emergency animal hospital.

If your pet seems to be choking on something or is experiencing another potentially life threatening event then you should call an emergency vet immediately.

How Is A Dental Emergency Diagnosed In Pets

Dental emergencies are diagnosed by a vet. They will usually diagnose a dental emergency by hearing the pet’s symptoms from the pet owner and by doing a physical exam. Once they have taken a look they will likely discover the root cause for the pet’s dental emergency and present the pet owner with treatment options.

How Is A Dental Emergency Treated In Pets

Dental emergencies in pets are treated in a variety of different ways, and it all depends on what the root cause of a pet’s dental emergency is. For example, severe gingivitis in pets requires frequent professional teeth cleanings, while a severe injury to the mouth may require surgery. Here is a rundown of all of the most common dental emergencies in pets and how they are treated.


Gingivitis occurs when there is a build up of tartar and bacteria in the mouth. In pets this is fairly common, and it can cause them pain or discomfort. Luckily, gingivitis is a very treatable condition, and it is usually treated with regular teeth cleanings by a vet and improved oral hygiene at home.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease occurs in pets that have had untreated gingivitis for an extended amount of time, and it occurs when the tissues around the tooth become infected. Considering that the infection is much deeper in periodontal disease than it is in gingivitis, teeth cleanings are not usually enough to treat this disease. In fact, sometimes dental surgery is required to correct this type of dental emergency.


Injuries to the head and mouth can cause a lot of unique and serious problems. The type of treatment required for this kind of dental emergency is individualized. Severe injuries will likely require surgery, while less severe injuries may require other treatments or preventative care.

Abscesses and Severe Infections

Severe infections and abscesses in pets are usually treated with antibiotics, which helps the pet fight the bacterial infection. In addition to this, some pets may require specialized teeth cleanings and other treatments.

Parkway Is Here for Your Pet’s Dental Emergencies in Lakeland, FL

At Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic, we’re here when your pets need it. If you think your pet is having an emergency, don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions!

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At Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic, our team consists of experienced veterinarians and veterinary professionals dedicated to providing exceptional after-hours emergency vet care to the pet community of Lakeland.