Dry Mouth in Pets

Video: Dry Mouth & Your Pet’s Oral Health

Just like people, pets get Dry Mouth too. Xerostomia, aka Dry Mouth, is an oral health condition whereby saliva loses its protective benefits due to decreased quality or quantity. This is an original hidden cause of bad breath, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. Dry Mouth can occur as pets age, develop certain health problems, or take medications. Medications is the leading cause of Dry Mouth.



Dry Mouth Explained

Dry Mouth is frequently overlooked in dogs and cats. For some pet owners, it may never occur to them that their pet’s bad breath is due to Dry Mouth because their pet may still drool. Dry Mouth in a pet doesn’t necessarily mean a pet’s mouth is without saliva or completely dry but rather is often due to reduced flow or quality. It is also normal for every mouth to contain certain amounts of bacteria. It’s when the bacteria levels accumulate beyond what is manageable that creates an unpleasant smell. It is also when bacteria linger and multiply that result in the development of plaque biofilm. Plaque, is the sticky film you can feel on teeth that can harden and becomes tartar. The negative impact of Dry Mouth can have a domino effect which can lead to decay, painful chewing, inflamed gums, or even tooth loss.


Functions of Healthy Saliva

The mouth has a natural protective antibacterial and physiological system and healthy saliva possesses many important functions, including:

  • Aiding in digestion
  • Control of pH
  • Removal of food particles
  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Maintaining moisture integrity
  • Remineralization of the teeth


Signs to Watch

  • Bad breath
  • Thick, tacky saliva
  • Dry cracked tongue
  • Plaque & calculus accumulation
  • Ulceration or mouth lesions
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Food aversions

Medications – The Leading Cause of Dry Mouth

A pet can develop Dry Mouth for many reasons, such as the result of aging or even some medical conditions like diabetes. However, the leading cause of Dry Mouth in both pets and people is medications because Dry Mouth can be a side effect of many commonly prescribed medications. Some of the medications that can contribute to Dry Mouth include medications for:

  • Blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Allergies
  • Behavior and anxiety

Dry Mouth is a condition that can be temporary. For those with persistent Dry Mouth though, it is very important to manage and restore the oral balance for a healthy mouth.