Your Dog's Oral Health
Many of us have suffered the discomfort caused by a dental health problem and understand just how painful it can be. Fortunately, we are able to tell people when we are suffering from tooth pain and seek appropriate help to alleviate the problem, but our dogs can't. That's why it's important to be able to spot the signs of tooth pain in dogs quickly and take immediate action.
Signs of Tooth Pain in Dogs
Our canine companions can suffer from tooth pain due to a number of dental health issues ranging from periodontal disease to cavities, infections, cracked or broken teeth, missing teeth or even systemic health issues. So how do you know if your dog is suffering from tooth pain? Below are some of the most common symptoms seen in dogs experiencing tooth pain.
Visible Changes to The Appearance of Your Dog's Mouth
One of the most obvious signs of dental health problems in dogs is a visible change in the appearance of your pup's mouth, face or teeth. Monitoring your dog's teeth regularly will allow you to spot changes quickly when they occur. Be sure to watch for symptoms such as swelling anywhere around the face, swollen gums, bleeding gums, or a broken or missing tooth.
Loss of Appetite
Those of us who have suffered from toothaches in the past can confirm that a painful tooth can feel even worse if you try to chew. This holds true for our canine companions as well. If your dog is experiencing dental pain they may become reluctant to eat, suddenly stop eating, or allow food to drop from their mouth. If your dog experiences a sudden sharp pain while chewing they may yelp or whine and then refuse to eat. That said, loss of appetite is a common symptom for many health conditions seen in dogs.
Some dog breeds are known to drool a lot, other dogs may begin to drool while chewing on a toy or dog treat, but if your dog doesn't normally drool but suddenly starts it could be a sign of tooth pain. When mouth pain is present your dog's salivary glands may begin to work overtime leading to a sudden onset of drooling.
It can be hard to cuddle a dog with bad breath. But it's important to note that generally, healthy dogs don't have stinky breath. If your four-legged friend's breath makes you cringe and turn away, something is wrong. Bad breath in dogs could be the result of a dental infection or tooth decay.
Nasal Discharge & Sneezing
Severe, untreated periodontal disease (also called gum disease) in dogs can lead to deterioration of the bones around the jaw and nasal cavity. Nasal discharge and sneezing may result if this deterioration occurs around the upper jaw.
If your dog is suffering from a painful tooth you may notice that they begin chewing only on one side of their mouth. You might also notice that your pup drops toys or food if it accidently touches the painful side.
Reluctance to Socialize
If your dog always enjoyed being cuddled and petted but suddenly seems reluctant to do these things, or notably moves their head away when your hand lovingly draws near, it could be a sign of a painful oral health problem. Pain anywhere in the body could make your dog lethargic or depressed. If you dog lacks the enthusiasm they once had for socializing, playing or curling up together on the coach it could be a sign of tooth pain.
Treating Tooth Pain in Dogs
If you notice that your pup is exhibiting any of the symptoms above it's essential to book an appointment with your veterinarian. Taking your dog to the vet for a dental appointment is much like visiting a dog dentist. Your vet can diagnose your pet's issue and provide effective treatments for your dog's painful tooth ranging from a professional cleaning to dental surgery to resolve more complex issues.
Preventing Dental Problems in Dogs
While there is no way to prevent your dog from breaking a tooth, providing your dog with regular at-home and professional dental care can help to prevent issues such as periodontal disease or plaque buildup which can lead to other severe and painful dental health problems.
The following these easy steps can help to keep your dog's mouth healthy:
- Look at your pup's teeth regularly. Check for damaged or broken teeth and signs of other oral health issues.
- Make annual dental exams and cleanings at your vet's office a regular part of your pet's yearly preventive care plan.
- Do not allow your dog to chew on hard bones, offer softer chew toys instead.
- Provide your dog with high quality dental chews to help fight plaque buildup.
- Feed your dog a nutritious diet and consider switching to a food formulated to improve dental health if your dog shows signs of plaque buildup.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.