Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Signs Of Dental Pain In Dogs

Signs Of Dental Pain In Dogs

Dogs are remarkably good at hiding their pain and discomfort so it's important for dog owners to know what to look for especially when it comes to dental pain. Our Brentwood vets are here to tell you what to look for.

Dental Pain In Dogs

Sadly, by the age of 3, up to 80% of dogs will suffer from some form of oral health issue. These oral health issues not only affect the look of your dog's teeth, but they also can actually be very painful and require the extraction of problematic teeth.

Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) can be uncomfortable on its own, while some pets may have more serious issues such as fractured teeth, tooth root abscesses, and oral tumors. Dogs will try their best to hide the signs of these conditions so it is your job as a pet owner to know the subtle signs of pain in dogs.

The Signs Of Dental Pain In Dogs

Because there is no one tell-tale sign of dental pain in dogs, it is important to know your dog's behavior. Sudden changes in behavior can indicate issues. That being said, there are a few things you can look for as indications that your dog might be experiencing dental pain, including:

  • Decreased interest in eating dry food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Dropping food from the mouth while chewing
  • Decreased interest in hard treats
  • Chewing more slowly than usual
  • New or worsening resistance to having the face/mouth touched

In addition to these signs, which clearly indicate pain, other signs of dental disease may also suggest the likelihood of dental pain. These signs may include bad breath, visibly loose teeth, or swelling of the muzzle.

Treating Dental Pain In Dogs

The only way to effectively treat dental pain is to have the underlying dental health issue diagnosed and treated. Pain medication can help reduce the level of pain for a brief time, but the pain will not stop fully until the underlying issues are solved.

Your vet will recommend you take your dog in for a comprehensive dental exam to determine the problem followed by treatment. Treatment will be performed under general anesthesia. 

First, your veterinarian will perform a pre-anesthetic exam and lab tests (typically a complete blood cell count and serum biochemistry), to assess your dog’s overall health prior to anesthesia. Your dog will then be fully anesthetized to permit a complete oral evaluation and dental cleaning. The tartar will be scaled off your dog’s teeth, allowing the entire tooth to be seen properly. X-rays may also be performed, to allow evaluation of the tooth roots and issues that may occur under the gumline. Your veterinarian will also perform a thorough oral exam, carefully evaluating each of your dog’s teeth and gum tissues.

Once the vet has completed a full cleaning and evaluation, they will come up with a treatment plan for any issues that may have arisen during the comprehensive cleaning. This can include extractions of diseased teeth, or advanced dental procedures such as a root canal. Depending on the amount of time needed, these may be performed on the same day as the cleaning but in advanced dental disease the treatment may be spread over multiple visits so your dog is not under general anesthesia for too long. Additionally, your veterinarian may prescribe oral medications (antibiotics or pain medication) for your dog.

What Happens If You Don't Treat Dental Problems In Dogs?

Untreated periodontal disease in dogs can lead to dangerous infections like abscesses and blood infections. Advanced dental disease may also affect your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys. In order to avoid these potentially life-threatening conditions, it is important to keep your pet’s teeth clean with a combination of at-home care and regular veterinary teeth cleanings.

Preventing Dental Issues In Dogs

While there is often nothing you can do in the case of emergencies and broken teeth, you can help prevent tooth pain from other causes by giving your dog the proper oral hygiene routine. Here are some tips to help you care for your dog's teeth:

  • Take your dog for annual oral examinations and cleanings
  • Avoid hard bones as chew toys
  • Feed high-quality dog food
  • Brush your dog's teeth every day
  • Give them appropriately sized chew toys to play with
  • Check your dog's teeth regularly

Oral health issues can cause your dog to feel excruciating pain. If your dog exhibits any of the signs and symptoms listed above, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible for a check-up.

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. 

If your dog is showing signs that they might be in pain or experiencing dental issues, contact our Brentwood vets today to book a dental exam.

New Patients Welcome

Brentwood Veterinary Clinic is happily welcoming new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Brentwood pets. Get in touch today to book your cat or dog's first appointment.

Book Online (615) 373-4777