Just like humans, dogs sometimes grind their teeth. This can be a sign of many things! However, when a dog grinds their teeth, it is important to stop them. It can cause severe problems with their teeth and mouth that are not only painful, but can lead to tooth loss and infections.
Before we can help our furry friends solve their painful troubles though, we need to understand why dogs grind their teeth.
Dogs often grind their teeth due to stress, fear, and anxiety, or even physical ailments such as an abnormal bite or malocclusions.
Is there something wrong if my dog is grinding their teeth?
If you notice that your dog has started to grind their teeth, take a deep breath! Rarely does this indicate a problem. Instead, some dogs grind their teeth out of habit or in their sleep as they dream. However, if it is something that is reoccurring and causes pain and other symptoms, you should check with your dog’s vet!
When there is something wrong, your dog grinding their teeth can be painful. However, the pain is not the only concern. Actually, dogs can damage their teeth over time by biting the inside of their cheek. The pressure from biting down and grinding teeth against teeth also causes the tooth to wear down overtime.
Most of the time though, a dog is doing this because they feel stress, fear, and anxiety. It goes away though with time. However, if your dog is suffering from an anxiety or panic disorder, then the teeth grinding is likely to happen frequently, causing further issues.
Teeth grinding also happens if a dog is born with an abnormal bite. Some breeds are known to have a malocclusion. This makes it hard for them to eat, breath, and sometimes even bark!
The dangers of dog teeth grinding
So, what happens when your dog grinds their teeth too much? Sadly, your dog can accidentally break their teeth if they continue grinding them. The pressure from your dog’s jaw wears down both the top and the bottom layer of teeth, causing chips and cracks.
Dogs can also develop nasty cavities from grinding their teeth. This is because food can get stuck in cracks and chips that are further back in your dog’s mouth. Ulcers are also common in areas where a dog’s sharp tooth can graze and open a wound on the skin.
The biggest danger, though, is the introduction of bacteria. Since open wounds are not sanitary, this lets bacteria in. Thankfully though, the risk is small because a dog’s saliva is clean and anti-bacterial.
Preventing your dog from grinding their teeth
The only way to actually prevent your dog from grinding their teeth frequently is stopping the initial problem. First though, you need to find the cause! It is easier to contact your dog’s local vet to see if there are any underlying causes. However, if the cause is stress, there is a lot you can do from the comfort of your home and with patience.
When your dog feels stress and you notice this, try and remain calm and create a calming and stress-free environment. It is possible to do this with lavender essential oils and creating a calming corner for your dog. Place all of their favorite items in this corner, including any baby blankets as well as toys.
If your dog is grinding their teeth, remember to never reach your hand into your dog’s mouth. Although it is tempting to try and physically stop your dog from grinding their teeth, you can get hurt from their sharp teeth!
Discourage Dogs from Grinding their Teeth
How about discouraging your dog from grinding their teeth? If you have patience and time, then training your dog to react without grinding their teeth is a solution! Sadly, since some dogs are born naturally doing this because of their face structure and jaw, this solution won’t work all the time.
To discourage your dog from grinding their teeth, use positive rewards as a method! Every time your dog does not grind their teeth once they are calm, give them a treat. This shows your dog how to self soothe while also encouraging them with a positive reward.
When to Bring Your Dog to the Vet
So, when is the teeth grinding too much? It is good to ask yourself when the right time is to bring your dog to the vet because of their teeth grinding. First, look at the symptoms. Is your dog bleeding? Are their teeth chipped, damaged, or missing?
If the case is severe and your dog has a painful ulcer or an infection, it is time! However, please never fear bringing your dog to a vet appointment. Even if the symptoms are light and your dog grinds their teeth rarely, your vet can still take a look!
In conclusion, dogs are adorable creatures, but just like humans they have the tendency to grind their teeth as a response to stress and pain! Although grinding teeth is normal, if your dog is doing this action too frequently, it can cause severe problems like broken teeth. This is uncomfortable and may lead to infections if there is bacteria near the open wound or scratch.
Try your best to discourage your dog from grinding their teeth. Creating a place for your pup to feel safe and comfortable, and giving them rewards when they don’t grind their teeth is a great place to start.
Do you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s teeth grinding? Lake City Animal Hospital in Lake City, FL can be reached at (386) 755-0236!