Symptoms of Dog Toothaches

By Jane Meggitt

You probably know how bad a toothache feels, and you likely sought out a dentist for relief as soon as possible. If Fido has a toothache, it's not just that he can't tell you his mouth hurts. He doesn't want to let on -- it's canine instinct to keep any pain or illness hidden. In the wild, pain acknowledgment means vulnerability to predators. Symptoms of dog toothache aren't always obvious, but include behavioral changes, chewing issues and drooling.

Eating Difficulties

If your dog stops eating, you know something is wrong. Tooth pain might not cause loss of appetite. However, it can cause your dog to change the way he chews. If you notice your dog dropping food, chewing oddly or chewing only on one side of his mouth, that could indicate tooth issues. While he might consume wet food handily, he might not want to eat hard, dry food. Certain foods are hard for him to pick up. He could also ignore rawhide "chewies" and other treats he usually loves.

Physical Signs

If your dog starts drooling excessively or his breath smells bad, decayed or abscessed teeth could be the cause. The saliva might contain blood, or appear quite stringy. You might notice blood on his gums. Your dog might make noises when he eats, although it's not usually a yelp of pain. He might not want you touching his face or head. If he's suffering from advanced periodontal disease, he could sneeze frequently or experience a nasal discharge.

Behavioral Changes

If your formerly pleasant pup experiences behavioral changes, an aching tooth could be the cause. The American Veterinary Dental College website states that "acting grumpy" could result from mouth pain. While a behavioral change doesn't necessarily mean your dog has dental issues, it does indicate that something is wrong with him. Take him to the vet for an examination, which includes a good look at his mouth.

Canine Dental Hygiene

If you brush your dog's teeth daily and keep up on his oral hygiene, you'll notice any symptoms of tooth problems early on. Your vet should examine your dog's mouth at his annual wellness examination, and advise you on whether your pet requires a teeth cleaning. While such cleaning, done under anesthesia, isn't cheap, it can spare your dog from tooth issues and pain in the long run. Your vet can show you how to brush your dog's teeth and provide you with canine toothpaste recommendations. She can also suggest foods and chews designed for dental health.