Signs a Dog Has a Toothache

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Dogs can develop dental and mouth ailments just like human beings. Problems like tartar buildup, infected or swollen gums, fractured teeth and cavities are all potentially painful conditions that should be addressed by a veterinary professional. Failure to identify and treat such issues can lead to infections, tooth loss and a miserable, hurting pup.


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Excessive Drooling

If your dog is drooling a lot, it could be a sign of tooth pain or mouth injury. Your dog's salivary glands go into high gear when a painful mouth condition is present. Check the drool for signs of blood, which could be a further indication of a problem.

Chewing on One Side

If your dog seems to favor one side of his mouth over the other when he's eating or chewing, it's a signal that something on the other side of his mouth is bothering him. He may also drop food from his mouth while he's eating because he's trying not to close his mouth and chew completely because of pain or irritation.


Lack of Appetite

If your dog is eating less than normal, or starts to eat and then stops right away, tooth pain or a mouth abscess could be the cause. Decreased appetite is a sign of numerous different health ailments, and should be addressed by a medical professional.

Bad Breath

Bad doggy breath is a sign of tooth decay or infection. Even if your pup isn't acting as if he's in pain, bad breath should be checked by your vet. It will help you catch dental problems before they're full-blown, and it can help you investigate other health issues that might be causing the bad breath.


Visible Problems

Sometimes a visual inspection can alert you to your dog's mouth or teeth problems. Swelling, red or bleeding gums, a broken tooth or lesions on your dog's gums are all issues that need to be addressed by a vet as soon as possible.

Canine Oral Hygiene

After your dog's dental issue has been identified and treated, introduce a good oral hygiene routine to keep future problems from occurring. Give your dog bones and chew toys designed to help remove plaque and tartar buildup. Regularly brush your dog's teeth, or have it done by a groomer. Ask your vet about dental exams as part of your pup's annual physical to ensure your dog's teeth and mouth are in good shape.


By Lisa McQuerrey


PetMD: The Importance of Oral Health Care for Dogs
Pet Wellbeing: Dog Bad Breath
Dog Owner's Guide: Canine Teeth

About the Author
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.