If your dog is grinding teeth, it could be due to stress or an indication of an underlying medical condition. A dog could be gritting his teeth due to pain in his mouth or stomach. It’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian about repeated grinding, as it can result in more significant issues such as fractures, infectious diseases, damaged pulp, sore teeth and gums, and enamel loss.
What is Bruxism?
The process of grinding teeth with the help of the jaw muscles is known as bruxism. Tensing or pressing the teeth together are examples of such behaviors. Teeth grinding is common in people, but it may also happen in canines. Slight teeth grinding will not trigger any complications; however, teeth grinding on a regular basis might result in dental and jaw disorders. 1
Note: Botox injections help to treat severe bruxism in dogs.
Why Do Dogs Grind Their Teeth?
- Oral Pain
- Gastrointestinal Discomfort
1. Oral Pain
When your dog is in pain, it’s his natural instinct will grind their teeth. Dogs don’t show discomfort in the same way that most people do. Sometimes dogs try to mask their discomfort by behaving normally. A sign, such as a jaw clenching, could be the initial warning that something terrible is happening with your pet’s mouth.
Possible reasons for oral discomfort could be tooth infections, periodontal disease, broken teeth, cavities, damage to the mouth’s mucosal surface or tongue, and oral lesions or tumors. When a puppy is teething or has a loose tooth, it is common for him to grind his teeth. However, after their permanent teeth are fully developed, the majority of puppies change this habit. 2
A malocclusion develops when their misaligned teeth stop their jaws from shutting down completely and smoothly. It’s frequently referred to as an “abnormal bite” in canines, and it can appear to be an underbite or overbite. As a result of malocclusions, your pet’s teeth will grind against each other automatically in their regular mouth movement. 3
Jaw misalignment is generally a genetic issue, although it may not show up until your puppy becomes mature. If your dog grinds teeth due to dislocation, your veterinarian might recommend him to a professional orthodontist who can help. Misalignment might also create issues when it comes to drinking and eating.
Note: Malocclusion can be treated with the help of tooth extraction or braces.
3. Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Pain and swelling in the throat, gut, or intestines may also cause certain canines to grind their teeth in the same way as oral pain might. Teeth grinding could be a method for canines to calm themselves or divert their minds from the severe pain. 4
In this condition, your pet might have difficulties in eating or digesting its regular meals. A dog might not even eat at all if the pain is intense. In such a situation, it is best to consult your vet immediately; else, the problem might get worse if left untreated. 5
Human bruxism is often triggered by anxiety and pressure. This stress and anxiety behavior is much less prevalent in canines, but it could still happen. This form of teeth grinding might occur unknowingly when they are lying down or while they are in sleep during the night. 6 7
Dogs could be quite sensitive to environmental changes, especially if the changes are major or have a lot of stress in the family, like having a newborn baby in the house, shifting to a new apartment, or domestic violence; your dog may respond to these changes. Anti-anxiety medicine or behavioral therapy might help canines suffering from anxiety or stress disorders. A dog behaviorist can assist you in determining the source of your pet’s nervousness and assisting your canine in adjusting to new settings. 8
Did you Know?
Dog having stress issues have wide pupils, and they blink fast.
Is Dog Teeth Grinding Harmful?
Teeth grinding that is moderate and occurs occasionally might not always create issues in dogs. Grinding teeth, on the other hand, may cause serious damage to the dental enamel and its root over time. The teeth could become very uncomfortable and fragile if they are eroded enough. Your dog might acquire bacterial pain if the nerve of the tooth gets uncovered.
You might not notice your pet clenching his teeth initially. It might be quiet, or it could look as chattering or grinding. Until you pay extremely close attention, the motion of their jaw and mouth might not be seen clearly.
What to Do When Dogs Grind Their Teeth?
The simplest method is to examine your dog’s teeth to determine whether there is any wear. In humans, the symptoms might be mouth and jaw discomfort and sometimes headaches; however, animals may have similar symptoms, but it could be difficult to detect these subtle indications. As a result, it is only visible when your pet seems to behave different. It’s difficult to tell whether your pet is grinding.
Even though your pet’s teeth grinding appears to be minor, you should not neglect it. If you detect indications of teeth grinding in your pet, arrange a meeting with your vet. The veterinarian will examine your pet’s mouth and conduct a full check to rule out any underlying issues.
To examine your pet’s functionality and health status the veterinarian will generally suggest lab testing or scanning. These procedures could identify underlying issues that are causing your dog bruxism. They can also assist your veterinarian in determining the best techniques for anesthesia, medication, pain control, and other treatments. 9 10
Your pooch might require a dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning to evaluate the degree of the infection and to initiate treatment after looking at the test results. Your pet would be sedated, and his teeth would be checked thoroughly. To evaluate your pet’s mouth and jaw, oral radiographs (X-rays) might also be required.
If the veterinarian confirms that the teeth grinding is not caused by a medical condition, your pet may be anxious or stressed. Your veterinarian might be able to give suggestions for reducing your pet’s anxiety levels through environmental modifications, medicine, and behavioral therapy. If your veterinarian thinks it’s due to stress, he might suggest some simple methods you may do at home to decrease his stress levels. 11
You might choose to consult a pet behaviorist or a professional dog trainer to assist you in training your pet. If you detect teeth grinding soon enough, you might be able to minimize the adverse effects. Remember to take your pup to the veterinarian for regular health checks, which should be done once or twice each year.
Did you Know?
Deficiency in magnesium or calcium also promotes teeth grinding.
Prevention of Dogs Grinding Their Teeth
Feeding your pet with well-balanced food that includes all of the nutrients he requires, as well as ensuring that he receives enough activity, is critical to his overall well-being. Physical and emotional wellness are both essential for your pet. He would be less prone to develop harmful impulses if he receives enough exercise. Regular checkups with your vet help guarantee that every possible problem that your pet may face is treated before they become more serious. 12
There are certain actions you could do to improve your pet’s mental well-being and reduce stress. Social interaction, which involves exposing your pet to new faces, other pets, locations, and situations, could improve his recovery. Since it assists in the development of relationships and the establishment of trust, dog training could help in reducing the risk of anxiety.
As you learn more about your pet and things that make him anxious, there might be some circumstances you prefer to avoid. If your pet becomes uncomfortable with loud volume or lots of people nearby, create a quiet corner for him where he could be alone sometimes.
Why Do Dogs Grind Teeth?
It can be underlying conditions, pain in mouth or stomach. You must take necessary precautions to help them out of this problem. You can also plan to do regular mouth and overall body examinations at home to detect any issues. If you find out that your pet has a damaged tooth or soreness, or stomach issues, you should not take the matter into your hand. It is not a good idea to treat your pet at home without knowing the severity of the problem. The safest option is to consult the vet and let them handle the situation.