Toothaches are extremely painful, and dogs can get them, too. But dogs hide their pain rather well, so it can be difficult to tell that there’s a problem until it becomes severe. Knowing the symptoms of dog toothaches can help you put a stop to their pain before it gets any worse. We put together this guide so that you’ll know how to tell when your dog is suffering from tooth pain. 

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Tooth Pain: Six Telltale Signs

1: Loss of Appetite

Any changes in your dog’s eating habits are a major warning sign that something is wrong. If chewing becomes painful, your dog may try to eat but stop after a couple of bites, whine while eating, or spit out their food. A dog with a toothache may also stop eating entirely, because it simply hurts too much to eat.  

2: Changes in Behavior

Dental pain can also cause changes in your dog’s behavior. If it hurts when their face gets touched, they will do whatever they can to avoid the pain. For instance, they may suddenly act shy and pull their head away when you try to pet them. Dogs in pain might also act more aggressively than usual when you try to touch them. 

3: Bad Breath

Dogs with healthy teeth don’t typically have bad breath. That’s because bad breath is caused by plaque and tartar buildup, which is full of harmful bacteria that attack the teeth and give off a foul odor. If your dog’s breath suddenly smells worse than usual, it could indicate a cavity or a tooth infection. 

4: Bleeding or Irritated Gums

Bacteria also attack the gums, which makes them look red and swollen. The gums might also bleed a little when your dog eats or chews on their toys. Bleeding gums and irritated gums are both signs that your dog might have gum disease, which leads to tooth loss if left untreated. 

5: Visible Changes in Mouth

Noticeable changes in your dog’s mouth, like swelling, tooth discoloration, or damaged (cracked or broken) teeth are some of the obvious signs of dental issues. Even if your dog doesn’t seem to be in pain, ignoring these symptoms allows the condition to grow worse, which may result in a toothache later on. 

6: Excessive Drooling

It’s normal for dogs to drool from time to time, especially when they’re excited or when you offer them a tasty treat. However, constant drooling can be a sign of a serious problem. If you notice your dog drooling more than normal, it could be due to a dental issue. 

Treating and Preventing Dog Tooth Pain

If your dog is experiencing a toothache, your vet can prescribe medications to ease their pain. Curing the pain entirely, however, requires treating what’s causing the toothache to begin with. Treatment may involve a teeth cleaning, root canal, or tooth extraction, depending on the severity of the dental problem. 

You can prevent your dog from getting tooth decay by following these tips:

  • Have your dog’s mouth professionally cleaned and examined once a year by your veterinarian
  • Avoid giving your dog hard bones or chew toys that might damage their teeth
  • Keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s mouth, eating habits, and behavior
  • Brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week
  • Feed your dog high quality food

Veterinary Dentist in Gilbert, Arizona

If your dog is showing any signs of a toothache, or if they are due for their annual wellness check, contact Anasazi Animal Clinic today. Our compassionate team will give your dog the dental care they need to have a healthy smile and make sure they’re in excellent overall health. Call us at 480-497-0505 to set up an appointment.  

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/12/2023). Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash