Have you noticed your dog developing a new habit? Have they started grinding their teeth and are wondering why?
Teeth grinding isn’t something dogs do without cause. Finding the cause can help protect your dog’s teeth, which we go into detail in our Searcy, AR, animal clinic’s article below.
Reasons Why Dogs Grind Their Teeth
There are a few key reasons why dogs grind their teeth. Some of these reasons may be the symptoms of a more severe problem. It is important to find the cause of teeth grinding to ensure your dog is getting the care that they need.
Pain can cause dogs to grind their teeth. This includes all forms of pain, even oral pain. If you think your dog may be in pain, it is best to take them to the veterinarian to see what the cause could be.
Potential causes of pain are varied and include, but are not limited to:
- Periodontal disease
- Rotten teeth
- Teething (in puppies)
Once you determine the cause of the pain, you can treat it, and once the pain goes away, your dog should stop grinding their teeth.
Malocclusion, also known as abnormal bite, is when a dog’s teeth are not aligned correctly. It may present as an overbite or underbite. Malocclusion is the one normal cause of teeth grinding. There are dog dental treatments that can be used to help or fix the problem.
When the teeth are misaligned, they will rub together during normal activities such as eating or chewing. If the teeth grinding is minimal then dental work may not be necessary. However, the more the teeth grind, the more likely they are to get damaged.
Dogs may grind their teeth if they have some form of gastrointestinal upset. This can be caused by eating something that disagrees with them, such as a food that their body is not used to.
Gastrointestinal discomfort can also be caused by eating or swallowing something that is not food, such as toys or other small objects. Depending on the object swallowed, you may need to get your dog to an emergency veterinarian immediately. Not all objects will pass through the body, and an object that is stuck can affect your dog’s ability to eat and digest food.
Anxiety or Stress
Emotions such as anxiety or stress can also cause teeth grinding. If there doesn’t appear to be any medical reason for teeth grinding, your dog may be reacting to a stressful stimulant in their environment.
The least common cause of teeth grinding is focal seizures. These are small seizures whose only symptom is the teeth grinding. This type of teeth grinding is hard to diagnose.
Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
Teeth grinding leads to wear on the teeth. The more a dog grinds their teeth, the duller they become. If your dog is consistently grinding their teeth, it can lead to dental issues including infection and recessed gums.
Treating Teeth Grinding
Treating teeth grinding involves finding the cause. If the cause is medical, your veterinarian can help you diagnose it. Once a diagnosis is found, treatment can begin.
Treatment may involve medication to treat pain or injury. Treatment can also involve a lengthy process of trial and error, as some causes are harder to determine. For instance, if your dog is grinding their teeth because of stress, you will need to figure out what they are stressed about. Then you will need to find a way to remove that stressor from their environment.
If you are unable to remove the stressor from the environment, you will need to use desensitization treatments, socialization, and positive reinforcement. Your dog needs to learn that the thing that is stressing them is not something to worry about.
This process can take a while, so finding everything that might be stressing your dog is important. There may even be more than one stressor involved.
If the cause of your dog’s teeth grinding is misalignment of the teeth, a dental procedure can solve the problem. Dental procedures can also help with any other oral related causes of teeth grinding.
Costs of Treatment
The cost of treating teeth grinding will depend on the cause and treatment. For instance, if your dog’s teeth grinding is caused by stress or anxiety, you won’t spend lots of money on a fancy procedure. You will have to spend a lot of time training your dog and money on dog treats for the training.
Dental procedures to correct malocclusion can cost around $850. Other procedures and treatment for pain will vary in cost depending on what is needed. Your vet may need to run a number of tests to determine the cause, and this will also cost money.
Preventing Teeth Grinding
To prevent teeth grinding also depends on the causes. Keeping your dog healthy is an important step for prevention. A healthy dog is less likely to develop health problems that lead to teeth grinding. It is also important to brush your dog’s teeth and keep them clean and healthy.
If something happens and you think your dog may have been injured, it is important to get them checked by a veterinarian. If they are in pain, they can prescribe something to help manage the pain. This will in turn help to prevent teeth grinding.
While you cannot control everything, certain stressors can be either eliminated or treated. If your dog is stressed about other dogs, avoid places where they will run into a lot of dogs. You can also work on socializing your dog so that they become more comfortable around others.
If your dog is stressed about loud sounds, ask your veterinarian about medication that can help your pup remain calm. You cannot predict all loud noises, but fireworks and other scheduled loud sounds can be helped with medication.
Reach Out to Our Searcy, AR, Veterinarian If Your Dog is Grinding Their Teeth
If you notice your dog grinding their teeth, contact your veterinarian immediately. While short term teeth grinding isn’t harmful, but if it continues, it can become pain that increases the grinding and harms your dog’s teeth. Find the cause and take the proper steps to make your furry friend more comfortable.
Schedule your dog’s veterinary visit with our Searcy, AR, animal clinic team by giving us a call a (501) 268-5381.
Thank you for choosing Liles Animal Clinic as your pet's veterinarian in Searcy, AR. We are committed to providing exceptional veterinary care from your pet’s first days to their final moments. Our veterinary clinic facilities have been designed to assist us in providing routine preventive care for healthy pets, early detection diagnostics for aging pets, and complete medical and surgical care for pets at all life stages.