Does your dog like to grind her teeth? Whenever she’s asleep, do her teeth make a gnashing sound as if she’s chewing a pile of nails?
The medical term “bruxism” of dog’s teeth can be a sign of some of the dog’s underlying health problems. You can avoid the action in several ways so that your dog is healthy This is the reason why your dog grinds its teeth and what you can do to help the dog?
Dog dental facts
Before we discuss the possible reasons for your dog’s noisy behavior, let’s go through some of the facts about your dog’s teeth.
A kitten is born without teeth. A puppy’s’ baby teeth’ begin to come up early in the third or fourth week of her life (also called the milk teeth and the temporary teeth). All 28 of her temporary sharp teeth were gone by weeks 5-6. Her mother starts to wean her from drinking milk during this time. Slowly the puppy will change into eating soft then solid food.
When do puppies lose their baby teeth and how many teeth do dogs have?
When she is 3-4 months, a puppy will start shedding her baby teeth so that she can grow her permanent teeth. When she is 6 months or older, all of her 42 permanent teeth should have grown.
Teething can be very painful to the puppy. She will have very sore gums and be drooling quite a bit. You might also find blood in her toys.
She will instinctively find things to chew to relieve the pain. Give her chew toys or treats that help alleviate the discomfort of teething.
Kong’s Puppy Teething Stick is particularly designed to help relieve a sore puppy’s teeth and gums. It is made of long-lasting rubber so the puppy can chew it in its paws. The teething stick’s ridges can be full of remedies such as peanut butter to get the dog going.
If you want something more homemade, then wet a clean towelette or a piece of rag and pop it into the fridge. When it’s cold, give it to your puppy to chew. The cold will relieve her sore gums.
If she’s okay with it, you can also give your puppy small pieces of ice. Make sure you monitor her because she might choke on a piece while she’s crunching on her cold treat.
You might want to reduce the temptation of your puppy during this challenging time. Keep out of sight or at least out of reach of the puppy your shoes, clothes and other chewable stuff. Make sure her chew toys and cups are all she can get her teeth on.
Take the puppy to the veterinarian to test whether the temporary teeth are all out and whether the permanently developing teeth are right. If a temporary dental remains, it may need to be removed by your veterinarian so that the permanent tooth can develop.
If your dog exhibits teeth grinding habits, in one region of her mouth she regularly rubbed the top and bottom teeth. While grinding her teeth, she could lick or smell her lips a bit. Until grinding her teeth, she could open and close her mouth as well.
She could grind her teeth only for a short time. But some dogs indulge in teeth grinding for a long time. If it is the latter, then the cause of the behavior could already be bad.
As mentioned above, grinding the teeth is just another symptom. Therefore, figuring out the origin of the behavior is the first step in healing your pooch. Track any changes in her actions because you know your dog best. Keep in mind the following:
- When did the grinding start? If you don’t know when the behavior began, then take note of when you started to notice your dog grinding her teeth.
- When does your dog grind her teeth? Is it when she is sleeping? Does she do it when she’s excited? Or does it happen when she is lying down and relaxed?
- What is your dog’s breed? Your dog may come from a very powerful jaw breed. That means you’re going to hear her teeth grinding very well. But she could come from a small jaws breed. That means your dog may grind her teeth, but you can hardly hear it.
- Is there something new to your dog’s diet? Her routine? Her household? Her lifestyle?
Write down your views. Once you start to find the right solution, these will be essential. And then will want to find the solution. If your dog grinds her teeth, she can risk losing her teeth’s enamel. This could lead to severe dental problems such as damage to pulp, fractures and infections of gums.
What are the common reasons for dog teeth grinding?
There are many causes of bruxism. It can range from physical discomfort to mental issues. Here are some of the most common reasons.
1. She might be experiencing pain somewhere in her body.
On the inside of her mouth, she might have a wound. Or maybe she’s got tooth decay. Or she might be infected with her gums. All these could make her uncomfortable. She could grind her teeth to ease her pain.
The discomfort may not just come from the region of her mouth It might be a disorder of the gastrointestinal system. This could be due to a change in her diet. Or she might have eaten something difficult to digest. If the cause is an upset stomach, she may also cough, run a fever, shiver, perhaps lose her appetite.
2. She might have a physical abnormality.
She may have misaligned her teeth or she may have an underbite. These physical malformations are the reason that you should take your puppy to the vet. when she’s teething. Your dentist may be able to determine whether the teeth grow properly or if they do not align well.
Perhaps your dog might have had an accident that altered her mouth perhaps jaw shape. A misaligned jaw could make closing your dog’s mouth difficult. This could make chewing hard for her as well. She may grind her teeth to show her frustration about not being able to eat properly or close her mouth.
3. She might be under stress or anxious.
Has anything recently changed that has affected the life of your dog? Does your household have anything new? A new baby? A new child? A member of the family who went to a different place like college? Another pet that has passed away recently?
Your dog cannot tell you that she’s sad or unhappy. So she might resort to bruxism to combat her anxiety.
How can you stop your dog’s teeth grinding?
You will need to find the source of your dog’s teeth grinding and help her overcome the reason before her behavior leads to irreparable tooth damage.
1. Take her to the vet.
The vet will be able to conduct a full physical examination. This could include your dog’s mouth and abdomen to determine if the source of the grinding is something that is affecting her body.
Tell all of your initial observations to your veterinarian, especially if your dog has vomited or lost appetite. These pieces of information will assist the correct diagnosis of your dog. Depending on the test results, the doctor will be able to suggest the best treatment options.
If your dog’s teeth or jaw is misaligned, your vet could recommend a specialist like a vet orthodontist who can help resolve the misalignment. This can be through surgery or therapy.
If the cause is painful, the exact part that is sore could be determined by your vet. For example, if the mouth is painful, the vet might see if any teeth need to be pulled or if the gums need some medicine for the infection.
If all physical exams have negative results, then your vet could advise you on the best behavioral treatment for your dog.
2. Help your dog overcome her stress.
If your dog’s teeth grinding is from stress, then help her overcome the source of the stress:
- If your household has a new addition, make sure your dog knows that despite the new person or pet she is still loved. Make your dog play happily with the new person, too.
- If someone is missing from your home, play with your dog a lot and make her a toy made from the person’s clothes so that your dog can still smell the person’s smell.
- If there’s a change to her routine, make sure that she gets used to it slowly.
- If you’ve moved to a new neighborhood, then walk her around the new place and let her get used to the new smells and sights.
- If she is anxious about a different behavior such as poop eating or peeing on the sofa, then slowly train her out of it.
If you need to, then hire the services of a dog behaviorist.
In your home, you can also create a special area where your dog can feel safe and comfortable. This may be her crate or an out-of-the-way space with a blanket or even a room for the dog only. If she feels stressed, then let her go to this space to calm the stress.
How can you prevent dog teeth grinding?
As the age-old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, the best way to help your dog is to prevent any reason for her to grind her teeth.
1. Give your dog a nutritious diet.
Make sure she gets all the necessary protein, vitamins, and minerals she needs every day. A nutritious and balanced diet will help her fight off infection.
Perform it very slowly if you want to change her diet. First, add about a fifth of the new food to three-fourths of her old food. Then continue to increase the new food and decrease the old food until your dog is completely transformed into the new food. You’re not going to upset her stomach this way.
2. Exercise your dog.
Exercise is a good way to keep your dog healthy, both physically and mentally. After all, a healthy body equals a happy doggy.
Any type of exercise is good for your dog. It can be a walk in the park or around the neighborhood. It can be playing catch in the backyard. It can be a full-on session in a dog training ground.
Some form of physical activity will stimulate the brain and body of your dog. If your pet is engaging in this type of activity, she will have less time to develop bad behavior such as grinding teeth.
3. Take your dog to the vet regularly.
If people need annual check-ups, dogs need them too. This article on dog years shows how fast dogs live. In just a year, your dog could go through so many changes that might stress her out or put a strain on her body.
Before these become full-blown diseases and cause significant damage to your dog’s body, allowing your dog to have a regular check-up may help your vet to identify symptoms. An annual check-up can help your vet find something as small as a tooth cavity or a gum infection for teeth grinding.
Your vet could also advise you on the best diet for your dog based on her age and her unique physical requirements.
4. Let your dog socialize.
Let your pet explore to alleviate the fear of your dog and encourage better mental health for her. Introduce her into an atmosphere or circumstance that your dog feels safe with other dogs or people. She must not feel as if she could be harmed or threatened by the other pet.
Don’t force your dog to socialize, though. Let her explore new animals, people, or places at her own pace.
Obedience schools could provide both a safe environment and plenty of chances for socialization for your dog.
5. Clean your dog’s teeth regularly.
Healthy teeth and gums will prevent any decay or infection. Read this article on how to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. Remember, unlike humans, dogs cannot easily acquire dentures. So, their permanent teeth are all they have.
To review, your dog will have 42 permanent teeth. Grinding these may require a serious underlying mental or physical disorder. Watch your dog and take her to the vet to determine the exact cause of the conduct of teeth grinding. Once you’ve found the cause, you can take steps to solve the problem of your dog.