Not all dogs howl in pain when they get a tooth infection.
Do you know what symptoms to look for?
What can one use to help your fur buddy and when must you see your vet?
Like most people, dogs get tooth niggles like aches and infections.
A common reason for tooth infections may be an abscess. This is an enclosed pocket of infection inside the tooth and occurs when bacteria gets into the root of a tooth. Tooth abscesses may occur due to periodontal or gum disease or if your dog breaks a tooth.
“If Buddy breaks the tooth into the pulp, then the tooth dies quickly,”
says John Huff, D.V.M., FAVD, Dipl. AVDC, a board-certified veterinary dentist.
Your dog can break a tooth without you even knowing it. Common culprits are dog-chews that are too hard for your particular dog’s teeth. Some examples are rawhide, pig’s ears, dog toys, etc.
Your veterinarian may help recommend chew items that are safe for your dog’s teeth.
Dogs can also break their teeth through mouth trauma. Excited dogs may run into a door or get hit in the mouth with their favourite toy or even a foreign object. Accidents happen!
Signs of a Dog Tooth Infection – What to look for.
Dogs with a tooth infection are generally in quite a bit of pain. Dogs are also experts at hiding pain!
Remember that a weak animal in the wild is a target for predators. Animals will tend to mask any signs of pain, illness or injury as a survival mechanism – instinct.
Your dog may show no signs of a tooth infection at all.
“Dogs don’t point to their face and say, ‘Hey, my tooth hurts’. They still eat, they still drink. The drive to eat far outweighs any pain or infection they’re having. We see a lot of dogs with infected teeth every day that the owners don’t notice really anything.”
Subtle signs of a dogtooth infection may include:
- not wanting to eat dry food or hard treats
- dropping pieces of food out of the mouth while eating
- not chewing on a favourite toy
- bad breath
- not wanting the face or mouth touched
- scratching the face or rubbing it on the floor.
With advanced tooth infections, you might see:
- swelling around the eyes or
- a draining wound near the eyes or nose.
“When it finally does come to clinical signs and now they’re drooling or they stopped eating or there is a swelling of the face, that’s the very end stage of the problem and very late in the process,”
Dr Huff says.
This means that your dog is in serious pain.
Are There Any Dog Tooth Infection Home Remedies?
If you think your dog might have a tooth infection, don’t try to treat it at home.
“All the brushing in the world doesn’t correct the infection,”
Dr Huff explains.
Instead, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.
After your vet diagnoses your dog with a tooth infection, you generally have two options for treatment.
The simplest and most cost-effective way to fix the issue is to pull the tooth. Tooth extractions are performed under anaesthesia. Your dog will feel much better once the infected tooth is out.
Where possible, a root canal may save the problematic tooth. Canine root canals are the domains of specialist veterinary dentists. They have special skills and equipment required for a successful procedure. Root canals are more expensive than pulling the tooth. Your dog will however, get to keep his tooth and be infection free.
To explore this option, your regular vet may refer you to a veterinary dentist in your area.
After a dental procedure, keep your fur buddy’s chompers clean and clear with PlaqueOff Animal, proven to keep teeth cleaner for longer after any veterinary dental procedure.