Compared to their human companions, dogs are less prone to tooth decay. If your dog is suffering from tooth pain, decay is rarely the cause; but when it does occur, tooth decay is usually easy to spot and treat — as long as it is caught early. Read on to learn more about dog tooth decay home remedy options and proper dental treatment.
Tooth Decay in Dogs
Tooth decay is not a common dental problem in dogs. When a dog develops tooth decay, it appears as a pit on the molar surface. Cavities from tooth decay are often treated the same way as they are in humans — by filling them in.
The most common cause of tooth decay in dogs is periodontal disease, or gum disease. Dogs are actually more prone to gum disease than humans are. Severe periodontal disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, which exposes the teeth to bacteria and infection. When the teeth become infected, tooth decay and tooth loss often follow.
Keep in mind that most dogs do not show any signs of dental pain, whether from a fractured tooth, rotten tooth, or severe gum disease. Even if he has tooth decay, he will most likely still eat normally and behave as he usually does when he’s around you.
Unless you regularly check their teeth or are extremely observant and perceptive, you may not notice when your pet pal prefers to chew on only one side of his mouth; you may not think it’s odd when he refuses to be petted on the head; or you may not think his bad breath or ropey or bloody saliva is a cause for concern. Fido may only show obvious signs that he’s in pain when the tooth decay has already progressed deep enough to affect the nerves.
When tooth pain becomes severe, your dog may develop loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss and poor nutrition. He may have difficulty opening his jaw and chewing his food. You might see him dropping or spitting out his food, especially if the food is dry or hard.
Other signs of advanced dental problems include:
- Red or bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Vocalizing when they eat or yawn
- Lumps or bumps inside the mouth
- Nasal discharge and sneezing
Dog Tooth Decay Home Remedy
If your dog has tooth decay, proper oral care becomes even more important. Brush his teeth regularly. You may also have to switch him to a soft diet or wet formula. If he’s in pain, you should consult your vet about pain management options, such as pain medications. Keep in mind that not all pain medications for humans are safe for use in dogs, even over-the-counter ones. It’s important that you get your vet’s approval before giving your dog any drug, as certain medications are toxic to dogs.
CBD oil is an alternative remedy that you can talk to your vet about. CBD oil from hemp is not toxic to animals and numerous anecdotal evidence, as well as initial clinical findings, have found that this chemical compound may help ease pain in dogs, such as toothache and arthritic pain. Ask your vet about using CBD oil to help manage Fido’s tooth pain so he can also advise you on appropriate dosing.
Proper Dental Care
Especially because gum disease is a common problem in dogs, you should ensure that Fido receives proper dental care. This includes:
- Take your dog to the vet for a yearly, full oral examination which includes cleanings and dental X-rays.
- Daily tooth brushing.
- Feed him a healthy diet. As your dog ages or depending on his dental health, he may need a special diet that supports his oral health.
- Give him safe chew toys, preferably rubbery toys or rawhide bones that bend. Hard toys or rawhide that doesn’t bend can break while your dog is chewing on it and can cause gastrointestinal problems if he swallows a piece. Hard toys can also cause a tooth to break/fracture. Fuzzy tennis balls should also be avoided as the surface is abrasive to teeth.
- Examine your dog’s teeth regularly and watch out for signs that may indicate an oral problem:
- Unusual bad breath
- Broken, discolored, or loose teeth
- Bleeding gums, or the presence of blood in his water or on a chew toy
- Swelling on one side of his face
- Refusal to have his teeth brushed, especially if he is usually not averse to it
- Loss of appetite
- Chattering jaws when he’s eating
If you suspect that your dog is experiencing tooth pain or may have some other dental problem, schedule a visit to the vet as soon as possible. Humans typically ignore oral problems for as long as possible; but your dog may not be showing you that he’s already in severe pain so it’s your responsibility to make sure that any possible problem is properly and immediately addressed.