Does Your Dog Have Sensitive Teeth?

Madelene Hissom · Aug 10, 2021

Author: Janine DeVault

If you’ve ever suffered from tooth pain you know you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. So, you certainly wouldn’t want your dog to suffer from it!  

Since our pets can’t speak, it can be difficult to notice their ailments until they are quite advanced. Unfortunately, tooth sensitivity can be particularly tricky to identify given that you probably don’t spend a lot of time looking in your dog’s mouth. As a result, tooth pain often isn’t noticed until its cause is quite advanced.  

With this in mind, it’s important to know your dog’s baseline condition so you can spot any changes in their behavior or physical state.  

Below, we’ve covered some of the main signs of canine tooth sensitivity to help you spot issues before they become excessively painful for your pup. 

1. Excessive drooling

    While a certain amount of drooling is normal, excessive drooling can be an indication of a wound in your dog’s mouth. You see, saliva contains antibacterial characteristics that help your dog self-heal wounds. The antibacterial qualities of saliva also help to prevent cavities and tooth decay in dogs.  

    If your dog has a dental-related injury such as a cracked tooth or a wound in the mouth, the salivary glands may start working overtime in an attempt to heal the affliction. 

    2. Bad breath

      Your dog’s breath may never smell particularly rosy, but if it seems worse than usual, check for signs of dental problems. 

      Bad breath can be an indication of a wound or infection in your dog’s mouth, both of which could be painful. Common infections include tooth abscesses or cracked teeth.  

      If your pup’s bad breath is coupled with any of the other symptoms on this list, he could be suffering from a painful dental affliction. 

      3. Disinterest in eating

        When dogs experience tooth sensitivity or pain, chewing may become uncomfortable, leading them to avoid eating their food.  

        If your dog is typically very food-oriented, you’ll notice immediately if they begin avoiding their meals. For dogs that typically only graze, a change in eating habits might be harder to notice. 

        Keep an eye on your dog as they eat. Are they chewing more slowly than usual? Sometimes a dog will take a bit or two and then walk away. Other times they may attempt to eat and then spit their food out because it hurts to chew.  

        It’s always wise to keep an eye on your dog as they eat so you can spot any unusual behavior early on. 

        4. Resistant to having their face touched

          A dog experiencing tooth pain will probably shy away from having their face touched. A dog in extreme pain may even yelp, growl, or show their teeth if you attempt to touch a sensitive spot on their face. This probably isn’t an aggressive behavior, just an effort to protect against additional pain. 

          If your otherwise gentle dog is suddenly unwilling to let you touch their face, the situation likely warrants further investigation. They could have a serious tooth infection that’s causing incredible discomfort. 

          5. Swelling or redness in their mouth

            Redness and swelling are both tell-tale signs of infection. If you notice any swelling on your dog’s snout or face, try to take a closer look. Redness inside the mouth can help you identify where your dog’s pain is originating. 

            If you can manage to get a look inside your pup’s mouth, keep an eye out for swollen or bleeding gums, cracked or missing teeth, abscesses, or abrasions that could be causing pain. 

            How to Prevent Tooth Sensitivity 

            Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth sensitivity and dental problems in your dog. Feeding your dog high-quality food and healthy treats can go a long way in preventing dental problems from developing. 

            Additionally, as we discussed above, saliva has antibacterial qualities which help prevent tooth decay and keep your dog’s mouth in good health. You can encourage saliva secretion by offering high-quality chew toys and treats for your dog to enjoy. 

            Pixie Bully Sticks are a tasty treat that is easy to chew due to the fact that they’re hollow on the inside. This makes them a great option for teething puppies or senior dogs.   

            In the same way, Gullet Sticks are easily digestible, even by dogs with sensitive stomachs.

            If your dog is more of a heavy chewer, treats like Jumbo Bully Sticks or Braided Bully Sticks are more challenging and are great to help prevent tooth sensitivity.

            Introducing snacks like these will help promote saliva secretion which acts as a natural defense against dental issues while acting as a tasty reward for your dog— it’s a win all around!  

            If you notice your dog exhibiting signs of tooth pain, contact your veterinarian for assistance. Depending on how severe the cause is, your dog may require antibiotics, a tooth extraction, or other forms of treatment you won’t be able to provide on your own.