Dental disease and tooth infections are more common in dogs than you may think. In fact, it is estimated that up to 80% of dogs will experience dental disease in their lifetime.
With dental problems like tooth infections being so common in pets, it is important for dog owners to know the most common signs of tooth infections in dogs. These mainly include foul smelling breath, signs of pain, and drooling.
Here we will be describing the most common signs that a dog has an infected tooth. We will also be explaining how infected teeth are diagnosed and treated by a vet as well as answering some other commonly asked questions about tooth infections in dogs. Let’s get into it.
The five most common symptoms of a tooth infection in dogs include foul smelling breath, drooling, and signs of pain in the mouth. However, many dog owners also notice swelling around the face when their dog has a tooth infection. Excessively pawing or scratching at the face are common behaviors in dogs suffering from a tooth infection as well. Here are the five most common symptoms of a tooth infection in dogs.
1. Foul Smelling Breath
Many people believe that bad breath is a given part of owning a dog. And while it is of course possible for anyone, including your dog, to have bad breath once in a while, persistent bad breath is usually the first symptom of a tooth infection. This smell is coming from the bacterial infection of the tooth itself. So, if you notice that your dog suddenly has very bad smelling breath, then taking them to the vet for an evaluation is a good idea.
Drooling is also a common symptom of tooth infections in dogs, especially if they are not known to drool normally. This drooling occurs because of the pain that the dog is experiencing in the mouth, causing them to not swallow the saliva on that side like they normally would.
3. Showing Signs of Pain When Eating or Playing
Tooth infections are painful, even for our furry friends. As a result, it is very common for dogs with tooth infections to also exhibit signs of pain. This is especially true when they are doing things like eating and playing with toys by picking them up in their mouths. Here are some signs of pain in dogs to look out for if you suspect that they have a tooth infection.
- A reduced appetite
- Favoring one side of the mouth when eating
- No longer playing as they used to
- Trembling or shaking
- Whining, crying, or whimpering.
- Suddenly avoiding your touch (especially around the mouth)
- A sudden onset of anxious or aggressive behavior
If you notice any signs of pain in your dog, then it is recommended that you take them to the vet as soon as possible. This way your vet will officially diagnose your pet and work on making them feel more comfortable.
4. Frequently Scratching or Pawing at the Face
It is also common for dogs with a tooth infection to excessively scratch or paw at their face, particularly the side of their mouth that the tooth infection is on. Dogs with a tooth infection will do this because of the uncomfortable or painful feeling in their mouth because of the infection.
5. Swelling Around the Mouth and Face
In more extreme cases, swelling around the mouth and face can occur because of a tooth infection in dogs. This swelling is the result of inflammation in and around the area, which the immune system does to fight off the infection.
Some dogs may also lick things excessively when they are experiencing pain. This is a way to relieve stress and anxiety, which are both common experiences in dogs that are experiencing pain.
It is not safe to assume that a dog’s tooth infection will go away on its own. Most of the time antibiotics are required to fully treat tooth infections in dogs, and sometimes even extraction of the infected tooth is required. Not to mention, your dog’s overall health could suffer because of an untreated tooth infection.
Sadly, yes, a tooth infection could lead to further health problems in dogs when left untreated. Here are some conditions that your dog is at higher risk of if they have a tooth infection that is left untreated.
- Further tooth, gum, and jaw decay in the mouth
- Heart disease
- A broken jaw
- Prolonged and/or increasing amount of pain.
- Systemic infections (young puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with underlying conditions are most at risk)
Many of these consequences are due to the bacterial infection itself, and others are a result of the immune system working extra hard to eliminate the infection. The longer that your dog’s tooth infection is left untreated, the more at risk they are for developing further health problems as a result.
Luckily, tooth infections are fairly easy to prevent in dogs. The best way to prevent your dog from getting things like tooth infections and dental disease is to brush their teeth regularly. The earlier that you start doing this, the better.
Most of the time tooth infections are diagnosed by a vet through a physical evaluation of the dog’s teeth. They will also consider the dog’s medical history and any symptoms that its owners may have noticed.
Most of the time minor tooth infections in dogs are treated with antibiotics. However, in extreme cases, the tooth may need to be removed. In some cases, vets may also recommend professional teeth cleaning or further oral surgery. Both things can be done in most vet clinics.
Regular dental check-ups are a part of responsible pet ownership. If you and your dog are located near Locust Grove, GA, Woodland Animal Hospital is here 24-hours a day, seven days a week to help with all of your dog dental needs. Give us a call today at (770) 467-3140, or request an appointment online.