Puppy Grinding Teeth: What to Do If Your Dog Is Grinding His Teeth

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Do you know what puppy grinding teeth is? If your puppy is grinding his teeth, it could be a sign that he's experiencing some dental problems.

In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of puppy grinding teeth and what you can do to help alleviate the problem.

We will also provide tips for keeping your puppy's teeth healthy and strong!


What is Bruxism?


Bruxism is the medical term for grinding, gnashing, or clenching of teeth. It can occur in both humans and animals, and it is considered a type of repetitive stress injury.

In animals, bruxism is often caused by dental problems such as malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth), tooth decay, or gum disease.

It can also be a sign of pain from an ear infection, gastrointestinal upset, or even anxiety.

This is a problem that can turn into a habit for life for your dog - it's pretty essential that you try to prevent your dog grinding teeth from an early age.

The longer they grind their teeth, the more problems will present itself later. For example, grinding their teeth can cause tooth fractures, leading to serious infection and intense pain if the tooth pulp is exposed to the air.

It can even lead to bone loss in their jaw, which eventually will also give them severe arthritis as they age.




Causes of a dog grinding teeth


There are many different reasons why your puppy or dog may be grinding his teeth. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Some of the most common reasons for puppy grinding teeth include:


  • Teething: When puppies are teething, they may often times grind their teeth in order to relieve the pressure and pain.

    Sometimes, if there's nothing for your dog to teeth on, puppies resort to teething on hard objects like rocks, making their already painful situation worse.

  • Dental problems: If your puppy has any sort of dental issue, such as an infection or a tooth that is chipped or broken, he may grind his teeth in order to try to relieve the pain.

  • Misaligned teeth (Malocclusion): If your puppy's teeth are not properly aligned, he may grind his teeth in order to try to fix the alignment.

  • Trauma: Puppies (and even adult dogs) tend to roughhouse play quite a bit, and sometimes they can damage their teeth or even fracture it.

    This can cause quite a lot of pain, and they will try to grind their teeth even more to try to relieve it.

    This is especially the case in rescued dogs with a history of  being abused or as bait dogs.

  • Anxiety: If your puppy is anxious or stressed out, he may start grinding his teeth as a way to cope with the feelings.

  • Stomach or intestinal discomfort: If your puppy is having tummy troubles, he may start grinding his teeth as a way to relieve the pain or discomfort.



What you can do to help


If your puppy is grinding his teeth, it is important to consult with your veterinarian right away. They will be able to rule out any underlying medical conditions and provide you with the best course of treatment.

There are also a few things that you can do at home to help alleviate the problem:


  • Provide your puppy with plenty of chew toys: This will help to keep his teeth healthy and strong, as well as provide him with something to do when he feels the urge to start grinding.

  • Give him a massage: A relaxing massage can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, which may be the root cause of your puppy's teeth grinding.

  • Provide a less stressful environment: If you notice that your dog is reacting to something (or another dog) harshly, try to isolate your puppy temporarily and see if that helps with the stress.

    Your puppy should stop grinding his teeth once you remove the stressor.

  • Bring your dog to the vet and animal behaviorist: The vet can generally tell you why they're grinding their teeth, and an animal behaviorist (specifically a dog behaviorist) can help with their stressors.

    This option is usually the best if you don't know why they're grinding their teeth (stress, or actual dental issues)


Is a dog grinding teeth common?


In puppies, it's actually pretty common for them to be grinding their teeth - especially when it's just growing it out.

This usually occurs when they're around 4 to 6 months old.

Typically in puppies it's not too much of a concern, and is taken as a normal sign of their dental development.


The real issue is when your dog has reached it's adult state (about 1 year old for most breeds), and they're still grinding their teeth, due to any of the possible conditions above.



Conclusion


Although grinding teeth in puppies is relatively common and usually harmless, it's still important to have your pup checked out by a veterinarian if you notice them doing it frequently or for an extended period of time.

Doing so can help rule out any potential health problems that could be causing the behavior. 


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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