Teeth grinding or bruxism can also happen to pets like cats and dogs. In some cases, you may notice a dog grinds teeth when yawning, sleeping, or simply laying down.
This phenomenon is highly associated with dental issues, though there can also be other underlying reasons for this condition. In this post, I will discuss why your dog grinds its teeth and what you can possibly do to stop or prevent it.
Reasons why a dog grinds its teeth
If your pooch is grinding its teeth when yawning or on random occasions, the following reasons might explain why:
1. Oral pain
The most common reason why canines experience teeth grinding is oral pain. A dog will grind its teeth intensely as a way to soothe the pain in its mouth.
This habit is detrimental for a variety of reasons. The crown can fracture and expose the pulp when your dog applies pressure on its teeth.
When this happens, infection and diseases can occur. It will also lead to further pain, tooth misalignment, and a slew of other dental problems for your pet.
Aside from that, teeth grinding can damage the surrounding teeth over time. This will create an endless cycle of pain and dental issues.
2. Misaligned teeth
Canines with malocclusion or misaligned teeth are also likely to experience bruxism. An abnormal bite can cause the teeth to rub or grind with each other, even if your pet doesn’t intend to.
Misaligned teeth can trigger a slew of problems. This can wreak havoc on your pet’s dental health if not addressed.
In this case, bringing your dog to the veterinarian is best. An assessment will be done on the malocclusion and the vet will recommend solutions to help fix it.
Depending on the malocclusion, the affected tooth could be removed. Nevertheless, some vet clinics offer ‘dog braces’, a pretty new procedure to fix teeth misalignments in canines.
3. Gastrointestinal problems
Take note that dental issues are not the only possible reason behind teeth grinding in dogs. Gastrointestinal issues can also be a culprit as to why your canine’s teeth grind when yawning or doing random activities.
Pain or discomfort in its digestive system may cause a dog to clench its teeth to soothe itself. In some cases, doggos will grind their teeth as a response to the pain or distract themselves from the discomfort.
4. Stress and anxiety
Although rare, some dogs may grind their teeth due to chronic stress or anxiety. This is more likely to occur on breeds known to be predisposed to separation anxiety like Border Collie, Labrador Retriever, Beagle, and Jack Russell Terrier.
Aside from teeth grinding, anxious dogs may also chatter with their teeth. This could be paired with intense vocalization, unsettled behavior, aggressive chewing, and other destructive ways.
How to stop a dog’s teeth from grinding
Most cases of teeth grinding in dogs can be alleviated if not fixed. The key here is identifying the root cause of the problem and involving the vet in the process.
Also, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to teeth grinding in canines. It’s important to assess your pet’s condition well to know the best solution for its bruxism.
Here are some of the helpful tips you can do to ease your dog’s teeth grinding:
1. Inspect its mouth regularly
It’s important to inspect your dog’s mouth regularly, whether it’s grinding its teeth or not. This way, you’ll know if there are abnormalities in its mouth before it becomes a big problem.
Misaligned teeth, unusual gum discoloration, and swelling should prompt you to consult a veterinarian. These are common symptoms of dental problems that can lead to teeth grinding.
2. Observe proper dental hygiene
Proper dental hygiene is indispensable in preventing dental problems like teeth grinding. While it’s not a cure for anatomy-related bruxism, it can still help in preventing complications from occurring.
Make it a habit to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week. If you can do it daily, it would be much better.
Aside from that, you should consider using water additives to further keep your pet’s mouth clean. Just remember that there’s no alternative to regular brushing.
3. Provide appropriate chew toys and treats
When giving chew treats and toys to your dog, make sure that it’s age and breed-appropriate. This is to avoid damage and injuries to the canine’s mouth, which can trigger teeth grinding.
Overall, avoid very hard treats like animal bones. Aside from being very stiff, animal bones can also splinter and cause blockages in your pet’s stomach.
4. Invest in regular vet checks
No matter how healthy your dog’s teeth look, you should still bring it to the vet for annual dental checks. This is to spot early signs of dental issues before it leads to serious conditions like teeth grinding, periodontal disease, and tooth loss.
Take note that annual vet checks are cheaper than having to pay for an expensive dental treatment. Being proactive will both save your dog from discomfort and you from the exorbitant vet bill.
5. Treat dental problems as they arise
Lastly, you should treat the dental problems of your dog as it arises. This way, the problem won’t worsen and cause serious dental issues.
In general, it’s much cheaper and easier to treat a dental problem in dogs at its early onset. Putting off treatment won’t just cause expensive vet bills, but also unnecessary discomfort for your pet.
Is it bad if my dog grinds his teeth?
Teeth grinding is not a good sign for pets. If your dog is exhibiting this condition, you should bring it to the vet.
This way, your doggo will be examined and given the necessary treatments. Depending on the cause of teeth grinding, the vet can either resolve or just reduce the occurrence of the grinding.
Why is my dog making a crunching noise with his mouth?
The crunching noise your dog makes in its mouth is actually called bruxism or teeth grinding. It’s a sign of a problem, which can be in your dog’s mouth or gastrointestinal tract.
Although teeth grinding won’t have immediate effects on your dog, it will lead to serious problems if not addressed. This can fracture your dog’s teeth, cause gum problems, and increase the canine’s risk for infection.
Why is my puppy grinding its teeth?
Teeth grinding in puppies might be associated with the teething phase. During teething, the pup will experience severe discomfort, which can be the reason behind the teeth clenching or grinding.
Aside from that, puppy owners should watch out for baby teeth that are not falling off. If not removed, these retained milk teeth will trigger malocclusion and further teeth grinding.
Also, it’s best to bring your pup to the vet once you notice signs of teeth grinding. This will help prevent the risk of teeth damage, especially on the newly sprouted adult biters.
Why does my dog grind his teeth when laying down?
When your dog grinds its teeth when laying down, you should have it checked for any dental problems. Your pet might be dealing with undiagnosed dental and digestive issues causing bruxism.
Aside from that, you should rule out the possibility of stress or anxiety on your pet. These behavioral issues can also trigger teeth grinding and chattering.
Why is my dog clenching its jaw?
Jaw clenching is common in dogs suffering from dental pain or generalized oral discomfort. The sensation of clenching can somewhat reduce the discomfort, though it can also result in a slew of problems.
The best thing to do is to bring your pet to the veterinarian. This way, the pooch will be examined and the root cause of jaw clenching will be determined.
If your dog grinds teeth when yawning, the best thing to do is consult the vet. This way, your pet will receive proper examination and treatment if need be.
Moreover, it’s important to address bruxism as it happens. This is to reduce the possible damage to your dog’s teeth and gums.
Dave Bryan is an experienced editor with a passion for animals and writing. With a degree in journalism and years of experience in the publishing industry, he has honed his skills in crafting engaging content that informs and entertains readers. As an editor at Petcosset, Dave brings his expertise to ensure that the content produced is accurate, informative, and compelling. He has a keen eye for detail and is committed to maintaining high editorial standards. Dave is also a dedicated pet owner and loves spending time with his furry companions.