Behavior

Why Does My Dog Grind His Teeth? Understanding Behaviour

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

If you are a paw parent then you must be tired of the certain behaviour and actions of your dog. Sometimes these actions of your dog might make you worry about their health, one such action is teeth grinding. If your dog grinds the teeth you may wonder, Why does my dog grind his teeth?

Well, worry no more, through our blog we will provide you with in-depth knowledge on why your dog might be grinding its teeth.

Why Does My Dog Grind His Teeth?

What Is a Dog Grinding Teeth?

Dog grinding the teeth is a condition in which dog’s both upper teeth and bottom teeth are rubbed against each other. This rubbing movement of teeth can be either side by side or up and down.

This dog grinding teeth is also known as Bruxism[1]. Dog grinding their teeth can be due to many reasons. Some of these reasons are common and may not require you to stress about it. Whereas, some of the reasons can be indications of some medical emergency.

Dog grinding the teeth be it due to common reasons or medical reasons in either of the cases is harmful. Frequent grinding of teeth results in the wearing out of enamel, which can give rise to several dental problems.

Why Does My Dog Grind His Teeth?

Dog Grind His Teeth

Here are the reasons that can cause the dog to grind his teeth:

Dental problems

If your dog is grinding its teeth frequently then it can be due to dental issues. If your dog is facing problems related to teeth, gums or jaw then he may grind the teeth due to pain and discomfort.

Dental problems like tooth decay, fractures, and misalignments cause extreme pain and make the gums and jaw inflamed. These problems can further lead to infection and make it difficult for your dog to chew and move the jaw. To express their pain and discomfort your dog grinds their teeth.

Abdominal pain

Certain gastrointestinal disorders and digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramps and diarrhoea affect dog’s intestines. These issues lead to discomfort in them.

Apart from this, there are some intestinal diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis, pancreatitis or parasite infection. These serious conditions cause unbearable pain in dogs, to deal with this pain dogs tend to grind their teeth.

As mentioned by Heidi Kos-Barber, DVM in petmd, "Gastrointestinal problems can also cause jaw chattering. Dogs with nausea, vomiting, or gastroesophageal reflux may chatter their jaws or grind their teeth. If your dog’s jaw is clenched, their teeth can rub together, causing grinding. They may also drool."

Stress and anxiety

Dogs often suffer from stress and anxiety due to many possible reasons. This depends on their mood and behaviour. Stress and anxiety can be triggered in dogs due to changes in place when left alone, loud noise, and unfavourable or unfavourable surroundings.

To deal with this stress and anxiety and to reduce it your dog may grind his teeth. Grinding the teeth helps dog release their nervousness and exhibit their feeling.

Seizures

Seizures are a neurological condition that affects the dog’s nervous system. It is an irreversible condition in which the specific part of the dog’s brain is affected. Due to this, the reaction is seen in the dog’s movement, awareness and sensation.

Seizures in dogs can be caused due to reasons like injury, tumour, or any other infection. Dog suffering from seizures often grind their teeth due to muscle contraction or irregular brain functioning.

Anger

Apart from all these medical conditions dogs may grind their teeth due to some behavioural factors too. Anger is one such factor, if your dog is angry or charged up, then to express the aggression he will likely grind the teeth.

Cold

Cold weather can also make your dog grind its teeth. Like humans dogs too feel the cold, so if the weather becomes chill dog grind their teeth. This cause is common and you may not need to worry about it.

Your dog may even feel cold after bathing, this is why you should dry them off immediately.

How To Prevent Teeth Grinding in Dogs?

Prevent Teeth Grinding in Dogs

Here are the ways to prevent teeth grinding in dogs:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, this will help you keep your dog’s teeth clean. By maintaining dental hygiene you can prevent various dental issues and pain related to it in dogs. This will help to prevent teeth grinding in dogs. (You can consider the dog teeth cleaning cost to maintain good dental hygiene for your furry friend.)
  • Keep your dog away from hard objects to prevent them from chewing it. These hard objects if chewed by a dog can lead to the breaking of teeth, jaw injuries or even fractures.
  • Keep your dog in a less stressful environment to avoid stress in them. Avoid taking them to places where they feel threatened or where there is too much of loud sound.
  • To cope with anxiety provide your dog with toys and if possible keep them in a favourable and familiar environment. Doing this will reduce their anxiety even if they are left alone.
  • If your dog is grinding the teeth more often then consult a vet as soon as possible. Doing this will help know the real cause of teeth grinding and it can be prevented. (The vet can also advise you on how to remove plaque from dog teeth to prevent dental issues.)

FAQs

Why does my dog grind his teeth?

There is no single reason associated with your dog grinding their teeth. Dog grinding teeth can be due to some common causes like anger and cold. There are some serious issues like dental issues, jaw issues, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal discomfort, anxiety, stress or even seizures.

How do I stop my dog from grinding his teeth?

To stop your dog from grinding teeth first, you need to know the exact reason behind it. If your dog is grinding teeth due to anxiety, anger or stress then try taking him to calm surrounding. The teeth grinding due to medical issues need to be addressed by the vet and for the cold-related reason try warming the dog’s body.

Why does my dog grind his teeth when he falls asleep?

If your dog is grinding their teeth when he falls asleep then the main reason for this can be your dog feeling cold or having a bad dream. Apart from this, the other reasons for your dog grinding teeth in sleep can be pain and discomfort.

Is it bad for dogs to grind their teeth?

Yes, it is bad for dogs to grind their teeth. Frequently grinding of teeth by dogs can lead to the wearing out of tooth enamel. This issue can further increase and lead to pain, and dental infection and can even damage the teeth.

What does it mean when a dog grinds their teeth at you?

If your dog is grinding its teeth at you then it can be either to show aggression or to establish dominance. To know this behavioural reason behind a dog’s teeth-grinding notice the dog’s body language. If your dog is growling, and barking along with grinding at you then it is better to stay away from them.

Conclusion

Dog grinding the teeth may seem to be common but has medical reasons associated with it. Some of these reasons are serious, we hope that through our blog, “Why does my dog grind his teeth?” we made you aware of them.

Even if your dog grinding the teeth is not related to a serious issue still it is not good for them. Grinding of teeth leads to wearing off enamel which weakens the teeth. To prevent this you should provide them some distractions or consult the vet.

Reference:

  1. Tan, E., Chan, L., & Chang, H. (2004). Severe bruxism following basal ganglia infarcts: insights into pathophysiology. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 217(2), 229–232.
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About
Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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