Tooth grinding is a common issue in this type of breed. Some owners become concerned when they realize that their Boxer's teeth do not look healthy or have not developed normally. Dental hygiene is of utmost importance in this case, but how do you know that something is wrong and what are the signs that indicate a medical problem? These are common questions Boxer owners ask themselves at one point or another. There are several explanations for the behavior, so let’s find out more about why Boxers grind their teeth and what you can do to prevent them from doing so.
The Root of the Behavior
When a dog grinds their teeth it is called "bruxism" and it usually happens because of jaw abnormalities, pain in the mouth, or stress and anxiety. By nature, the Boxer has slightly different teeth than other dog breeds. More precisely, the difference is actually in the jaw structure of this breed and how the jaw sits. You can clearly see this by comparing a Boxer’s jaw structure to that of another breed… the lower part of the boxer’s jaw is bulged out a little past the upper portion of the mouth. The bite is undershot, which is a desired trait obtained through proper breeding. However, an adult Boxer has the same set of teeth as any other medium to large breed dog. It’s just that the upward curve of the jaw gives the breed a unique facial structure. What does this have to do with the grinding of the teeth? Well, it’s possible that the jaw misalignment is causing the pain and the need to grind.
Misaligned teeth may also make it difficult or impossible for your dog to close his mouth. This can lead to the wearing down of tooth enamel which results in fractures, pulp exposure, tooth infections, and inflamed gums. So if you notice your dog is grinding his teeth, check his mouth for red and sore looking gums. Stomach or mouth pain is another cause for tooth grinding in Boxers. This involves an underlying issue that needs to be investigated by your veterinary provider. More so, in this case, tooth grinding will usually be accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, shaking, fever or loss of appetite. Another common reason for the issue is stress. Working with your veterinarian to find the exact cause for your dog’s anxiety will help treat his bruxism and his involuntary need to grind his teeth.
Encouraging the Behavior
Boxers that grind their teeth need veterinary attention to avoid infections, painful teeth, and gum issues. It’s important to determine the right cause of the behavior and your vet will do just that by conducting a full physical examination of your dog beforehand. If your beloved Boxer is grinding his teeth because of jaw misalignment, a veterinary orthodontist can correct the problem. If an examination rules out this issue, the vet may need to extract any painful teeth and address other oral or dental problems.
If you don’t want that to happen, you need to not let it get that far and look for early signs of dental issues in your pup like yellowish color, bleeding gums, or crooked teeth. This can all be attributed to poor or a complete lack of dental care. If it’s too late to treat the infection or the “rotted” tooth, your vet might need to extract it and give medication to clear up infections which can spread to other areas of the body. Thirdly, your veterinarian can also recommend a course of medical treatment if your Boxer is grinding his teeth due to anxiety or stress. In this case, anti-anxiety medication and behavioral therapy work best to relieve fear and stress in your pup.
Other Solutions and Considerations
The best way you can prevent dental issues in your Boxer is to make sure that his teeth stay clean, straight, and healthy. How can you do that? Daily dental care at home is the answer. It’s known that Boxers have the instinct to clean their teeth themselves, however, only a daily dental care routine will provide your pup with the complete bacterial prevention he needs to stay away from the dentist’s office. All you have to do is give it a couple of minutes every day and you will keep your dog safe from any dental problems he might develop along the way.
When you give proper care and attention to your dog’s dental hygiene as a puppy, you will have less to worry about when he’s an adult. Just like humans, Boxers should also be taken to a professional veterinarian to have their annual tooth check-up, which will remove buildup that daily cleaning simply cannot do. Put the smile back on your dog’s face and don’t forget to brush their teeth regularly in order to avoid any of these unwanted situations.