Grinding His Teeth in Dogs

Why is my dog grinding his teeth?

Most common conditions

Teeth Misalignment / Head Trauma / Dental Disorder

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Rated as mild conditon

8 Veterinary Answers

Most common conditions

Teeth Misalignment / Head Trauma / Dental Disorder

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Why is my dog grinding his teeth?

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What is Grinding His Teeth?

Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding in your dog occurs when he rubs his top and bottom teeth together repeatedly. This will wear down the enamel of your dog’s teeth and can result in fractures, pulp exposure, infections and pain in his teeth and gums.

Your dog many grind his teeth for different reasons to include:

  • Jaw abnormalities
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Pain

In order to best help your dog, you will want to understand what is causing him to grind his teeth so that you and your veterinarian can resolve the problem.

Why Grinding His Teeth Occurs in Dogs

Your dog may grind his teeth for the following reasons:

Jaw Abnormalities

When teeth are misaligned in your dog it can result in an overbite or his lower jaw protruding. Misaligned teeth may also make it difficult or impossible for your dog to close his mouth.

Stress and Anxiety

Experiencing anxiety and stress can lead to your dog grinding his teeth. Working with your veterinarian to find the cause of the anxious behavior can help to halt this symptom before irreparable damage is done to the teeth.

Pain

Your dog may grind his teeth as a result of pain, whether in his mouth or his stomach. The pain that your dog is experiencing that is leading to his grinding his teeth may be the result of a more significant issue, requiring investigation from your veterinarian.

What to do if your Dog is Grinding His Teeth

Should you notice that your dog is grinding his teeth, you will want to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to determine what is causing him to do so. Your veterinarian will conduct a full physical examination of your dog; should he notice that your dog’s jaw is misaligned, which can cause teeth grinding, he may recommend that you work with a veterinary orthodontist who can help to resolve the problem. Should your veterinarian determine that your dog is grinding his teeth due to pain he is experiencing, he will seek to determine the location of the pain and what is causing it and then treat the pain accordingly. For example, the pain may be present in your dog’s mouth, perhaps with one or more of your dog’s teeth, requiring extraction or another form of treatment. 

If there are no issues with the alignment of your dog’s teeth and he is not experiencing pain, his grinding his teeth may be the result of anxiety or stress. If this is the case, your veterinarian may recommend medication to help your dog with his anxiety, along with behavioral therapy for the teeth grinding.

Prevention of Grinding His Teeth

Providing your dog with a well-rounded diet that delivers the nutrition that he needs is key to his long-term health, along with making sure he gets the appropriate amount of exercise. Exercise is important for your dog’s physical and mental health. His having enough stimulation will make him less likely to develop destructive behaviors. Annual examinations with your veterinarian will help to ensure that any potential issues your dog develops are addressed before becoming more significant.

There are things that you can do to best promote your dog’s mental health and minimize anxiety. Proper socialization, where your dog is introduced to new people, other animals, places, and experiences can help with his adjustment. Obedience training can be helpful in preventing anxiety as it helps with relationship building and establishing trust.

As you get to know your dog and what triggers his anxiety, there may be situations that you want to stay away from. If your dog tends to get anxious when there are loud noises or many other people around, you can prepare him a space where it is quiet and he can be alone.

Cannanine

Cost of Grinding His Teeth

The cost of your dog grinding his teeth will depend upon why it is occurring. For example, if your dog is grinding his teeth because of misalignment, the cost of treatment can vary based on the extent of the problem along with the location where treatment is being administered. On average, the cost for this condition is $850. Should your dog be grinding his teeth as a result of pain that he is experiencing, the cost of treatment will be dependent on the underlying cause of the pain. In the case of anxiety or stress, the cost of behavioral therapy and medication will vary, however there are steps that you can take that will help your dog calm down that will have minimal financial cost.

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Grinding His Teeth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Wicca

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Chihuahua

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11 Months

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Underbite
Grindin

I just noticed that my chihuahua is grinding her teeth in her sleep. She has an underbite and I’m worried that it’s going to cause complications. She eats fine, drinks water, chews on all her toys, and runs a lot. Is it necessary to fix her underbite? Can it even be fixed? How much would it cost?

Aug. 7, 2018

Wicca's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Bruxism (teeth grinding) may be attributable to pain, nausea or abnormalities of the jaw; without examining Wicca I cannot say whether or not if surgery is indicated and without knowing the severity of the underbite (or knowing which country you live in) I cannot say how much it would cost. I would look at visiting a Dental Specialist for a consultation. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 7, 2018

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Amber

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Labrador

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7 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Teeth Grinding

Hello, Up until recently I had two dogs, Mother and Daughter who were together all the time. Slept together, ate together, played together etc. The mother passed away about 2 months ago and now my dog won't stop grinding her teeth. I am sure the reason would be down to stress/anxiety of losing her mother and the more the attention i give her the less she grinds her teeth - but unfortunately i can't stop her doing it all the time, like when shes falling asleep etc. I am worried about her as i don't want her to be sad, stressed or anxious and i want to help her get back to normal asap. She is fine within herself, eating, playing, happy it is just the teeth grinding. She is with me near enough for the whole day too, so it's not like she is ever left alone. I just don't know the best thing for her for me to do.

June 13, 2018

Amber's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Teeth grinding (bruxism) can be a very difficult condition to manage especially if the underlying cause is due to anxiety; anxiety can be very difficult to control especially when your dealing with the loss of a companion and not a fear of the vacuum or other item which you can train them to accept. There are also medical issues which may cause teeth grinding include nausea, temporomandibular joint disorders among other causes; you should check in with your Veterinarian for a discussion to rule out the medical causes and review what may be done. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 14, 2018

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Lucy

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Golden retrievee mix

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21 Months

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

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Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Shaking

Hi, I have a female dog, Lucy, who I have notice been grinding her teeth in her sleep. It is not severe (she will normally grind them once or twice and stop). The first time I encountered such behaviour, I thought she was having an epileptic attack as her entire face was shaking along with her body (may be she had a bad dream). I am a full tine student and am not working or have any income. And thus scares me, as i love her very much and care for her. I want her to be well! Any suggestions?

April 9, 2018

Lucy's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Bruxism or teeth grinding can be difficult to diagnosis; typically this condition is related to stress, dental/jaw disorders, gastrointestinal disorders (upset stomach etc…). It is difficult to say what the cause is, especially if it is a behavioural issue caused by stress or something else; even with an examination it is sometimes difficult to make a diagnosis especially if it is a behavioural issue during sleep. If Lucy is otherwise in good spirits I would keep an eye on her and have your Veterinarian check her when you go to get her booster vaccines done in a few months. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 9, 2018

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Doodle Bug

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pit mix

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3 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Grinding

My babygirl ‘grinds’ her teeth when she’s going to sleep or getting comfortable. She’s a rescue that we’ve had now for almost a year. It kind of sounds like the predator sound from the movie. Every time she’s been to the vet, she’s checked out great. Not sure if I should be worried.

April 9, 2018

Doodle Bug's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Bruxism or teeth grinding can be difficult to diagnosis; typically this condition is related to stress, dental/jaw disorders, gastrointestinal disorders (upset stomach etc…). It is difficult to say what the cause is, especially if it is a behavioural issue caused by stress or something else. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 9, 2018

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Suki

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Boxer

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10 Months

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Serious condition

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1 found helpful

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Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Grinding Teeth

My boxer, Suki 10 months old diagnosed was with Megaesophogus at 8 weeks. She grinds her teeth a lot, with the stomach/ esophagus discomfort is there anything we can do to help her with the teeth grinding?

March 10, 2018

Suki's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. I'm not sure what medications or therapy Suki is taking for her megaesophagus. She might benefit from an antacid, but without seeing her or knowing more about her condition, it is hard for me to say. It would be best to discuss this with your veterinarian, as they know more about her health status and physical condition, as well as any medications that she may be on. I hope that all goes well for her!

March 10, 2018

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Gypsy

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pitbull

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6 Months

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Fair condition

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2 found helpful

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Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Grinding Teeth

My pitbull who is 6 months has just starting grinding her teeth in the stage of yawning/ licking right before falling asleep/ getting comfortable. She has no previous medical issues, up to date on all shots, etc. She is a very energetic puppy and I would notice any signs of pain. She doesn't seem uncomfortable at all, I've checked her mouth and see no cuts or anything out of the normal. Through the day she chews on bones, and various toys. We play tug o war, etc. but I never notice and teeth grinding until she is relaxed. She does it maybe about 2 or 3 times right before falling asleep. I've read all of the previous posts about bruxism but she isn't showing any symptoms of pain, stress, etc. Not sure how it'd be a misaligned jaw is she hasn't had this issue before?

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Zoe

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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3 Years

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Mild condition

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2 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Licking Lips
Licking Lips Smacking Lips

My 3 and 1/2 yr old female Zoe is an American pitbull with a smaller sized head for her breed. After sleeping for awhile at night she will wake up and smack her lips, grind her teeth a bit and constantly open her mouth like something is bothering her. (You know when you have chapped lips but cant help but sometimes open your mouth as wide as you can) thats what she does along with everything else. I try and give her water but shes not thirsty. She did have a benign mass removed from the roof of her mouth when she was about a year and a half old. It was the size of half a bouncy ball or so. Now im paranoid that there could be something else but my vet couldnt find anything by looking down her throat. Before I pay a bunch of money for an x ray and other things. Id like to know more about what it could be and things I could do (besides going to my vet) to solve the problem or at least help me and my wife not go insane by having to hear that dreadful sound at 3am.

Cannanine