Dogs are known for their ability to hide pain and discomfort. This is especially true when it comes to oral pain, which can be difficult to identify. However, oral pain can lead to serious problems if left untreated. Dog owners need to recognise the signs of oral pain and know how to treat it. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to recognise and treat oral pain in dogs.

Signs of Oral Pain

1. Difficulty Eating or Chewing

If your dog is experiencing oral pain, they may have difficulty eating or chewing their food. They may take longer to eat or avoid eating altogether.

2. Drooling Excessively

Excessive drooling can be a sign of oral pain in dogs. If you notice your dog drooling more than usual, it may be time to take them to the vet.

3. Bad Breath

While bad breath can be a sign of many different health issues, it can also be a sign of oral pain. If your dog’s breath smells worse than usual, it’s worth getting them checked out.

4. Pawing at the Mouth

Dogs may paw at their mouth if they are experiencing oral pain. They may also rub their face or shake their head.

5. Avoiding Toys or Treats

If your dog is experiencing oral pain, it may avoid playing with toys or taking treats. This can be a sign that they are in discomfort and need to see a veterinarian.

Causes of Oral Pain

There are various causes of oral pain in dogs, and it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause to provide appropriate treatment. Here are three common causes of oral pain in dogs:

1. Tooth Decay or Infection

Just like humans, dogs can experience tooth decay and infection, leading to oral pain. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to the development of cavities, which can cause severe discomfort. If left untreated, it can also lead to tooth root abscesses.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common dental issue in dogs that can cause oral pain. It occurs when bacteria and food debris accumulate along the gum line, leading to inflammation, redness, and bleeding. In severe cases, it can cause tooth loss and jawbone damage.

3. Oral Tumours

Oral tumours are another common cause of oral pain in dogs, especially in older pets. These tumours can form on the gums, tongue, or roof of the mouth, causing discomfort and difficulty eating. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent the spread of cancer and improve the dog’s quality of life.


Oral pain can be a serious issue for dogs but can be difficult to identify and treat. Dog owners need to know the signs of oral pain and seek veterinary care if they suspect their dog is experiencing discomfort. Treatment options will depend on the underlying cause of the pain, but pain management should always be a consideration. Prevention is the best course of action, and regular dental care is key to maintaining good oral health in dogs. Following these guidelines, dog owners can help ensure their furry friends are happy and healthy.

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