First things first, dog teeth grinding should always be assessed by a veterinarian professional as dog teeth grinding can indicate another issue going on in the body (especially if this is a new behavior). Ignoring teeth grinding in dogs can cause more problems like tooth fractures, uncomfortable gums and teeth, exposure of the pulp and it can wear down the protective enamel layer. So, if you’ve noticed your dog grinding their teeth, do schedule an appointment with their vet as soon as possible.
Why Do Dogs Grind Their Teeth?
Dog teeth grinding (or bruxism) is typically caused by one of three reasons:
Stress; Just like humans, dogs can grind their teeth when they’re stressed or worried. They may grind whilst they’re asleep in this case, particularly if their anxiousness is quite heightened. If your vet rules out a physical issue with your dog, they and/or a professional, ethical and reputable behaviorist can help to reduce their stress levels and thus their teeth grinding.
Misaligned jaw; When a dog has an under or overbite (which some breeds like Shih Tzus are prone to) this can lead to the jaw not closing properly and thus cause a dog to grind their teeth.
Discomfort; Sometimes, dogs grind their teeth because they’re trying to cope and manage discomfort elsewhere in the body. This is the most common cause for dog’s crunching their teeth so that’s why it’s so important to have your pet assessed by the vet if you notice them adopting this action. If their discomfort is intense, the grinding may continue while they’re asleep too.
It’s worth remembering that a dog’s stress levels can be triggered by many things: a change of environment or perhaps an adjustment to their usual routine. So, do consider any lifestyle changes that may have occurred when thinking about what could be causing stress-induced teeth grinding.
If there’s no obvious physical reason your vet can identify as a cause of their teeth grinding, and stress has additionally been ruled out as a contributing factor, your vet may suggest further investigative examinations and tests to get to the root of the problem. They may also offer doggy-specific medicine to try and offer them some relief in the interim.
Puppy Grinding Teeth
Some puppies, when teething, may grind their teeth as a response to the oral discomfort they’re experiencing. As soon as their adult teeth come in, this should stop but in the meantime, read our blog on all things Puppy Teething to learn how to help ease the difficult, but necessary teething process.
Author V, Sophie “Why Do Dogs Grind Their Teeth?” Tails, Feb 19. 2020 https://tails.com/blog/2020/02/19/why-do-dogs-grind-their-teeth/#:~:text=Also%20known%20as%20bruxism%2C%20dog,to%20speak%20with%20your%20vet.