Dogs use their mouth and teeth not only for eating, but also for defence, for grooming, for showing affection to others, or simply to explore, taste, play, and amuse. As a consequence there is a wide variety of potential problems.
Infection or inflammation in the mouth – stomatitis – can be caused by cuts, burns, foreign bodies stuck in the mouth, and diseases of the gums and the structures that support the teeth (periodontal disease). Metabolic diseases such as kidney failure can also cause painful stomatitis. Stick injuries are common and potentially serious, especially those in the back of the mouth. To treat stomatitis, the cause is addressed: physical injuries are treated, foreign objects are removed, dental conditions are corrected, and any underlying metabolic disorders are controlled to prevent recurrence.Secondary bacterial infection is common, so appropriate antibiotics are almost always used.
Foreign bodies in the mouth
Chewing on sticks, stones, bones, and other hard materials is fun for your dog, but also potentially dangerous: sticks can cause damage to the mouth and can also crack teeth, especially molars. This may lead to tooth-pulp exposure and infection. If your dog has a foreign body stuck in its mouth, gently restrain the dog and carefully remove the object with a spoon handle
Foreign bodies in the throat
Sticks can lodge in the back of the throat, too far for easy removal with a spoon handle. A dog with something in its throat gags, paws anxiously at its mouth, and may drool or vomit. This is a potentially life-threatening situation. Many a dog as been admitted to surgery at the Vet’s with a stick poking out the back of their head. Dogs LOVE sticks, but please dog owners, give them a ball instead. A foreign body in the throat may cause swelling that interferes with breathing. If the object blocks the voice box, the dog chokes and faints. Treat the dog immediately for choking.
Virtually every dog will develop periodontal disease during its lifetime. Poor dental hygiene is the prime cause, and dogs with periodontal disease commonly have bad breath (halitosis). Periodontal disease is preventable:
the best way is to regularly brush your dog’s teeth ); chewing on dry food, even dry food formulated to clean teeth, will not on its own prevent periodontal disease. Check your dog’s mouth for a red line bordering the teeth: this is the first sign of gum inflammation (gingivitis). Treatment at this stage prevents gingivitis from developing into periodontal disease.
Tumours are uncommon but can occur on the gums, tongue, or roof of mouth, or in the salivary glands. When possible they are surgically removed, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.