Tooth Grinding in Dogs and Cats

Teeth grinding is one way that both dogs might be a sign that they’re experiencing mouth pain. Here at Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery in Bozeman, we sometimes get calls about cats and dogs grinding their teeth. Let’s talk about the reasons why pets might grind their teeth and how we can help. 

Why Does My Pet Grind Their Teeth? 

When dogs and cats grind their teeth, it’s called bruxism, just like in humans. With this condition, your cat or dog will rub their teeth together and they might clench their jaw. Cats might also make a clicking sound in their mouths. Tooth grinding in dogs and cats may have several causes. 

Some reasons for teeth grinding include: 

  • Periodontal disease
  • Cavities
  • Tooth resorption, especially in cats with areas of tooth resorption at the gumline.
  • Oral infection
  • Broken teeth
  • A foreign object stuck in the mouth
  • Abnormal tooth alignment causes teeth to rub together abnormally, especially the canine teeth (fangs)
  • Stomach pain from an ulcer
  • High levels of anxiety or stress.

Is Teeth Grinding Harmful to Pets? 

Unfortunately, tooth grinding in dogs and cats may lead to more damage to their mouths. While mild grinding is not too harmful, continuous tooth rubbing and clenching of the jaw cause the outer enamel layer of the teeth to wear away. More importantly, we need to look for any painful conditions that might be causing the behavior.

If you notice that your canine or feline companion is grinding their teeth, taking them to a veterinary dentist is very important. Veterinary dentists can perform a full exam of your pet’s mouth and overall health and determine what is the underlying cause of their bruxism. 

To prevent and/or treat tooth grinding in dogs and cats in the future, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to schedule a check-up with your veterinary dentist every year.
  • Brush your pet’s teeth each day with a veterinarian-approved toothpaste, watching for any signs of pain, especially if it a new behavior.
  • Make sure your pet has access to lots of freshwater.
  • If stress or anxiety is a potential issue, talk to your veterinarian about strategies to help calm your pets.

Help for Tooth Grinding in Dogs and Cats

If you have a dog or cat grinding their teeth, Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery is here to help! We offer a full range of veterinary dental services, including cleanings, fillings, extractions, periodontal treatments, treatment of malpositioned teeth, root canal therapy, and more. Make an appointment online today or call us at 406-599-4789

Photo by Krystian Bęben on Unsplash