Dog Dental Problems

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Like in humans there are dog dental problems as well

Despite practicing dog dental care, problems can still occur. Here are two common examples:

Dog Dental Problems: Dental Malocclusions

Dog Dental Problems - Malocclusion

Lower corner tooth is tilted inwards.

Dental malocclusions are a common dog dental problems not only among English Bull Terriers, but dogs in general. In Germany this is an exclusion criteria for using the dog as a show dog. Actually this is what excluded Fancy from becoming a show dog in the first place. But that did not bother us at all. We were only looking for a companion and a pet, not a show dog. We loved her to pieces anyway.
Plus the malocclusion was one of the few things, she actually never did really have any problems with in her life.


Weather the condition needs treatment is always a case to case decision. If the malocclusion does not bother your dog, doesn’t cause pain in it or restrains the regular food intake and if you don’t have a show dog, I don’t see much reason to temper with its teeth by surgery or other “medical procedures”.
However, other people and especially vets may have different opinions about that.

Mila has a dental malocclusion. So far we are trying to treat it with a ball after our vet’s advice. Time will tell, if that therapy will solve the problem or not. Right now she is not experiencing any difficulties with the malocclusion.

Dog Dental Problems - Malocclusion

Dental malocclusion: Lover corner tooth tilted inwards, puncturing gum.

Occasionally this anomaly can cause severe problems and/or pain, which definitely makes it a case for a professional to look at. So, in case of doubt or if your dog is obviously in pain, I always recommend to ask an expert.


Routine annual or biannual checkups already in the puppy stage at your vet are a good idea to keep track of how your pooch develops. Also problems, such as dental problems can be revealed early. Your vet can then tell you more about the severeness and possible development of the dental malocclusion in the future. The frequent checkups can not only save your dog pain, but also safe you a lot of money in the future.

Wise Vet Choices

For this and in general you should find a vet you really trust. He should be willing to discuss options with you. Also he should be honest, when it comes to considering your budgets for absolutely necessary treatments or treatments of pure cosmetic nature (always welcome to generate revenue for vets).

In no way do I mean to criticize vets in general here, but during my “pet-life” I have encountered a LOT of them. And to my experience every new vet means also a new opinion. So your vet may very well be absolutely convinced of what he tells you from the bottom of his heart. That still does not necessarily mean that his advice is the ONLY way to go.
Unless you are not willing to spend lots of money on just pimping your dog in unnecessary procedures, it is your turn. Also in this case you will have to be a responsible owner by doing your own homework. Research, read, listen, get to know your dog, touch it often to feel changes in fur, bumps and other things early, realize abnormal moods or behavior, “connect” with him. And in case of doubt with a vet, be willing to ask for a second opinion at another one.

Many vets I know had actually never seen an English Bull Terrier in real life before I stumbled into their office with mine. Vets usually have very profound knowledge of dog health problems in general. But let’s face it, only a few specialize on particular breeds. Because every breed has their particular problems, a lot of vets often can only help you with general advice due to their background. This may be enough in many cases, but does not necessarily the best advice for your dog’s breed.
Therefore knowing the specialties of your dog’s breed is important, if you want to be a responsible owner. It will definitely help you to make better decisions for your pet.

One tell-tale sign of problems with a known malocclusion can be sudden changes in your English Bull Terrier’s appetite, refusal of food intake or avoiding chewing and hard foods. Dog’s, and especially English Bull Terriers, have a high pain tolerance. Also of course, they cannot tell you when something hurts. So it is up to you to study your dog, detect and watch the signs and react.

Dog Dental Problems: Chipped Teeth

Other dog dental problems are fractured teeth.
Tooth fractures can be caused by a number of triggers, such as chewing on hard toys (like nylon toys or hard bones), ice cubes or stone. Yes! There ARE dogs that even swallow stones or chew on them!

Like in humans this is serious. Usually your vet will do an X-ray to determine the extend of the damage.
An untreated chipped tooth can not only cause a lot of pain for your dog – although it may not really show it first, but also more problems in the future. These can include inflammation or suppurative processes, which again like in humans have the potential of affecting and weakening the entire body and triggering other problems.
There are professional ways to repair a tooth or an extraction may be advised.


Extraction and other dental procedures usually involve anaesthesia for your dog. Honestly I don’t really like anaesthesia – neither for humans nor animals – because it always puts the body at risk.
This is why I try to avoid situations making that necessary. I choose foods and treats wisely, avoid particular situations or locations with my dog and spend a lot of thoughts on toys.
Of course, there are circumstances in life that make anaesthesia inevitable and together with surgery leave it as the only way to save a life.

What I am saying is that living considerately in the first place and making the right decisions when it comes to routine treatments can reduce the amount of necessary anaesthesia and lower the overall risk of complications.

Read more about my tips for dog dental care in this essay

2 thoughts on “Dog Dental Problems

  1. I have a problem with my Bull Terrier nipping at her feet that I couldn’t find on here. Anyway My Bull Terrier messes with her feet every so often resulting in it bleeding and honestly don’t know what to do about it any advice or help would be awesome

    • Hi Jess,
      if by “nipping” you mean that your Bull Terrier is grooming its paws a lot, such as licking, biting and suckling you are right, this is not normal behavior and there likely is something triggering it. But there is not just ONE possible cause. It can mean that your dog could be dealing with allergies. Even if the paws are the itching part and therefore the target of the dog’s attention this does not necessarily mean that it is something environmental. It may as well be something your dog eats.
      The first thing I would do is try to think back to when the paw biting started and think about any environmental or nutritional changes that happened around that time for your dog.
      Another possibility could be boredom. Bull Terriers are in general very prone to licking. You will find tons of videos on the internet of Bull Terriers grooming their owners or other pets in the household. When they get bored and don’t get the chance to vent their energy or the urge to lick on something/someone else they often turn to their own paws, which is not a good thing. Because sometimes they lick and bite so extensively that they cause little lesions which can then get infected.
      It your dog’s paws are inflamed already as a first remedy I would suggest to use disinfecting wipes for dogs frequently or a non-toxic, non-stinging disinfectant (NOT alcohol!) or rinse the paws with epsom salt baths (Warning: epsom salt also stings, so not a great idea on very raw paws).

      Whatever it is that triggers the biting it is important to find out what it is. Maybe your Bull Terrier just needs a little bit more exercise (physically or mentally) or diversion during the day or it is something health related.
      I hope this helps a little to start your search for the roots of this issue.

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