How to Ease Dog Dental Pain (Our SAFEST Tips for Owners)

It’s heartbreaking to realize that your dog is experiencing dental pain. Perhaps you discover a broken tooth, bleeding gums, or he’s refusing to eat but you can’t get him into the vet right away.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to ease dog dental pain. We’ll go over some signs that your dog may be experiencing dental pain and a few tips and tricks you can use to help alleviate the pain while you wait for the vet appointment.

What Can I Do to Ease Dog Dental Pain at Home?

don't give your dog OTC pain relievers
When your dog is in pain you may be tempted to reach for your favorite pain reliever, but don’t do it. You may cause permanent harm to your dog.

While you wait for your vet appointment you can give your dog aspirin (call the vet for dosage), feed him chilled soft food, shaved ice, or use a CBD oil formulated for dogs.

It’s important to realize that you can’t solve your dog’s dental pain at home. Dental pain means that your dog has a serious problem and must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Chilled food, shaved ice, and CBD oil are safe, temporary measures to help give your dog some relief while you wait for the vet appointment.

Can I Use over the Counter Pain Relievers for My Dog?

The only OTC pain reliever that is safe for your dog is aspirin. Only your vet can tell you how much is safe to give your dog. Never simply give your dog an aspirin pill because it may be way too much.

NEVER give your dog NSAID pain relievers like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Tylenol (acetaminophen), or opiates for pain. Some websites say you can give these, but they can cause irreversible kidney and liver damage.

ALWAYS call the veterinarian to ask if something is safe before giving it to your dog, including topical rubs, creams, and pills.

Just because a pain reliever is safe and effective for you doesn’t mean it’s safe for your furry best friend. Many dog owners have accidentally poisoned their dogs by using human products on them.

CBD oil is anecdotally effective for pain relief, but it can cause serious damage if given in too high of a concentration. Only use a formula that is made for dogs, and available at a pet store.

There are highly effective prescription pain medications that are safe for your dog. Your vet will give you appropriate pain medications for your dog at the correct dosage if it’s needed after the dental visit.

If your dog can’t get in for an appointment right away, the vet may prescribe pain medication at the correct dose that you can pick up from the pharmacy to safely treat your dog’s pain while you wait.

What Are Some Common Dental Problems in Dogs?

  • Tartar and plaque build-up
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Broken teeth
  • Abscessed teeth – This is a serious condition that can cause pain, fever, and loss of appetite

If these are all too frequent occurrences in your household, then it’s time to take action to stop the dental decay that is causing your dog frequent pain.

Plaque buildup is the first cause of tooth decay, bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss and pain in your dog’s mouth. The best first defense is to get rid of tartar before it becomes a painful problem.

How Can I Prevent My Dog’s Tooth Pain?

A broken tooth is painful for your dog
A broken tooth is sure to cause your dog serious tooth pain.

There are a few things that you can do at home to help reduce the amount of tartar and plaque on your dog’s teeth that will eventually cause tooth, gum, and bone decay that results in pain.

1. Give Your Dog Dental Chews and Toys

One of the best ways to help reduce plaque and tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth is to give him specially designed dental chews and toys that help scrape away plaque on a daily basis.

Not only will this help keep his teeth clean, but it will also provide him with some much-needed entertainment.

Our dogs love dental chews, and we love them too because they are delicious treats that keep their mouth so much healthier and their breath as fresh as can be expected.

2. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Another way to help reduce tartar and plaque build-up is to brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis.

Use a special dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Most vets recommend brushing your dog’s teeth at least weekly. Don’t use human toothpaste, because it isn’t safe for your dog to swallow.

Read our related article, How Often Do Dogs Need Their Teeth Brushed? Learn more from this quick-read guide!

3. Give Your Dog Regular Dental Checkups

There isn’t a replacement for regular veterinary teeth cleaning. Your dog’s mouth is the first stop for everything he ingests. Clean teeth and healthy gums protect the rest of his system from infection and disease.

Read our related article, How Much Does a Dog Dental Exam Cost? Worried about high costs at the vet? Here’s what you need to know.

4. Be Careful Playing Tug-of-War

Believe it or not, tug-of-war frequently results in tooth damage for dogs. In particular, rope toys that can get tangled in a dog’s teeth during play can break teeth off in the threads.

We love to play tug with our dogs, but we’re careful to stop pulling with our dogs that refuse to lose, for the sake of their teeth and gums.

What Are Some Common Signs of Dental Pain in Dogs?

dog dental health
The only effective treatment for dental pain is to address the dog’s underlying dental disease.

There are a variety of signs that can indicate that your dog is experiencing dental pain, including:

  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Rubbing the face
  • Refusing to eat hard food
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Swelling around the mouth or face
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Bad breath (worse than usual)

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If an over-the-counter pain remedy is needed while waiting for the appointment, your vet will recommend the right medicine at the correct dosage for your dog or call in a prescription to the pharmacy.

Final Thoughts

The best way to prevent dental tooth pain for your dog is to keep the teeth clean by regular brushing and veterinary dental cleaning. However, dental injuries and cavities happen to all dogs.

When your dog shows signs of mouth pain, don’t wait to call the vet and make an appointment. The goal should be to have the source of pain professionally treated instead of waiting until your dog is miserable.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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