Top 3 Reasons Your Dog Has Mouth Sores

By: Ian Nicholson | Mar 31, 2022

Top 3 Reasons Your Dog Has Mouth Sores

Dental problems trigger pain and discomfort for anyone. When your dog’s the one suffering, it can be hard to figure out what’s wrong. Mouth ulcers are a severe condition that could prevent your canine companion from eating, playing, grooming, and living a happy life. So, what’s behind this mysterious ailment? Keep reading to learn about three potential causes of mouth sores on dogs.


Periodontal Disease


Just like humans, dogs can develop periodontal disease. The first stage is gingivitis, in which the gums become inflamed from extensive contact with plaque bacteria. At this stage, periodontal disease is reversible.

If left untreated, periodontal disease progresses into serious infections. It can damage and destroy tooth sockets, periodontal ligaments, and the alveolar bone. You can recognize this disease by several telltale symptoms:

  • Red and bleeding gums
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Excess drooling
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Pawing at mouth or teeth
  • Appetite loss
  • Halitosis

Mouth ulcers in dogs may develop from advanced periodontal disease. The Merck Veterinary Manual explains that periodontal pockets can form around your dog’s teeth. At the same time, the gums recede and expose teeth roots. Bacteria collects inside periodontal pockets, triggering more inflammation and infections. Mouth sores can form around severely damaged and infected areas.


Gum Infections and Trench Mouth


While not as common as periodontal disease, trench mouth also triggers mouth blisters in dogs. This ailment’s causes aren’t yet known, but scientists believe excessive bacteria levels or lower infection resistance may be responsible. Inflamed gums, ulceration, and tissue death are typical characteristics of trench mouth. Other symptoms include hypersalivation, severe halitosis, and sores with exposed bone.


Oral Tumors


Oral tumors in dogs can have many different causes. They can be benign, non-cancerous growths that do not spread to neighboring tissues. Some are malignant, cancerous tumors growing unchecked and invading other body parts. Canine oral tumors usually fall into several categories:


  • Fibrosarcomas
  • Fibropapillomas
  • Oral papillomas
  • Melanomas
  • Ameloblastomas
  • Squamous cell carcinomas


Both benign and malignant oral tumors may lead to mouth ulcers in dogs. However, ulceration is more likely with squamous cell carcinomas, papillomas, and fibrosarcomas. Individual tumors rupture and bleed, increasing the risk of bacterial infections.


Foreign Bodies


Soft tissue trauma is another common cause of dog mouth blisters. Foreign bodies are typically to blame. Wood or stone fragments are the usual culprits, but cooked bones can splinter and lodge inside the gums or cheek. If your dog chews on shoes or household objects, small bits may break off and get stuck inside the mouth. Over time, these foreign bodies irritate soft tissues and cause painful ulcers.


Exploring Treatment Solutions


Mouth sores on dogs can result from a wide range of causes. Bacterial infections, oral tumors, and foreign bodies can inflame or damage sensitive gum and cheek tissues. A daily dental care routine can prevent some of these problems, ensuring a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. If you notice mouth ulcers on your dog, consult your veterinarian at once. The faster you act, the more treatment options may be available to help your canine companion recover.

Top 3 Reasons for Mouth Sores on Dogs
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Top 3 Reasons for Mouth Sores on Dogs
How do mouth sores on dogs develop? Find out the top three causes of dog mouth blisters from our free guide Healthcare for Pets.
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Healthcare for Pets
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Disclaimer: and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

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