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Mouth pain in dogs

Dog on white background


  • Does your dog have a painful mouth? Are they eating less? Shying away from their food? Have they lost weight?
  • There are many different problems that can cause mouth pain.
  • It’s important to check your dog’s mouth and teeth regularly.
  • Contact your vet as soon as you notice a problem with your dog’s mouth.

Symptoms of a painful mouth

If your dog has a painful mouth, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty eating/shying away from food
  • Chewing on one side only
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Drooling
  • Rubbing/pawing their face
  • Crying when they yawn, pant or their mouth is opened.


  • Dental disease
  • Stomatitis (inflammation inside the mouth)
  • Wounds such as stick injuries
  • Burns (heat, chemical or electrical)
  • Lumps in the mouth
  • Jaw problems such as a jaw fracture and 'Westie jaw'
  • Mouth ulcers 
  • Something stuck in the mouth – such as a piece of bone or stick

When to contact your vet

Book an appointment with your vet as soon as you notice your dog is in pain, your vet will examine them fully to try and find the cause.

Published: June 2020

PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery 

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst