Foreign Bodies in the Mouth of Dogs
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM

Puppies, because of their chewing nature, sometimes get foreign bodies lodged in their mouths. Bones and sticks, poultry and pork chop bones are common offenders. Commonly, the objects are lodged across the upper palate between the teeth.

What are the symptoms?

Drooling and gagging are the most noted symptoms. Dogs are usually not really gagging, but rather manipulating their tongues in an attempt to remove the object. A foul breath odor will develop, if the objects remain lodged. Many of these dogs will not eat, while others go on as if nothing is wrong. Some dogs will paw at their faces or rub their faces on the ground.

What are the risks?

If the objects are not promptly removed, they may cause infections of the gums and other structures. Many patients fail to eat and lose weight.

What is the management?

Treatment involves identifying and removing the object. Once removed, healing is usually rapid. If a mouth infection has developed, antibiotics will be required to clear the bacteria.

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