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How to check the dog’s mouth?

If we see a sudden decrease in the dog’s drinking and eating. If the dog has eating, chewing, swallowing or subpharyngeal disorders, fluid lines, or painful swelling of the lymph nodes of the lower jaw, we should examine the mouth, throat, and esophagus of the dog, because there are likely to be problems in these areas that cause these conditions.

A veterinarian should perform an oral examination of a dog using an open hand method or with the aid of some special mouth openers according to clinical needs.


Freehand opening: During veterinarian examination, you can hold the internal pressure of the corner of the dog’s mouth with your left hand, and open the mouth by pulling down the jaw with your right hand.

Opening of mouth opener: The examiner can first find a person to hold the dog’s two ears and keep the dog’s head in place. The examiner can extend the mouth opener straight into the mouth. When the front end of the mouth opener reaches the mouth corner, press down the handle to open the mouth for examination or disposal.

The examination items of the oral cavity mainly include salivation, odor, lips, mucosal temperature, humidity, color and integrity, and changes of tongue and teeth. Generally, visual diagnosis, palpation, and olfactory diagnosis are used.

1. Salivate:

The secretion from the dog’s mouth or saliva flowing out of the mouth is called salivation. Healthy dogs have slightly moist mouths and no salivation. A large amount of salivation is the result of increased oral secretion due to various stimuli. It can be seen in various types of stomatitis, swallowing or subpharyngeal disorders (e.g., pharyngitis or esophageal obstruction), poisoning (e.g., salt poisoning and organophosphorus poisoning), and nutritional disorders (e.g., scurvous disease).


2. Bad Breath:

Healthy dogs generally don’t have a particularly bad smell in their mouths, and eating human food over a long period of time can make a dog’s mouth stink. If halitosis occurs in the pathological state, it is commonly seen in stomatitis, enteritis, and ileus. The odor of decay is common in alveolar osteitis, necrotizing stomatitis, and so on.

3. Oral:

Lip droop: sometimes the lips can not close, this symptom can be seen in facial nerve paralysis, poisoning, rabies, and so on.

Swelling of the lips: This symptom is seen in the deep inflammation of the oral mucosa.

Tight lips: This is caused by increased lip-tightness in the mouth. It can be seen in diseases such as meningitis or tetanus.