Dog Dental Care
A tooth abscess is one of the most common dental problems in dogs and luckily it can be easily treated. While medical attention is necessary, there are several steps that you can take in order to reduce the pain and inflammation until you visit the vet. Although it is not essential, it would be better to check your dog’s teeth on a weekly basis. This is because your dog may have suffered from an oral injury and you would not even know of it. This is not a reflection of your capabilities but is actually due to the dog’s natural instinct to hide pain. Dogs rarely display any signs of pain as they are pack animals and any weakness would make them vulnerable. As your dog is a Border collie, the threat of an injury going unnoticed is very real. This is because border collies are intelligent dogs that have a happy and sunny disposition and so they are perfectly able to mask the pain of an injury.
Dog tooth abscess is a pustule that forms at the gums and contains pus and bacteria. You will first have to cleanse the area gently but thoroughly before you attempt to reduce the pain. This is because bacteria from an abscess can enter the bloodstream and cause secondary conditions such as heart murmur or kidney infections. You can use a bottle with a narrow nozzle to squirt mouthwash over the affected tooth. Do this repeatedly to completely cleanse the area. If you have never done this before make sure that you take the time to allow your dog to adjust to the new procedure. If your dog is resistant to using mouthwash, do not force him. Instead, dip a Q-tip in the solution and gently swab the affected tooth and the surrounding areas, talking and crooning softly to your dog all the while so that he is more at ease. It is extremely important that you use canine mouthwash only and not “people” mouthwash. This is because our mouthwash may contain substances such as boric acid which is very toxic to dogs.
Normally, you would use warm packs to get the abscess to swell up further until it burst. However, since you already have an appointment with your vet, you should instead try to reduce the inflammation so as to reduce the severity of the pain. Cold packs are very effective in dealing with pain but they have to be used at regular intervals. You can apply a cold pack for about 20 minutes every hour or so and your dog will feel a lot better and will perk up in a couple of hours.
If you believe that your dog is in a lot of pain, you can use a Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) but do not use these medications unless necessary and make sure that you inform your vet about it.