What Is a Dog Tooth Abscess? – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Tooth abscesses can be quite common in dogs. If left untreated, your dog can be in extreme pain and even be lethal to them.

In this guide, I am going to help you understand what the cause of a dog tooth abscess is and how to treat them.

Causes Of Tooth Abscess In Dogs

Infection is a basis for an abscess. It can be attributed to fractures, bite cuts or mosquito bites as well as entering foreign objects. 

This usually affects the carnassial tooth (the upper fourth premolar) as it is this tooth that dogs usually use the most when biting and chewing.

Dog Tooth Abscess

The inflammation causes bacteria to enter the skin. In a tissue cavity, there is an infection of pus production. When bacteria invade the bloodstream, internal abscesses can occur. This will also arise if a skin abscess expands inwards as the closure of the dense tissue shuts. But procedures, various conditions, and other activities may also contribute to abscesses being created, particularly inside. Diseased teeth and fractures in the jaw region are also blamed for the development of pus ulcers on the gums and in the mouth.


Initially, the abscess in the dog manifests itself as an increasing swelling under the skin. Often you can still see surface injuries such as scabs, bites, scratches, or puncture wounds. The tissue around the wound is red in color. Fever may also be a sign of an abscess. The body uses every means available to fight inflammation. Accumulations of internal pus are usually followed by diarrhea, lethargy, and lack of appetite. Even the lymph nodes can get swollen.

Other possible symptoms: 

• Discomfort when touched 

• An increased temperature around the infection

• Hair loss 

• Small areas of the flesh end up dying off due to the lack of blood flow

Dog Tooth Abscess Left Untreated

When left untreated, an abscess can result in extreme eye infection, severe gum disease, and medical problems that may follow periodontal disease like bone-loss as well as significant organ damage.

Can A Dog Die From A Tooth Abscess

If left untreated, your dog could (as stated above) end up with life-threatening medical issues, which in turn could lead to death.


The most important thing that you can do is take your dog to the vets ASAP.

The vet will take a look at the dog’s abscess. Treatment may only occur, however, once the abscess is mature, i.e. the membrane around the pus is fully closed. This can take some time, but the process can be accelerated by the use of drugs and ointments. Pain relievers support your dog through this period. An antibiotic is often used to help stop the bacteria from spreading out into the bloodstream.

If the abscess is mature it will be opened under local or general anesthesia to allow the pus to drain outwards. If you’re treating the abscess yourself (or not at all), there’s a big chance the pus will flow inwards. This can lead to blood poisoning (sepsis) which is life-threatening. Once the abscess has exploded into the puppy, the procedure is more complicated because once the fluid has drained away, the tissue capsule can no longer be easily rinsed with a disinfectant solution.

To avoid blood poisoning the vet must extract the pus from all the tissue. It is necessary to take proper care of the area after effective treatment and keep it clean so no other bacteria can reach it. An antibiotic helps your dog fight off the remaining bacteria within the body.

Dog Tooth Abscess Home Treatment

In short, you cant…

You can, however, help with the swelling by holding a warm, wet compress on the side of the dog’s mouth.

This will offer some comfort to your furry friend and if the abscess is leaking outwards, help clear away any dried pus that may be on their fur.

Cost Of Treatment

In most cases, the dog will need to undergo a root canal therapy or even a tooth extraction surgery to remove the affected tooth.

These prices can vary depending on the size and health of your dog, as well as what procedures need to be done.

My advice is to talk to your local vet and get an estimate.

Prevention tips

There is no definite way to ensure that your dog does not end up with abscessed teeth, however, there are a few ways to drastically reduce the likeliness of it occurring.

Proper Oral Hygiene

Make sure you are brushing your dog’s teeth once per day if possible. If you can’t do it that frequently, try and aim for once or twice per week at the very least. Proper dental care will help prevent the build-up of plaque, which can lead to gum disease and tooth rot.

Brush Dogs Teeth

It will also help to remove any food that could be stuck in the teeth.

Watch Them

If you give them a bone to chew, or plastic toy to play with, then keep your eye on them.

Once they have chewed them for a while, splinters may form that can scratch or puncture the gums and let bacteria in.

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