Zack Keithy, our author, has been a certified veterinarian technician for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers. Learn more about us here.
Most boxers have wet and slobbery mouths that often drool way too much. It’s one of those things that makes a boxer look kind of silly and cute too.
But what if you start noticing that your boxer has a dry mouth?
Is this a big problem and how did it come about?
Find out more about it in this post and what you can do if your boxer is experiencing this now.
What Is Dry Mouth in Boxer Dogs?
Pets (not just boxers) can have dry mouth just like people do.
Xerostomia, often known as dry mouth, is a disorder of the mouth when there is little or poor quality saliva.
This is a leading cause of bad pet breath, periodontal disease, and tooth loss and it happens as pets become older, experience certain health issues, or take drugs, dry mouth can happen.
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Shih Tzu With Underbite [In-Depth Guide]
Why Does My Boxer Have Dry Mouth?
There are quite a number of different causes of dry mouth in your boxer, some mild, while some might require further medical attention.
Unlike underbites in boxers, dry mouth is not genetic and is caused by external factors, many of which you can control.
Here are the most common reasons why your boxer might have a dry mouth:
- Dehydration. This may manifest as a dry mouth or dry dog nose. If left untreated, dehydration can be dangerous, so make sure your dog is getting enough to drink and has access to fresh water at all times. Take him to the vet straight away if he appears frail or is having trouble breathing.
- Radiation treatment. People frequently have dry mouth as a result of radiation therapy for head and neck malignancies, which affects the salivary glands. The usage of radiation therapy in veterinary medicine is increasing, thus it makes sense that the prevalence of dry mouth in boxers will increase as well. This condition can be either short or long-term.
- Reaction to medicine. Several veterinary drugs, like antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, sedatives, atropine, and anesthetic agents, can cause xerostomia in dogs. If your dog will be taking the drug for a prolonged period of time, discuss alternate treatments or techniques to simultaneously treat dry mouth with your veterinarian.
- Immune-mediated disorders. The immune system of your boxer attacking the salivary glands is another potential reason for dry mouth. As a result of this unusual immune response that targets both the salivary and tear glands, a boxer might develop dry mouth and dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). In these circumstances, the production of saliva in a pet can be increased by using immunosuppressive drugs (such as cyclosporine, prednisone, and prednisolone).
- Nerve damage. The Merck Veterinary Manual mentions that tumors, surgical complications, and severe traumas can occasionally result in nerve injury, but this is highly uncommon. The salivary glands may be impacted if the damage is to the area around the eyes, mouth, or nose.
- Dysautonomia. Also known as Key-Gaskell syndrome, this is brought on by nerve degeneration in a particular region of the neurological system and the root cause is still unknown. It can cause dry mouth, vomiting, poor appetite, elevated third eyelid, dehydration, constipation, difficulties eating and urinating, poor tear production, slow heart rate, and pupils that don’t respond to light normally. While treating the dysautonomia symptoms can temporarily improve a pet’s condition, most are eventually put to sleep owing to their poor quality of life.
- Parvovirus. This is a highly contagious acute gastrointestinal illness that is common in puppies (Canine parvovirus, CPV). If you dog has is infected, it causes it to develop symptoms including dehydration and dry mouth among others.
- Heat injury/stroke. Heavy panting, quick breathing, profuse drooling, dry and sticky gums, skin that is hot to the touch, and an elevated heart rate are all early indicators of heatstroke. Dogs with the condition may suddenly become disoriented and find it challenging to stay balanced.
Doggy says, you might like this too: Pros and Cons of Getting a Third Dog [Broken Down]
Problems a Boxer With Dry Mouth Has
If your boxer has dry mouth, it can lead to several complications or problems later down the road.
Here’s what you should watch out for.
- Accumulation of calculus and plaque
- Recessed gums
- Mouth lesions or ulcers
- Difficulty eating and swallowing
- Aversion to eating
- Dry tongue and oral mucous membranes that may be cracked
- Cracked, dry tongue
- Bad breath
- Oral tissues that are inflamed or diseased
- Gums that are sore or leaking
- Gloppy, thick saliva
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Can You Bury a Dog That Died of Parvo? [+3 Alternatives]
How Do I Fix My Boxer’s Dry Mouth?
Your boxer can be kept comfortable through home management and therapies designed to prevent and treat the difficulties brought on by dry mouth.
This is used for the treatment of dry mouth in almost all cases.
Only if the dry mouth is caused by other underlying diseases as discussed above will your boxer require increased medical attention from your vet.
- Regular use of pet-specific mouthwashes
- Adding additives to drinking water to avoid infections and tooth disease
- Dental checkups that are routinely scheduled and may involve tooth extractions (consider reading this: 4 Reasons for Dog Licking After Tooth Extraction + Care Tips)
- Pilocarpine, especially before meals, to increase salivation
- Feeding it food that is high in moisture content
- Increasing your dog’s water intake
- Regular use of canine-spec
- Breath freshening treats or spray
- Oral gel that works as a brushless toothpaste
Of course, if you notice strange or unusual behavior in your boxer, you should definitely send it to the vet for a check.
Stool samples or blood work might be ordered in order to dig deeper into the problem.
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Why is My Dog’s Tongue Blue?
In Conclusion: Dry Mouth Boxer
If your boxer is suffering from dry mouth, don’t panic.
Although it might be a very uncomfortable situation for your dog, you can certainly take some steps for it to feel better.
I hope the tips above will help you out, but if you deem the condition to be serious, make sure to consult with your vet.
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