As you play your usual game of tug-of-war with your precious pup, a silver color in his mouth catches your eye. When you take a closer look, you realize, “My dog has silver on his teeth!” How did this happen?
The answer: Silver stains on your dog’s teeth are probably the result of chewing on something metallic for an extended period of time. The longer it has been chewing on metal such as aluminum and steel, the more likely that its teeth will be stained an unnatural, silver color.
(Note: If the whole tooth has turned a grey color rather than just parts of it being tinted with silver, the tooth is likely dead. This can occur through disease or infection. This is a different problem altogether- visit your vet for more advice.)
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- Why Would My Dog Chew On Metal?
- Is Chewing On Metal Dangerous To My Dog’s Health?
- What Can I Do To Stop My Dog From Chewing On Metal?
- In Conclusion
There could be several possible reasons why your dog has an attraction towards metal things.
If it is just a puppy, it is likely that it is teething and experiencing tooth pain. In this case, the metal feels cool against its gums and helps to soothe them. Instead of letting it chew on metal, you can make your puppy more comfortable by giving it ice cubes flavored with broth, or a treat-filled Kong toy taken out of the freezer.
An adult dog that is chewing on metal is most likely doing so out of habit, or simply being curious about the objects in its environment. Sometimes, they may just enjoy the metallic taste for their own reasons. If your dog is usually kept in a metal wire crate while you are away, it could be chewing at the fence in an attempt to escape.
Another reason that could cause your dog to chew on or eat metal is a medical condition called pica. Pica causes animals to crave usually non-edible objects, such as candle wax, duct tape, Epsom salts, and in this case metal.
Diagnosing what causes pica can be difficult as there are many speculated possibilities. Your dog could be acting out of obsessive compulsive tendencies, or it may be suffering from mineral deficiency, hormonal imbalance, anemia, or even parasites.
While unsightly, the silver stains on your dog’s teeth don’t pose any big risk to your dog’s wellbeing.
However, there are many other dangers when your dog chooses to chew on metal.
Metal is a much harder material than bone. Your dog could do serious damage to its teeth if it is allowed to chew on metal for a long period of time. Teeth can become chipped, broken, and a great source of pain.
Obviously, it is a significant danger to your dog’s health if it happens to ingest something toxic or sharp (like safety pins). Metals such as zinc and aluminum are toxic to dogs and can cause blood disorders to arise. Sharp pieces of metal have the ability to cut the intestines of a dog and create fatal complications.
If the metal object swallowed is large, it could become lodged in the dog’s digestive tract and cause serious, life-threatening problems. Metal swallowed could result in your dog needing immediate medical attention and surgery.
Unfortunately, silver stains on teeth caused by chewing on metal are permanent.
However, there are a few ways you can stop any further staining, as well as the possibility of more serious injuries happening.
This is the simplest, yet probably most effective method! If your dog is unable to reach any metal object, then it also can’t chew it.
Make sure you thoroughly check around the house and garden. Remove all access to anything metallic- which can be anything from loose change to wire fencing, and even electrical wiring.
Give your dog something that it’s meant to be chewing on: safe dog toys that can’t hurt it’s teeth or be swallowed.
It is important to let your dog know what he is and isn’t meant to be chewing on. A dog cannot see the difference between a toy and a human object-to him, they are all just things. So, it is the owner’s responsibility to let their dog know what is fine to be chewed. You can do so by praising and rewarding your dog when they chew on the right object.
If you are worried about your dog chewing on metal when you are not at home, give it puzzles or games to keep its attention occupied. Otherwise, hire a dog walker or sitter to supervise it for a few hours each day.
Basic obedience training will allow your dog to know what the rules are and what it can or can’t do.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures and will explore everything that they can. However, if you teach it to obey your commands, you can stop it immediately if it finds something metallic to chew on.
Eventually, even if you are not at home, it will learn by association not to chew on things out of pure curiosity.
You can make any item less attractive to your dog by wiping or spraying it with something that it doesn’t like. By applying metal objects with a deterrent, you can discourage your dog from even coming near.
Bitter sprays such as this one are effective at keeping a dog from unruly chewing. Alternatively, you can wipe down objects with vinegar or citrus oils for an easy method of keeping dogs away.
An improper diet could be the reason behind your dog’s interest in chewing metal. If your dog is being fed unsuitable foods, it could be looking to get the nutrients it needs from other objects.
It may be a good idea to consult your vet and find out whether it is a medical or nutritional issue that is making him bite metal.
Also, if your dog is only being fed soft or wet foods, it might not be getting enough hard chewing exercise. As a result, it may turn to chewing on inappropriate things to satisfy that need for stimulation.
A dog with silver-tinted teeth most likely got them by chewing on metallic objects. Though the silver tint is not harmful in itself, the action of chewing on metal is a dangerous activity.
While the discoloration is not reversible (no amount of Dentastix is going to fix that!), the root causes of chewing on metal can be addressed. This is vital because if the metal is large, sharp, or toxic, it could be fatally harmful for your dog.
If at any time the dog seems unwell, take him immediately to your nearest vet.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.