What Can Cause Swelling of Jaw in Dog?


It is possible to notice that the dog’s jaw swollen even in bulldogs, which differ in the special structure of the muzzle. This is especially true of edema caused by an allergic reaction to a product or a sting of stinging insects. Things are more complicated when some part of the body swells after being hit or dropped from a height that did not fall into the field of view of the master. Such damage can be accompanied by severe pain and lead to a complete food refusal due to the inability to open the mouth.

Analysis of the Most Common Causes

In an old dog, the jaw may swell due to the formation of a malignant nature or serious dental problems, which are often found in animals after 10 years. In some cases, foreing object under the skin and the formation of an abscess can lead to swelling. Some ulcers can reach the size of a small egg and require surgical intervention. To accurately determine the cause, the veterinarian, based on the existing clinical picture, will prescribe diagnostic measures that will exclude or confirm the following possible options.


swollen jaw in dog

A frequently occurred problem in smooth-haired breeds (sharpei, bulldogs, staffords, etc.). In the majority of cases, lesions are localized in the ears and chin. They look like black pimples in shape of a match head when inflamed, turn red and increase in size. But, the most unpleasant with acne is itching, because of which the animals scratch themselves to the blood, which often leads to a complication of the bacterial infection process. Therefore, if the dog’s jaw is swollen and there are traces of scratching, redness and black acne, then it must be taken to the veterinarian to rule out pyoderma. This can be done with the help of a cytological study of deep plucks and scales taken from the affected areas.

Acne is recommended to be treated daily with a solution of chlorhexidine 2-3 times a day. With severe itching, antihistamines are prescribed and the pet’s access to the lesions is limited with a special cap.

If the dog’s jaw swells after being hit or dropped from a height, then a hematoma can form at the site of the injury. The size can reach a large apple. Inside is filled with blood clots.


Small hematomas can resolve on their own within 1-2 weeks. But, in some cases, it is necessary to open the cavity, rinse the resulting wound, drain and lay the left-ointment ointment. This procedure is best carried out in a hospital. Further, the owner himself will be able to change the dressings, treat the wound with an antiseptic.

Eosinophilic Granuloma

swollen upper jaw in dog

With single formations, it does not present any particular discomfort for the animal, but several granulomas close to each other can lead to significant swelling and redness of the skin.

Common places of localization are the nose, upper jaw, chin, ears, and oral mucosa. Eosinophilic granulomas in appearance may resemble swelling after mosquito bites.

With single lesions, it is recommended to observe the general condition of the pet and wait, since eosinophilic granulomas tend to self-destruct. If the process is complicated by itching, severe swelling and discomfort, then systemic therapy using hormonal drugs can be used. A strict diet and the transition to hypoallergenic, therapeutic food are also prescribed.


If the jaw is swollen in an old dog, then the probability of developing a malignant tumor should be excluded. In animals over the age of 10, the risk of developing malignant tumors is very high. This is especially true for the location of the lymph nodes.

A diagnosis will require examination and palpation of the submandibular lymph nodes by an oncologist. An MRI of the head is also mandatory in order to exclude the possibility of tumor invasion in bone tissue and metastases. From the formation itself, a puncture is taken with a long-barreled needle and sent for histological determination to examine the nature of the origin.

jaw swells in dog

Superficial formations can be cut off in the early stages, but most often radiation and chemotherapy are used, due to the inability to conduct a complete surgical excision of all affected cells with the capture of healthy tissues 2-3 cm. For sarcomas and lymphomas at any stage, the prognosis is cautious, regardless of the age of the pet.
Gum and Tooth Problems

A common problem in animals after 10 years. At risk are breeds (bulldogs, pugs, etc.) that have problems with bite and tartar from an early age.

An untimely root or foreign body in the gum can provoke the formation of an abscess. Therefore, if the dog’s jaw is swollen, then first of all you should look into the mouth, if there are any alarming signs in the form of redness, bleeding or swelling of the gums.

In some cases, severe swelling of the tooth can be caused by a cyst of the tooth root, which is impossible to see without an x-ray. If the problem is associated with teeth or gums, then without a dentist and eliminating the provoking factor, you cannot get rid of edema.

If the dog has a swollen lower jaw, then viral infections should be excluded, because of which the submandibular lymph nodes can hurt and become inflamed.

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