CAPS: For dogs, it's not the same old grind

Confetti is a two-year-old short hair Tortoiseshell. Originally adopted from CAPS a year ago, she returned because she was not getting along with a new dog in her home. Confetti is sweet, loves petting, and napping.

Confetti is a two-year-old short hair Tortoiseshell. Originally adopted from CAPS a year ago, she returned because she was not getting along with a new dog in her home. Confetti is sweet, loves petting, and napping.

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Dear reader, during a recent visit with a friend, I happened to hear an odd noise coming from Lucy, her adorable German shepherd. It sounded like scraping or scratching. When I glanced at her, I noticed she was moving her jaw with her teeth clenched.

I know that humans grind their teeth, because my brother had a mouth guard he wore for a while to keep him from grinding his teeth in his sleep. However, I had no idea that dogs were victims of bruxism, which is the term for teeth grinding.

Not all dogs grind their teeth. Teeth grinding is a hint that something is wrong. If your dog does, there are a few possible reasons why. Many dogs will grind their teeth because of pain or discomfort. Dogs normally try to hide pain; this survival instinct keeps them from showing weakness in the face of predators.

Some of the potential causes might include periodontal disease, rotten teeth, tumors, oral infections, and injuries to the tongue or mucous membranes. Puppies grind their teeth when they are teething, or have a loose tooth. They quit when their adult teeth erupt.

Dogs may also grind their teeth because of pain in the stomach or intestines. The grinding response to pain is a way for dogs to distract themselves or self-soothe. Some tell-tale signs that your dog needs attention are excessive drooling, bad breath, and trouble picking up food.

Stress and anxiety are the leading cause of bruxism in humans, but it is less common in dogs. A trip to the veterinarian can discover the cause and mitigate the harmful effect of teeth grinding.

Lucy, by the way, was grinding her teeth because she had a broken tooth. Once her tooth was fixed, she quit.


CAPS is in quarantine for dogs until after Jan. 21. We cannot accept or place dogs in homes until the quarantine is over. There is no quarantine on cats.


We have five adorable five to seven-month-old puppies — one girl and four boys.

We also have seven fluffy kittens ages five to eight months — four boys and three girls in a rainbow of colors. All our babies need foster homes. Call 775-423-7500 for details.


  • Dog walkers, we desperately need volunteers to walk and socialize our dogs. Call 775-423-7500 for details.
  • Fancy Feast kitten wet food.
  • Cat litter (clump) for our guests’ comfort.
  • Aluminum cans. We will pick up your cans; give us a call at 775-423-7500. You can also drop them off at CAPS.


  • Epworth Methodist Church for hosting our spaghetti dinner. Kindness never fails!
  • CAPS board of directors and volunteers for planning, cooking, and serving the delicious spaghetti dinner. All tails are wagging for you!
  • Generous donors who gave items for the silent auction. Four-Paw-Salute to you!
  • The wonderful Fallon veterinarians who keep our animals healthy. Pooch smooches to you!


CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We suggest appointments for adoptions and food pantry.


  • January Holiday: National Dress up Your Pet Day.
  • You can sponsor an adoption by paying part or full adoption fees.
  • Due to rising costs in shelter and veterinary care, we have adjusted our adoption fees. Dog adoptions are $150 for female $125 for male. Cat adoptions are $100 for female $80 for male. All adoptees are healthy, spayed/neutered, chipped, and have all necessary shots.
  • If you would like a newsletter, call 775-423-7500 or email
  • CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are likeable.
  • Over the Rainbow: If you would like your pet remembered send his/her name and a short description to Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment