Braces for dogs?

dog with underbite
dogs with braces dogswithunder bite

Braces for dogs – what’s it all about?

Braces for dogs? Maybe one day! But for now, ball therapy is a simple alternative that can be fun and effective for your dog. Ball therapy is an orthodontic technique that your vet might recommend to re-align your pet’s teeth.

Why does my pet need it?

The most common reason that ball therapy is required is for base narrow canines (fancy term “linguoverted mandibular canines”). This refers to when the tall canine teeth of the bottom jaw are too upright, and end up pushing into the gums. This can cause significant discomfort for dogs!

How does ball therapy work?

Holding a relatively hard object in the mouth, and biting into it, will provide resistance and place force on the teeth. With the right sized ball, we can guide those base narrow canine teeth sideways, into a more normal or natural position.

When should I start?

As soon as you can! While ball therapy will not fix baby teeth, it helps to get your dog into the habit of holding the ball in his or her mouth while they are young. Further, we want to start before, and continue during, eruption of the adult teeth. Once the baby teeth have fallen out and the adult teeth are in place, it might be too late.

What ball is right for my pup?

We recommend the chuck it kong ball.

Why?

The ball should not be so large that it extends far beyond the canine teeth. It also should not be small enough that it can end up at the back of the mouth. That would be a choking hazard!

Please note – Do not use tennis balls – these are too “squishy” and will not give enough resistance.

How long should we do it for?

Studies have shown that a minimum of 15 minutes, 3 times a day, can effectively push the teeth into the right position. Having said that, aim for as often as possible to start with, and as often as possible from months of age, while the adult canine teeth are coming through.

Ball therapy should continue until your pup is 6-7 months old. At this point, arrange a recheck with your vet to assess progress.

Tips for ball therapy:

  1. Reward positive behaviours. If your pup does the right thing and plays with the ball, give him or her treats and cuddles so they know they’ve done the right thing. They’ll be much more likely to use the ball again!
  2. Consider removing all other toys from the house, and filling it with appropriate ball therapy toys.
  3. Ask your vet if it will help to have the baby displaced canine teeth removed before starting ball therapy. Sometimes this helps a lot!

Are there any downsides?

The only downside – it might not work. Other than this, ball therapy is an affordable, simple and fun treatment option that might just prevent a painful condition for your pup in the future.

Author’s note: Swipet writers select and write about topics we think you’ll like and need to make your choices simpler and easier. Swipet uses affiliate links in our posts, so we can get a small revenue from your purchases.