Managing Facial Nerve Paralysis in Dogs How To Recognize and Treat Facial Nerve Paralysis In Dogs

Managing Facial Nerve Paralysis in Dogs

Like humans, dogs may experience facial nerve paralysis, which may lead to a partial or total loss of muscular control on one side of the face. This article discusses how to treat and prevent facial paralysis in dogs.

Facial nerve paralysis in dogs can be a disheartening and distressing condition for pet owners. This condition, which can be caused by injury, infection, or other underlying health problems, can result in a partial or complete loss of muscle control on one side of the face. This can affect a dog's ability to eat, drink, and bark and can also cause significant discomfort and distress. Despite these challenges, there are many effective strategies for managing facial nerve paralysis in dogs.

The reasons for facial nerve paralysis in dogs will be discussed in this article, along with advice on how to treat the problem and raise a pet's quality of life.

Can Dogs Get Bell's Palsy?

Unfortunately, yes. There are several potential causes of bell's palsy in dogs. Some of the most common include:

  • Trauma or injury: A blow to the head or face, a bite wound, or other types of injury can damage the facial nerve and result in paralysis.

  • Infection: Facial paralysis in dogs can occur as a result of an ear or sinus infection or as a complication of another type of infection, such as Lyme disease.

  • Neurological disorders: Certain neurological disorders, such as degenerative myelopathy or brain tumors, can result in facial paralysis in dogs.

  • Idiopathic facial nerve paralysis: In some cases, the cause of facial nerve paralysis is unknown and is referred to as idiopathic.

  • Tumors: Tumors affecting the facial nerve or surrounding areas can result in paralysis.

  • Genetic predisposition: Certain breeds, such as the Golden Retriever, have a genetic predisposition to developing facial nerve paralysis.


The symptoms of facial nerve paralysis in dogs can vary depending on the severity and underlying cause of the condition. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Dog’s face drooping (Eye drooping): The dog’s eye might be unable to close, causing the eye to become dry and susceptible to infections.

  • Difficulty eating and drinking: As the muscles necessary for eating and drinking may be compromised, dogs that suffer facial nerve paralysis may have trouble doing so.

  • Breathing difficulties: Dogs with facial nerve paralysis may have trouble breathing, especially if the paralysis affects the muscles of the throat.

  • Excessive drooling: The inability to control the muscles used for swallowing can result in excessive drooling.

  • Difficulty barking: Dogs with facial nerve paralysis may have difficulty barking, as the muscles used for this action may be affected.

  • Changes in facial expression: The muscles used for facial expression may be affected, causing a dog to appear expressionless or to have a permanently sad appearance.

Treatment and Recovery Options

Depending on the underlying reason and the degree of the problem, different dogs with facial nerve paralysis will respond to different types of treatment and recovery choices. Among the most popular forms of treatment are:

  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, or other medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and manage any underlying infections.

  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove tumors or to correct any structural abnormalities affecting the facial nerve.

  • Physical therapy: To enhance muscle tone and prevent muscular atrophy in affected regions, physical therapy might include massage and exercises.

  • Eye protection: Dogs with facial nerve paralysis may require eye protection, such as an eye patch, to prevent dry eye and infections.

  • Nutritional support: Dogs with difficulty eating and drinking may require a change in diet or may need to be fed using a syringe or feeding tube.

  • Environmental modifications: Making changes to the dog's environment, such as providing soft bedding and reducing the risk of falls, can help to reduce discomfort and promote recovery.

Preventive Tips

There are several preventive measures that pet owners can take to prevent their dogs from from being a droopy face dog:

  • Maintaining good health: Regular veterinary check-ups and prompt treatment of any underlying health problems can help to reduce the risk of facial nerve paralysis.

  • Avoiding trauma: The risk of facial nerve paralysis can be decreased by shielding dogs from potential trauma causes such falls and head trauma.

  • Preventing infections: Regular parasite control, vaccinations, and prompt treatment of any infections can help to reduce the risk of facial nerve paralysis caused by infections.

  • Maintaining good nutrition: Providing dogs with a balanced and nutritious diet can help to maintain good overall health and reduce the risk of certain neurological disorders.

  • Monitoring for signs of facial nerve paralysis: Pet owners should be aware of the signs of facial nerve paralysis and seek veterinary care if they notice any changes in their dog's facial expressions or movements.

The likelihood of facial nerve paralysis can be decreased with these preventive treatments, but this does not mean that a dog will never experience this condition. However, pet owners may make sure that their furry buddy receives timely and efficient care if facial nerve paralysis does develop by collaborating closely with a veterinarian.

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