Yesterday afternoon, Tucker and the rest of the crew were enjoying a marathon-bone-chewing session. I heard a gigantic CRACK and saw Tucker spit out a chunk of bone, then paw at his face. He stopped after a little bit and I didn't think anything else about it.
This morning, Tucker woke me up by thrashing around the living room. I checked on him and he was alternating legs and pawing hard at his mouth, drooling a LOT, and hacking a bit. Steve and I tried to check his mouth, but he started snarking at us, so I called the vet and took him right in.
Dr Jackson and I couldn't hold him still enough to check his mouth without him snarking at us, so she sedated him and took a look. She pulled a small piece of bone out of his last molars, where it had wedged between his tooth and his gumline. It had already started to get infected. Had I waited until Monday, he probably would've started to abcess and he may have needed surgery to fix it.
He got a shot of antibiotics, then she gave him the shot to wake him up and now he's back to his normal goofy self although still somewhat gorked out from the sedative -- he was standing on the porch, eyes closed, swaying back-and-forth, and kept "catching" himself before he fell over. He'll be on amoxicillian for the next week, but otherwise he'll be perfectly fine.
Moral of the story -- if your dog is drooling, pawing at his mouth/face, hacking and/or coughing, and does not want to eat or eats "carefully", suspect that he may have something lodged in his teeth or throat. Of course, if your dog is having problems breathing, take him to the vet immediately.
(A note about Tucker -- he's very fearful about being handled against his will due to his very abusive past, especially when it comes to his feet and his mouth. It's not normal behaviour, we know that, he's a work in progress and is MUCH better than we first got him.)
Never make someone a priority in your life when that someone treats you like an option.