It's a good thing I take the time to exam my dogs about every 2 or 3 days. I will check between their toes and in their fur for foxtails, or broken nails, and look at and smell their ears in case an ear infection started up, and I check their mouths for pink gums, (grey gums can indicate illness or stress) or broken teeth..
AU is teething, so I have made a point of looking into his mouth once a day, so see how his new teeth are erupting and if he's lost anymore puppy teeth. As I did so last night, I was shocked to see what looked like a toothpick bridging the roof of his mouth.
I reached in and pulled it out, and it turned out to be a small stick. Apparently while outside at some point since the day before when I checked his mouth, he must have picked up a small twig, about the size of a toothpick in diameter, and bit down on it, breaking off each end and the middle then got wedged up between his teeth an his tongue must have pushed it up even higher into the gums wedging it there.
I knew at that point, he hadn't been outside for at least 2 hours...so it was in there at least that long... it could have been in there, as I said, since the night before, after I had checked his mouth and it wasn't there... between those two times, he had been outside a good number of times.
So, if you have a puppy, or even a dog, a quick exam can save your pet some discomfort, and you some vet bills if you can stop, or prevent something like an ear infection from getting really bad before being aware of it.