Why is my dog losing his teeth?

When it comes to your dog’s oral health, no one wants a gappy dog grin. Losing teeth can be perfectly normal when you’ve got a growing puppy with baby teeth. But when your adult dog’s teeth start to fall out, or you’ve got a sofa-loving senior with the sort of breath that can clear a room, it’s time to delve a little deeper into the reasons why dogs teeth fall out (and whether you need to get your vet involved).

Here’s everything you need to know.

When will my puppy lose their teeth?

  • All puppies are born without teeth (just like human babies!)
  • At three to six weeks your dog will start developing their deciduous (baby) teeth. 
  • They’ll start losing their baby teeth again as their adult dog teeth come in. It’s a natural part of growing up. 

When puppy teeth fall out often depends on the breed. In smaller breeds they tend to lose their teeth quicker because they mature faster than larger breeds. 

Because these needle sharp dog teeth are so tiny, you may not even notice they’re falling out. Many puppies swallow them while eating or they fall out while playing. Swallowing the teeth isn’t harmful to your puppy and a little bleeding isn’t anything to worry about, either.

Related blog: Puppy teething

Adult dog teeth – cleaning, hygiene and tooth loss.

But if your dog is older and has all their permanent teeth, it’s not normal if they fall out randomly. 

If you’re practising good dog mouth hygiene and you’re regularly cleaning their teeth, this is a cause for concern and you should get your dog seen by your vet to rule out any potential underlying problems. 

Related blog: Your dog’s dental health 

Why is my older dog losing his teeth? 

When an older dog loses teeth, it’s usually down to one of two reasons. They’ve either experienced trauma to the mouth or they’ve developed periodontal disease.

Dog teeth and hard treats

Sometimes when dogs chew on something too hard like marrow bones or antlers, this can crack the tooth and it falls out. 

Related blog: Your dog’s dental health 

Dog teeth and dog dentistry

Mouth trauma isn’t limited to treats though, if your dog has a fall or gets a knock in the mouth (from another dog being too boisterous for example), it can dislodge a tooth. If a dog’s tooth gets damaged your dog will need veterinary attention to extract or repair it.

Dog teeth and gum disease

Unfortunately, periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs, and over 80% of dogs have early stage gum disease by the age of three. 

Periodontal disease is irreversible and can also lead to other complications and health problems if left untreated. It’s important to get help from your vet as soon as you notice a problem. Here are the main problem signs to watch out for: 

  • Bad breath 
  • Gum redness and inflammation 
  • Pawing at the mouth 
  • Drooling 
  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Loose or missing teeth 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Facial swelling 
  • Receding gums.

The disease starts when food and bacteria build up along the gum line and turn into plaque and tartar. This causes irritation and inflammation over time and eventually affects the tooth’s entire support system deeper within the gums. When the teeth and tissue slowly deteriorate, your dog’s teeth start falling out.

If periodontal disease has already kicked in, your vet can perform a dental scale and polish every couple of years to help prevent future tooth loss. 

Dog mouth hygiene

Gum disease is a very uncomfortable and painful condition. But there are ways you can prevent the plaque and tartar build up before gum disease takes hold. 

  • Daily brushing is the best prevention to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. 
  • Dental chews help slow down the rate of plaque and tartar buildup too. 

Related blog: What causes bad breath in dogs?

2 comments

  1. I took my dog for dental cleaning and the vet said he has some lose teeth and recommended to be removed, but she removed al the bottom front. How he can chew anything now to clean the others.

    1. This happened to me as well. My vet took all her front top and bottom teeth. It’s been devastating. She can’t even pickup her toys to play with them.

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