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?

21 thoughts on “Why is my dog losing his teeth?”

  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • I have had dogs my whole life and never experienced what my dog now has gone through, I had my dogs teeth cleaned as recommended by my vet and after a few years my dog has lost almost all of his teeth. I have had dogs live until they where 14yrs old and never had this problem.
      I will never have any of my dogs teeth cleaned again, I feel it was the worst decision I ever made for my pet.

      Reply
  2. I have 3 dogs, all with I suspect is gum disease…
    I’m scared to take my dogs to the vet and have them in surgery due to the anesthesia.
    Is dental cleaning a safe procedure?
    I’m worried cause 1 dog has 3 loose teeth.

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      I’d recommend speaking to your vet or vet nurse about your options – depending on how advanced the gum disease is, you may be able to treat it without any of them losing their teeth. It’s important to make sure they’re happy and healthy, so best to get it treated as soon as possible.

      Millie

      Reply
    • I’ve had dogs for more than 60 years. The teeth will fall lout naturally. They do not need to go and see a vet unless they stop eating because of a tooth problem. This dog cleaning and teeth removing has only been in with vets for the past 20 years. It’s all to do with $$$$$. As long as your dog is happy, is eating and you give them something hard to chew on, let them be.

      Reply
  3. My 9 year old Boston terrier has gum deserve and has most of his teeth removed. What’s a good nutritious food I can give him that’s easy on his gums?

    Reply
    • Hi Jim,

      Lots of dogs adjust well to having their teeth out, and go back to eating kibble just like before. I’d recommend having a chat to your vet to find the best diet for your dog if you’re concerned!

      Millie

      Reply
    • Hi Jim! Try FreshPet! It is absolutely amazing! I mash it up into smaller chunks and my pup gobbles it up! His favorite is the Chicken w/ blueberries and cranberries! Hope this helps!

      FreshPet is sold everywhere, try Target or Petsmart 🙂

      Reply
    • hey! we just started giving my dogs human food diet but made specifically for dogs and involves the nutrition they need. my little girl has lost a lot of her teeth, and we watched her personality spark back up within a few days of starting it. I highly recommend as its not tough like dog kibbles

      Reply
    • Small dogs are super prone to awful teeth. Never had an issue with teeth on my mid to large size dogs, but the little ones, particularly the toys, have wretched teeth.

      I’m a foster for a couple of rescues so I’ve seen a LOT of dogs come through… Yorkies seem to be the worst, followed by Chihuahuas.

      Reply
  4. Hi Sarah McDuffie! I used to be Susan McDuffie before I married!!
    I bet you come from Georgia!!
    I got my three pedigree toy poodles by only using AKC registered breeders…you pay more but my three are Gorgeous and Very Healthy!! Susie Conti

    Reply
  5. My oldest Chihuahua has no teeth left. The last rotten one was removed a few years back. All I can say, for those with dogs that suffer from chronic bad teeth, is that once all the teeth are gone, your dog gets healthy again. She is 14 and acts 4 now. She’s no longer suffering from a painful mouth or recurrent infections. I did everything right but nothing stopped her teeth from just rotting away. Now that they’re gone, she’s playful and active. I get her soft toys that are flat and crinkly and she plays with them all the time. She has to eat wet, soft food but her appetite knows no bounds now, unlike back when she always had a sore mouth and was picky about eating. The only way you’d know she’s toothless is now her tongue is always hanging out.

    I’m not saying, yay she has no teeth, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a relief that she no longer has to deal with dental issues, not to mention the expense of having her remaining teeth cleaned two and three times a year.

    Reply
  6. My 5 year old beagle mix I rescued from the shelter is losing his front small teeth. He is very sensitive to shots. He already almost died so the vet needs to give them weeks apart. He is terrified of the vet so he has to be put under to see his teeth. I am terrified he won’t wake up. What should I do?

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa,

      Poor thing! I’d recommend chatting to your vet about your concerns so they can talk you through the process and give you some reassurance.

      Hope everything goes well.

      Millie

      Reply
    • Hi Jackie,

      Tooth loss can happen in older dogs for a number of reasons. Your best bet is to have a chat with your vet so they can advise you on next steps – and how to prevent any further issues.

      Millie

      Reply
  7. My chuchuachua is 18 this year. I got her at 10 months old. I recently noticed she is loosing slot of weight. And I’d trying to eat but isn’t. So I start to examine her. I felt her about by her more it didn’t feel right and she pulled away hard. I looked again firmer, and she is missing not only teeth but part of her gums. I never noticed bad breath before, but now Im so worried it’s cancer or she’s in pain. I’ve always mixed the kibble with wet food , or made my own food for her from recipes off the internet. I periodically get a beef heart or liver as a treat. And for the protein. We are taking her In very soon. Me please pray for for cokita. She is my best friend.. she’s my guardian angel.

    Reply
  8. 2 year ago we took our gentle female shih tzu too vets because her fur was changing colour from a brite white lovely teeth told by vet ,She had too go back and we thought treatment for a yeast infection then was told she needed too have teeth removed only took out a lot of teeth and some of her bottom front gutted what a shame can hardly eat ,xxx

    Reply

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