Why is my dog losing their teeth?

When it comes to your dog’s oral health, no one wants a gappy dog grin. Your dog losing their 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 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 their 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?

40 thoughts on “Why is my dog losing their 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • This is excellent. I use it on all my poms, they don’t have any tartar and it got rid of existing tartar. I followed all instructions. There has to be a better way than putting dogs under anesthesia for teeth cleaning and this has worked for me. Not only that, but they start to build tarar again right after the cleaning if you are not doing home dental care.https://natural-wonder-pets.com/dental-care/

  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.

    • 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.


    • 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.

      • Do you take care of your teeth? Sadly people do think that but the truth is your pet cannot tell you very well what is wrong with them. If a pet develops periodontal disease it will significantly reduce there way of life. So if you want to keep a happy pet then you should tale care of there teeth!!!

      • I just pulled two back teeth out today and she lost a couple front ones. I’m in tears right now !!! Jazzy is 7 yrs and small . I don’t want the doctor to take her teeth. It’s not like she can get dentures. Are you sure I don’t have to take her to doctors? Please help

  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?

    • 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!


    • 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 ?

    • Hi Jim
      My sweet chihuahua rescue had no teeth and I used Fresh Pet and she loves it. Just a thought since the whole line is soft.

      Good luck!

      • This helps me so much, thank you! My Chihuahua is going on 10 and she is the sweetest dog ever, but she has no side teeth only the front ones and it makes me want to cry! She has bad breath every now and then not all the time, but I am sure that’s why. I only give her wet food cause she would cry when I gave her hard food so I switched that right away. So knowing that I am not the only one that deals with a chihuahua with no teeth does help. As a dog parent, you feel so bad to not be able to help them, specially when they Love us so unconditionally!

    • I wanted to know the kind of food you put if you can email me back because on here it put human food diet whats that and what stores can it be found

    • Hi I’m a licensed vet tech with 2 dogs. One of them just recently had 17 teeth removed. Fresh home cooked soft/wet food is best. Chicken, rice, veggies, and chicken broth will be a great option.

    • 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.

      • I’ve had my chihuahua since he was 6 weeks old he’s now 10 he’s lost two teeth within the last week, he’s had horrid breath for the last year what should I do

  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

  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.

    • what kind of food do you feed your dog my dogs have the same problem i don’t know what to feed them ones a picky eater but there eating that Hills Science Diet thats all hard when I used that one is when it started happening

      • My chi mix eats Hills Science small bites and he has lost a lot of teeth lately. I’m. It saying that is the reason but I wonder if it was too hard and cracked his little teeth

    • Hi Jessica, I am glad your dog is doing well again! It sounds like you found the right solution for you and your dog. I am glad she is again healthy. Bad teeth can shorten life span and it sounds like she is healthy again…

  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?

    • 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.


    • 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.


  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.

    • I just read this post, if your pup has cancer read about fenbendazole, turmeric, and other things to boost the immune system,

  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

  9. My yorkie had two loose teeth in the front. We figured it out. She always chases chipmunks and they run into the eaves trough and she was hitting her teeth on the metal trying to catch them.

    You may want to install guards.

  10. My 12 year Malties-pom has bad teeth and is starting to struggle with kibble, but if she eats even moist food then it is full on explosive runs. I don’t know what to do to help her.

    • Hi, I’m a licensed vet tech and I have two dogs. One of them, a Pomeranian, just recently had a dental cleaning. He is turning 4 this year and had to have 17 teeth removed. The cause of it was periodontal disease, common in Pomeranians. A dogs teeth needs to be brushed everyday or a minimum of 3 days per week. My Pomeranian did not allow me to brush his teeth (since he was a puppy) and has a terrible habit of licking feces and urine. I was giving him greenies to somewhat clean his teeth, but it wasn’t enough. The vet recommended a dental cleaning once a year. To prevent severe periodontal please (buildup of plaque and tartar) brush your dogs teeth or you can add an additive to your dogs water alongside with some teeth cleaning treats. Please take them to a vet to check for periodontal disease, if left untreated other health problems can occur (can be fatal). There can be other causes.

  11. I have a seven year old Morkie (cross of Maltese and Yorkie)) I have had her teeth cleaned by the vet every year since she was three. Recently I found someone who cleaned her teeth without anesthesia and she has been done three times by this teck. After her last cleaning I called my vet and asked what I could do to help her keep her teeth in good condition? I was told to try Orovet chews. After three weeks on this product her front teeth are all very loose. She does not really like this product and it causes a definite change in her poop. My vet now says that all her lower front teeth have to be removed. Any one have any suggestions. I trust my vet as she has take care care of all my animals for twelve years.

  12. Hi
    we have a male King Charles spaniel 11 yrs old & a female Cavapoo 8 yrs old dogs both lovely cuddly etc we’ve had no problems Health wise with either
    Both attend same vets regularly and have all normal treatments & injections
    Our King Charles has wiffy breath tarter on teeth – has them descale at vets each year
    Never ever been told to have any teeth removed
    Our Cavapoo does not really have wiffy breath, & just last week after her teeth descale clean we have been told she needs 32 teeth removing !
    She doesn’t appear in any pain – she eats her prescribed combined wet & dry food via ‘Tails.com’ at the pre advised measured amounts
    * recently she has put between 1 to 2 kilo of weight on
    (even though we still take both out everyday for long walks n run arounds)
    admittedly she is less interested in long walks than say 6 months ago
    The vet person has changed recently within the practice
    (National chain vets)
    I can’t evaluate why it is suddenly a must to have our 8 Yr old have 32 teeth out
    (she’ll only have 10 left)
    And the King Charles has brownish teeth, smelly breath & no teeth removal requirement
    I’m very worried I’ll be making my Cavapoo’s life a misery if I go for it & have so many taken out
    Can anyone on just the above maybe from similar experience
    and, what if we don’t go for having her 32 teeth removed ?
    Thanx Mark B – Preston Lancashire

    • Hi Mark,

      I’m sorry to hear that your lovely Cavapoo has had this diagnosis – we’d always advise following your vet’s advice, however, if you are confused as to why this advice has been given, it may be worth asking your vet for more information so you can have some clarity. If you need any further help or advice from us, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at hello@tails.com.

  13. The vet may be given you good advice, but it is always possible there are other options. There are doggy dentists that only work on teeth. With my last dog we were told by a vet in a multi-vet practice (my favorite vet at that practice was away at the time) that she had to have a canine tooth removed because it was cutting into her gums and it would irresponsible not to do so and wanted to schedule the procedure. My dog was acting fine (although it is hard to know exactly what an animal is experiencing) but I wanted to do more research in this case to see if a more optimal solution was possible.

    I took her to a doggy dentist, and he was able to do a gingival wedge that allowed the tooth to have enough space. It totally solved the problem permanently (she lived 9 more years to a ripe old age). My dog was able to keep this important tooth for eating and it also preserved her appearance as an extra bonus . Sometimes it can be worth looking at alternatives.

    Sometimes what the vet says about a dog’s teeth can be useful advice though. I am thankful that they exist. It can be hard and anxiety provoking to figure out though especially if people think you are crazy for wanting to look at alternatives.

    I do know someone who had their dogs teeth removed (all but a few) as decay or alternatively and more likely periodontal had gone too far. The dog had terrible breath and looked very tired and draggy all the time. After the procedure the dog did very well and looks and acts like a puppy again. She just eats soft food. Also she is once again a beautiful dog with good smelling breath. More importantly the dog seems more healthy and has more energy, suggesting she was in pain before.

    Good luck to all of you. It can be hard to find a doggy dentist, but they do exist. I thought I would have to go to the nearest larger city/urban area to locate one, but was able to find one locally. I was lucky.

    I would find out exactly why all the dog’s teeth need to be removed. Is it gum disease. Is there any bone supporting the tooth, etc. Ask for a copy of the xrays.

  14. I have a 7 year Coton de Tulear(origin of Bichon & Maltese family). His dental issue was noticed about a year ago, shaky front upper& lower teeth due to crowded area(commonly small breed problem) and tartar/plaque buildups. Our Vet does annual checkups on the dog, and she recommends daily teeth brushing for dogs using Virbec CET or A&M Tartar Control Dog kit. I only kept up on weekly teeth brushing on my Coton, after knowing his dental issues I did 2-3 times per week brushing. Last week my Coton just lost one of his front upper teeth naturally, he probably swallowed it. He seemed totally normal, no bleeding, eating w. usual appetite. I added small pieces steamed chicken meats/veggies to his meals to add nutrients. It really depends on your dog and dental routines, but I have never gone through putting dog under anesthesia procedures for dental cleanings, and would never consider teeth removal procedures (excluding accidental broken teeth in extreme cases). I put myself in their shoes, as I do want eat with teeth, be able to chew and enjoy food. Care your dog with love, keeping up brushing dog teeth yourself if allowed is the way to go IMO. Good luck, doggy parent(s)!


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