4 min read


Can Dogs Live with No Teeth?



4 min read


Can Dogs Live with No Teeth?


As a child, it was exciting when you lost a tooth, as you knew that you would get a visit from the tooth fairy and be given some money. Puppies lose their teeth when they are around 30 weeks old, and these teeth are replaced with 42 new teeth, which will be with them until they are old. Although it is not normal for dogs to lose their adult teeth, it can happen for various reasons, which are usually linked to periodontal disease or trauma.

So what happens if your dog has lost all of their teeth? You'll be glad to know that while it takes some adjusting and extra care, dogs can live with no teeth and, in most cases, it's better than living with teeth causing them pain. 


Signs a Dog is Having Issues with Their Teeth

You do not need to be a dentist to realize your dog is having problems with their teeth. The usual signs to look out for are related to the teeth feeling loose, bloody saliva, or pain, and it may be that your dog is struggling to pick up or chew food.

Additionally, it may be that your dog’s eating habits have become untidy, your dog has begun to drool, or they make noises while they are yawning or chewing. If you take a closer look at your dog, it may be that there is some discharge or swelling around the nose or face. 

By being close up, you will be able to spot other issues related to dental diseases, for example, you may see bleeding, receding, swollen gums or bad breath. These signs need to be dealt with by a vet straight away, particularly if your dog starts pawing at their mouth or has a reduced appetite.

Body Language

Signs your dog is having tooth problems include:

  • Whining
  • Drooling
  • Exposed Teeth

Other Signs

More clues that your pup needs to see a dentist are:

  • Reduced Appetite
  • Loose Teeth
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Difficulty Chewing

History Behind Dog Dental Care


When we look at the history of animal dentistry, the focus seemed to be around horses. In 600 BC, the Chinese were already practicing dental care related to horses. With regards to dentistry in dogs, this was something that came about much more recently. 

In 1762 in France, the first dental school for animals was created. It was in the 20th century, however, that animal dentistry for small animals was created. As time continued, animal dentistry moved towards smaller animals and we continued to gain more and more knowledge related to how important dental care was for dogs.

Back five decades ago, if a dog owner was told to brush their dog’s teeth, they may have found that rather ludicrous. These days, however, brushing a dog’s teeth is normal practice and something that dog owners now do willingly.

Science Behind Dogs with No Teeth


When a puppy reaches between 3 and 6 weeks of age, they grow 28 teeth, which are also called milk teeth. At this age, puppies do not eat a great deal of hard food, so they do not have a need for molars, but the teeth that they do have are sharp anyway.

It is at around 4 months of age that a puppy loses these milk teeth and develop 42 new adult teeth When a dog loses an adult tooth or teeth, that may be a cause for concern. The usual cause of adult tooth loss in dogs is periodontal disease. 

This is caused when gums that are inflamed are also combined with inflammation of the bone and the structures related to teeth support. Studies show that 85% of dogs who are aged 4 and over can be affected by this disease, and it not only causes tooth loss, but it can also cause many other health issues, too. 

Trauma is the other reason for tooth loss; for example, if your dog gets in a fight with another dog or suffers a head-related injury.

Caring for a Dog with No Teeth


Although it may not feel to be the case, a dog with no teeth is better off than a dog who has rotten teeth.

It is good to know that if a dog suffers from tooth loss or even has no teeth at all, they can cope. When it comes to mealtimes, a dog with no teeth can adapt and just needs help and patience from you. It may be that you need you need to mash up your dog’s food for them by adding warm water to it and using a fork to mash it.

Another option is to switch from dry food to canned dog food. Perhaps avoid the canned foods that are advertised as having ‘gravy’ in them. Although the gravy aspect is good, it is more likely that the chunks will be bigger and it will mean that you will need to chop the chunks into smaller pieces.

When it comes to the brand of canned dog food that you select, it is not that important. Canned dog food is regulated so that it meets the requirements nutritionally. It’s more important to consider which canned dog food your dog actually enjoys eating.

A final option would be to make your own food at home if your dog does not enjoy any of the foods that are available to buy. What you would need to do is cook some meat such as turkey, ground beef, or chicken. To this meat, you would need to add some cooked vegetables such as green beans, carrots, or sweet potatoes. You can also add some cooked white or brown rice, too. You will need to place all of this in a food processor to blend it and add a spoon of vegetable oil or water to create the consistency desired.

Where dental hygiene is concerned, you would still need to brush your dog’s gums. Ideally, this needs to be done every day, just as you would brush your own. If this is not possible, then you need to try and clean your dog’s gums at least three to four times each week.

Have questions or concerns about your pet?

Chat with a veterinary professional in the Wag! app 24/7.

Get Vet Chat

Safety Tips for Dogs with No Teeth:

  1. Do not give your dog chunks of food.
  2. Find a nutritious soft food to feed them.
  3. Continue to brush their teeth.

Written by Charlotte Ratcliffe

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/05/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

Wag! Specialist
Need to upgrade your pet's leash?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.