Can Dogs Live without Teeth?

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Introduction

As most of us know from experience, dental issues can affect us profoundly. Our teeth and gums can cause all sorts of problems - not to mention a whole heap of pain and discomfort. This is why we end up at the dentist's for checkups, treatment, and even surgery, as any problems with teeth need to be sorted right away. 

Like humans, dogs can also suffer from a range of dental problems and some breeds are actually more prone to dental issues than others. While we can turn to dentures, implants, and other solutions following tooth removal, what happens if your dog has to have some or all of its teeth removed?

Signs of Canine Dental Issues

The good news is that dogs can adapt pretty well if they have some or even all of their teeth removed due to dental issues. Of course, vets will do their best to save as many teeth as possible, but sometimes there is no other option apart from removal. 

If your dog does have to have its teeth removed, it will adapt to living without them, although it could take some time. You will also have to adapt and make some changes to ensure your pooch is comfortable, can eat properly, and is not going through any discomfort.

If your dog has dental issues, there are a number of signs you may notice. For instance, your pooch may struggle to chew when eating or may be reluctant to eat at all. If you check their mouth, you may notice redness and inflammation around the gums. 

Your pet may also be very subdued and miserable because of the pain and discomfort that the dental issues are causing. All of these signs could indicate that there is a dental problem that needs to be addressed and the quicker you see to it, the easier life will be for both you and your fur-ball.  

You should also look out for body language signs that your dog may be suffering from its teeth for some reason. You may find that your pooch keeps swiping at its mouth with its paw. You may also find that it is reluctant to chew on treats or toys because of the pain it causes, although some may chew more in a similar way to teething. 

If you try to touch your dog’s head, it may shy away and try to stop you from doing this. It may struggle when trying to pick up food and treats to eat and you may also notice that the dog is only eating using one side of the mouth. 

Body Language

Signs your dog is having tooth trouble include:
  • Chewing
  • Head turning
  • Whimpering
  • Paw raised

Other Signs

Other signs to watch for if your dog's mouth is in pain are:

  • Struggling to pick up food
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Blood on toys
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Tapping at the mouth with its paw

History of Dog Dental Issues

As with humans, historical research has revealed that dogs can suffer from a variety of dental issues. These can range from mild issues that can be sorted out pretty quickly to serious dental problems that require extensive treatment. 

We also now know that some dog breeds and more prone to dental problems than others. This includes Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, and Maltese dogs amongst others. Of course, all dogs breeds can experience dental issues and it is important for owners to be aware of the signs of dental problems so that treatment can be administered quickly.

If the dental problem persists, it will continue to get worse. We all know that, as humans, if we do not get a dental problem sorted out early on, it can fester and get worse. This means more extensive treatment and greater expense. It also means that we are at increased risk of losing one or more teeth. 

Well, it is exactly the same for dogs. If treatment is not administered in a timely manner, it could mean that your dog has to lose some or all of its teeth. Unlike humans, dogs do not have the luxury of replacements such as implants and dentures, so they then have to learn to adapt and live their lives without their pearly whites. 

The Science of Dog Dental Issues

Just like us, if dogs eat things that are bad for their teeth, they can get plaque build-up, and they can suffer from bacterial infections. As a result, they can easily develop both tooth and gum problems, which can then lead to a lot of pain and many problems. 

Sometimes, dogs will not show obvious signs of dental issues, although you can still pick up on them from signs such as bad breath, eating problems, or blood on their chew toys. If you do not pick up on the dental issue early on, it could quickly spiral out of control. Often, when the dog does start showing signs, the problem is already in the more advanced stages. 

Treating Dental Problems and Tooth Loss

Dogs are tough creatures that often like to put on a brave face when there is a problem. This is why it is not always easy to determine whether your dog has a dental issue or not. By familiarizing yourself with the signs of dental problems, you will be better placed to pick up on any issues when it comes to your pet’s mouth, gums, and teeth. 

This means that you can get your dog seen to in a timely manner and the relevant treatment can be given. It is also a good idea to check your dog’s mouth on a regular basis to ensure that there is no bleeding, inflammation, or redness that you need to be concerned about.

In the event that your dog does have dental issues, swift action can pay off in terms of being able to save its teeth. However, tooth loss is sometimes inevitable, so you also need to know what you should do if your dog ends up with fewer or no teeth. 

Your dog may have been used to crunching on kibble in the past. However, this will need to change if they now have no teeth. Instead, you can provide moist food such as canned meat or sachets with shopped up meat and gravy so that your pet can eat it. Alternatively, you can add water to the kibble in small amounts so that you can mash it up for your pooch to eat.

You should also make sure you continue to keep an eye on your dog’s mouth to ensure that it does not develop any gum problems that could cause discomfort and pain. Checking once a week while grooming can help you get into the routine of doing this. You can then prevent any additional oral problems and save your pooch a lot of further distress. 

How to React to Your Dog's Tooth Loss:

  • Continue to monitor your dog's gum health.
  • In the event of tooth loss, switch to moist food.
  • Get your dog's mouth check by a vet.
  • Check your dog's mouth regularly for signs of dental issues.