Once an adult tooth falls out, it's gone forever and your dog can't grow a new one. With this in mind, it's important to look after your dog's dental health and take special care of every one of their 42 adult teeth. Doggy oral hygiene may be an easy area to overlook for most dog owners, but the condition of your dog's teeth and gums is actually a crucial factor that affects their overall health and wellbeing.
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Signs of Dog Dental Problems
However, there are plenty of other signs that can indicate dental problems, with bad breath headlining the list. This is a symptom you can pick up without actively inspecting your dog's teeth, and it's a surefire sign of dental disease.
Often, you might notice bloody saliva or signs your dog is in pain before you pick up on anything else. Your pooch may paw at its mouth, be reluctant to eat or pick things up, or appear to be in pain when chewing. They may also seem to have a reduced appetite, all of a sudden start creating much more of a mess when eating, or have an increased problem with drooling. Swelling of the face can also indicate a deeper problem.
If you notice these signs, on closer inspection of your dog's mouth you might discover a loose or missing tooth. Even if you don't, it's still time to book your pet in for a check-up with your local vet.
- Tense jaw
- Dropped Ears
- Bad breath
- Lost or missing teeth
- Bloody saliva or drool
- Pawing at mouth
- Reluctance to chew or eat
- Facial swelling
Science of Dogs Losing Teeth
However, these puppy teeth generally fall out when pups reach around four months of age. This is perfectly normal and may even go unnoticed, as in some cases your pup might even swallow the lost tooth without any fuss.
The junior teeth are replaced by 42 adult teeth which are meant to see your dog through to the end of their life. Just like in humans, these teeth won't grow back if they fall out, so they need to be looked after as best as possible.
Unfortunately, dogs can't brush their own teeth or book themselves in for regular dental visits, so it's up to us to take care of these jobs for them. By far the biggest cause of tooth loss in adult dogs is periodontal disease. This is caused by swollen gums and the inflammation of and damage to a dog's bone and tooth support structures.
A whopping 85 percent of dogs over the age of four have at least some level of periodontal disease. In addition to tooth loss, it can also cause a range of other serious health problems — dental disease bacteria can make its way to other parts of the body, including major organs like the heart and kidneys, leading to widespread damage.
The second most common cause of doggy tooth loss is trauma. A dog fight or a nasty blow to the mouth can cause tooth loss and will require urgent veterinary attention.
How to Care for Your Dog's Teeth
Your dog's mouth is crucial to the way they interact with and understand the world around them. It's not just what they use to eat, but also to explore, learn about, and engage with their environment. A dog that's in pain from a lost tooth or dental disease may be unable to eat properly, and dental disease can lead to a host of other (potentially very serious) problems throughout your dog's body.
With this in mind, staying on top of your pooch's dental care needs is crucial. Regular vet visits are the best place to start, as your veterinarian can give your dog's teeth a regular inspection and clean, as well as detect any potential issues as they arise.
There's also lots you can do at home, starting with regular brushing of your pet's pearly whites. The best way to care for your dog's teeth is to give them a brush once a day, and there are even special doggy toothpastes and toothbrushes designed to help you do just that.
There's a wide range of dental chews and chew toys on the market designed to help remove plaque and tartar from your four-legged friend's teeth, as well as special diets formulated to maximize dental health benefits. You can also give raw bones occasionally for your pet to chew, but cooked bones should always be avoided because they can splinter and become stuck in your dog's throat or intestines.
By making doggy dental care a part of your regular pet care routine, you can help your pet's teeth stay in tip-top condition. Not only will this prevent tooth loss and give them a winning smile, but it'll also improve their chances of living a long and healthy life.
What to do if Your Dog Loses a Tooth:
Go to the vet. Let your vet give your dog's teeth and overall mouth health a once-over to determine the cause of their dental problems.
If the tooth was lost due to some sort of trauma, there could still be fragments of the tooth in your dog's gums. Veterinary help is essential.
If your dog has lost a tooth due to dental disease, your vet will be able to provide the treatment necessary to help control the problem. He or she will also be able to advise you on what you can do at home to care for your pet's teeth.