Broken dog teeth

Dogs can break their teeth in fights with other dogs or accidents with cars and vehicles. Image: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels

Why your dog might be losing teeth

Dogs lose their teeth primarily due to periodontal disease, trauma, and tooth decay, leading to pain and potential tooth extraction.

Broken dog teeth

Dogs can break their teeth in fights with other dogs or accidents with cars and vehicles. Image: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels

Discovering your dog has lost a tooth can be alarming. While it’s normal for puppies to lose their baby teeth, adult dogs losing teeth typically points to an underlying issue. Let’s delve into the reasons behind tooth loss in dogs and what you can do about it.

Puppy Teething

Just like us humans, puppies have two sets of teeth: milk teeth (also known as baby teeth) and permanent teeth. According to Purina, those sharp, pointed puppy teeth – often nicknamed “needle teeth” by owners – are meant to be temporary. Losing these baby teeth is a completely normal part of a pup’s development. However, if your adult dog starts losing teeth, it’s a cause for concern and might indicate a dental issue.

Dental Disease in Adult Dogs

If your dog is past the puppy stage and losing teeth, it’s a cause for concern. The most likely culprit is periodontal disease, often referred to as gum disease. This is a prevalent condition in dogs, affecting over 80% of dogs over four years old. It starts with plaque build-up on the teeth, which hardens into tartar if not removed through regular brushing or dental chews. This irritates the gums, leading to gingivitis (inflamed gums). Left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, where the infection spreads to the ligaments and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease weakens the tooth socket, eventually causing teeth to loosen and fall out.

Other Causes of Tooth Loss

While less common, other reasons a dog might lose a tooth include:

  • Trauma: A blow to the face or mouth can fracture or knock out a tooth.
  • Foreign objects: Chewing on hard objects like rocks or bones can damage teeth.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of calcium or vitamin D can contribute to tooth weakness.

What to Do if Your Dog Loses a Tooth

If you notice your dog has lost a tooth, schedule a visit to your veterinarian. They can examine your dog’s mouth to determine the cause of the tooth loss and recommend the appropriate treatment. Treatment for periodontal disease may involve dental cleaning, antibiotics, and potentially tooth extraction. In some cases, depending on the severity, a vet may recommend a special diet for your dog.

Preventing Tooth Loss

The good news is that most tooth loss in dogs is preventable. Here are some tips to keep your dog’s teeth healthy:

  • Brushing: Ideally, brush your dog’s teeth daily with a dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrush.
  • Dental chews: Provide your dog with dental chews that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) to help remove plaque and tartar.
  • Regular vet checkups: Schedule regular veterinary checkups, which will include an examination of your dog’s teeth and gums.

By taking proactive steps to care for your dog’s dental health, you can help ensure they keep their pearly whites for life. If you have any concerns about your dog’s teeth or oral health, consult your veterinarian.


Artificial Intelligence assisted in compiling this article.