My Dog Has A Loose Tooth Should I Pull It Out

Is it normal for dogs to have loose teeth?

It is normal for puppies to lose their baby teeth as adult teeth come in, usually between the ages of 4-7 months. Puppies have 28 deciduous (“baby”) teeth that eventually get pushed out by 42 permanent adult teeth. This is an important developmental process that shouldn’t cause concern.

However, loose teeth in adult dogs can be a sign of periodontal disease, which is caused by plaque and tartar accumulation. Periodontal disease can lead to painful infection or tooth loss if left untreated. So while it’s normal for puppy teeth to be loose and fall out as adult teeth erupt, any loose permanent teeth in adult dogs should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. It is not normal for adult dogs to have chronically loose permanent teeth and can signify an underlying oral health issue (source).

How can you tell if your dog’s loose tooth is problematic?

There are several signs that indicate your dog’s loose tooth may require veterinary attention:

Red, inflamed, or receding gums – According to The Spruce Pets, red and swollen gums can signal an infection or other issue causing the tooth to loosen (source).

Bad breath – Foul breath or halitosis can also be a symptom of an unhealthy mouth and potential tooth problems, says Bluepet (source).

Discolored teeth – If you notice any of your dog’s teeth turning grey, brown, or black, it could mean disease and decay as noted by The Spruce Pets (source).

Not eating or chewing normally – Your dog may show signs of oral discomfort or pain by hesitating to eat crunchy food or chew on toys, according to The Spruce Pets (source).

Pawing at mouth – Excessive lip licking or pawing at the mouth can also signal discomfort or pain that may be related to a problematic loose tooth, says Bluepet (source).

When to see the vet about a loose tooth

If your dog has a loose tooth, it’s important to monitor it closely and see your vet if certain signs appear. According to The Spruce Pets [1], you should take your dog to the vet if the loose tooth is hindering their ability to eat normally. Dogs need to be able to chew their food properly for nutrition and dental health. A loose tooth getting in the way of eating is a sign it likely needs to be extracted.

You should also see your vet if your dog shows signs of pain or discomfort around their mouth, gums, or the specific loose tooth. Symptoms may include reluctance to eat, whining or crying, pawing at their mouth, reduced playfulness, or unusual behavior. According to BluePet [2], infection is a common cause of loose teeth in dogs. An infected tooth can be very painful and require veterinary attention.

Finally, make an appointment if your dog’s tooth becomes very loose or falls out completely on its own. Your vet will want to examine the socket where the tooth fell out to check for any remaining infection or issues.

Dangers of leaving a problematic loose tooth

Leaving a problematic loose tooth in your dog’s mouth can lead to several issues. According to The Whole Pet Vet, dental disease can spread infection to your dog’s internal organs, causing liver, heart, and kidney problems (https://www.thewholepetvet.com/blog/the-dangers-of-dental-disease-in-pets/). A loose tooth with advanced decay can continue to deteriorate and cause your dog pain and discomfort. Eventually, the loose tooth may fall out completely, leaving an open socket in your dog’s gum. This open socket is prone to infection and can be very painful. It’s important to have your vet examine any problematic loose teeth as soon as you notice them, to avoid these potential dangers and get appropriate treatment for your dog.

What your vet may do for a problematic loose tooth

If your vet determines that your dog’s loose tooth needs to be addressed, they may recommend the following treatment options:

X-rays to assess tooth and root health – Your vet will likely want to take x-rays of your dog’s mouth to get a closer look at the tooth roots and surrounding bone. This helps determine how compromised the tooth is and if extraction is necessary (https://bluepet.com/blog/loose-teeth-in-dogs/).

Antibiotics if infected – If your dog’s loose tooth is accompanied by gum inflammation or an abscess, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection before extraction (https://www.thesprucepets.com/my-dog-has-a-loose-tooth-3384929).

Tooth extraction if severely compromised – If the tooth is very loose, the root is damaged, or there is a persistent infection, your vet may recommend extracting the tooth. This is done under anesthesia for your dog’s comfort.

Caring for your dog after tooth extraction

Proper aftercare following your dog’s tooth extraction is crucial for their healing and comfort. Follow all post-operative instructions from your veterinarian closely. This usually involves restricting activity and implementing a softened food diet to prevent irritation to the surgical site.

For the first several days after the procedure, feed your dog wet canned food or soften their kibble by adding warm water or no-sodium broth and letting it soak for 10-15 minutes. Avoid hard kibble or treats that could irritate the extraction area while it is healing (1). Depending on the specifics of your dog’s surgery, your vet may prescribe a special diet for up to 2 weeks post-op (2).

Also refrain from giving your dog any hard chew toys or bones which could dislodge the surgical site. Limit playtime and walks while your dog is healing. Take care not to let them paw or rub at the incision area.

Gently clean the surgical site with a warm wet cloth to keep it free of food and debris as directed by your vet. Contact them if you notice any swelling, bleeding or oozing from the incision (3). With proper at-home care and limiting activity, your pup will be back to normal in no time.

Preventing dental problems in dogs

There are several steps dog owners can take to help prevent dental disease in their canine companions:

Regular teeth brushing is one of the best ways to reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. The American Veterinary Dental College recommends daily brushing, or at minimum 3 times a week, using toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for pets.

Having your vet perform an annual dental checkup allows them to evaluate your dog’s oral health and look for any potential problems. The vet can also perform a professional cleaning if needed to remove built-up tartar above and below the gumline that you can’t reach through brushing [1].

There are also dental chews made specifically for dogs that help fight plaque and tartar when chewed regularly. Look for chews with the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval. The abrasive action scrapes away tartar and the ingredients inhibit bacterial growth in the mouth [2].

For dogs at high risk for dental disease, your vet may recommend professional dental cleanings under anesthesia at regular intervals, such as every 6-12 months. This allows thorough scaling and polishing above and below the gumline that is not possible to achieve through brushing alone.

Signs your dog’s mouth may be uncomfortable

There are several signs that may indicate your dog is experiencing discomfort in their mouth. According to the VCA Animal Hospitals, signs of dental pain in dogs can include bad breath, visibly loose teeth, or swelling of the muzzle (https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dental-pain-in-dogs). Specific signs to look out for include:

Reluctance to eat hard food – Your dog may avoid crunchy kibble or hard treats if their mouth is painful.

Whining or pawing at mouth – Your dog may vocalize their discomfort or try to examine their painful mouth.

Bad breath – Foul odor from the mouth can indicate dental issues.

Red inflamed gums – Look for puffy, bleeding, or receded gums as a sign of gum disease.

Swelling around mouth – If you notice swelling around your dog’s muzzle or jaw, it could signal an infection or abscess.

Paying attention to these signs can help you determine if your dog may have tooth or mouth discomfort that requires veterinary attention.

When to Call the Vet About Mouth Discomfort

There are certain persistent signs of mouth discomfort that warrant a call to your veterinarian. These include bleeding from the mouth, loss of appetite, or obvious injury inside the mouth.

Bleeding from the mouth is not normal and requires prompt veterinary attention. Any bleeding from the gums, lips, or tongue could indicate an oral injury, abscess, or other condition needing treatment (Well Pets). Don’t wait to see if the bleeding resolves on its own.

Loss of appetite in a previously healthy dog can also signal an oral health issue. According to Angel Pet Hospital1, refusing to eat or a change in eating habits can indicate dental pain or discomfort. Make an appointment with your vet if your dog stops eating normally for more than a day or two.

Obvious injury inside your dog’s mouth also requires veterinary assessment. Cuts, punctures, or trauma to the lips, gums, tongue, palate, or teeth need to be evaluated and treated to prevent infection or other complications.

Don’t delay in contacting your vet if you notice any of these persistent signs of mouth discomfort in your dog. Prompt treatment can help resolve the issue and get your dog feeling better again.

Providing at-home mouth comfort for dogs

If your dog is experiencing mouth discomfort but doesn’t require immediate veterinary attention, there are some things you can do at home to help ease any pain or inflammation in their mouth:

Dental chews formulated for dogs can help massage gums and provide distraction from discomfort. Look for vet-approved chews made of food-grade ingredients like yams or pine wood fibers. Limit chews to 10-15 minutes per day to avoid overtaxing sore areas (At-home Dental Care in Dogs).

Gently massaging your dog’s gums and jaws can increase blood flow to promote healing. Use very light pressure and stop if your dog shows signs of pain. Place a warm, damp cloth on sore jaws to relax muscles (Dental Home Care for Dogs and Cats – Veterinary Partner – VIN).

Offering ice cubes to lick or cubes of canned food to gnaw on can provide numbing relief and mental distraction. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels to reduce inflammation. Just monitor for choking hazards (Home Dental Care for Dogs).

Feeding moist canned food avoids putting pressure on sore teeth. Look for pâtés over chunks, or puree kibble with warm water. This temporary diet change gives teeth a rest while awaiting veterinary treatment.

Monitor your dog closely over the next few days for worsening discomfort or changes in eating habits. Call your vet promptly if problems persist or worsen. With attentive at-home care and veterinary follow-up, your dog’s mouth should heal quickly.

Scroll to Top