Canine Tooth Loss

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

Canine Tooth Loss

A dog’s age, physical condition, health, nutritional intake and the amount of dental hygiene it receives can all contribute to tooth loss. Physical activities and aggressive chewing on hard objects, such as bones, rocks or fencing can also lead to a cracked or broken tooth.

A crack or fracture in the tooth exposes the delicate pulp. The tooth’s pulp consists of nerve endings. The exposure of the pulp and the nerve ending can be extremely painful to the dog. Food and other particles can become lodged in the pulp or fracture; this usually attracts bacteria and causes an infection. The infection can quickly become an abscess.

Symptoms of an infected or abscessed tooth include a general lack of appetite, pain while eating or chewing, excessive drinking of water and a swollen mouth or snout. Treatment usually includes a regime of antibiotics for 24 hours. If no improvement is noted, the infected tooth is usually extracted. In more severe cases, the tooth will be removed followed by a prescription of antibiotic for a week or so.

Broken teeth are a common problem for canines, especially the incisors. However, providing your dog with a regular regiment of oral hygiene care will greatly help to reduce the odds of tooth loss. By participating in a regular program of canine dental hygiene, you may catch a potentially infected tooth before it becomes a problem. If caught in time, infected or broken teeth may not need to be pulled, as other restorative options are available. Canine dental care should include regular brushing and annual examinations and professional cleanings (see Canine Dental Hygiene article). Also, provide your dog with specially designed chew products, available at most pet retailers. These are not only enjoyable to your pet, but helps to satisfy his chewing desire. It is important not to permit dogs to chew on objects that can break off in sharp pieces and be ingested, which can cause critical health problems. Also, natural bones are extremely abrasive to dogs’ teeth and may cause premature wearing or may lead to a broken tooth. Always dispose of worn bones or chew toys and replace with new ones and, as always, prevention is the best course of action.

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