What To Feed A Dog With Missing Teeth

It's not just wet food forever ...

Dog with missing teeth

Your dog’s beautiful smile might be missing a tooth or two (or maybe even all of them), but does that affect what she can and can’t eat?

When it comes to feeding a pup with missing or no teeth, it’s really not as complicated as you might think.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Heather DiGiacomo, a veterinarian with Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital in Pennsylvania, who explained what to feed your dog if she has fewer chompers than her fellow pups.

Dogs and missing teeth

There are a bunch of reasons why your dog might be missing a tooth.

“Some puppies never develop or grow certain teeth, so they will be missing as the dog gets older,” Dr. DiGiacomo told The Dodo.

Even if your puppy finishes her teething phase with all of her adult teeth, she could still end up losing them over the years.

“As dogs age, periodontal disease is very common,” Dr. DiGiacomo explained. “If periodontal disease is advanced, it can cause teeth to fall out spontaneously.”

An isolated event, like an injury, could also result in your pup losing a tooth or two.

“Dogs who undergo an anesthetic dental procedure with their veterinarian may also have surgical extraction of diseased teeth,” Dr. DiGiacomo said.

How to feed a dog with missing or no teeth

If your pup is missing teeth, you might be wondering if her food options are more limited than a dog with a full set of pearly whites.

It turns out that’s not always the case.

“Dogs that are missing teeth can usually eat a normal diet without any changes,” Dr. DiGiacomo explained. 

According to Dr. DiGiacomo, this also goes for dogs with no teeth at all.

“In many cases, dogs with few or no teeth are able to eat the same food they were eating before losing their teeth,” Dr. DiGiacomo said. “It's amazing to see toothless dogs crunch hard kibble, but they can do so on their hard palate.”

That means you won’t have to crush up her kibble for years to come.

But while most dogs can continue with their usual diet, it is possible that your pup might need to switch things up.

“Some dogs with limited teeth fare better when eating only soft foods,” Dr. DiGiacomo said.

And according to Dr. DiGiacomo, your pup should still be able to have both crunchy and soft treats, even if she’s missing some — or all — of her teeth.

“Dogs that are missing teeth can have virtually any type of treat,” Dr. DiGiacomo said. “They have a remarkable ability to prehend (pick up) and crunch hard treats, even if they are missing some or all teeth!”

The only way to tell which texture is best for your dog with missing teeth is to just test them out and see how your pup reacts.

“It may be trial and error to determine which your dog prefers and can eat more easily,” Dr. DiGiacomo explained.

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