Dental disease can be painful and while treatment may reduce or eliminate pain, this often results in the removal of teeth. Many senior Chihuahuas must have at least some, if not all, of their teeth removed.
Because of that, your Chihuahua will need special accommodations to eat and to continue having a good quality of life after teeth have been removed.
This article will guide you with ways to assist your Chihuahua after the removal of teeth. These tips apply to dogs who have only had a few removed and to dogs who have no teeth remaining. Let’s discuss:
Why do Chihuahuas lose teeth?
Although Chihuahuas are a relatively healthy and hardy breed overall according to the American Kennel Club, they are considered prone to dental disease. This means that most Chihuahuas will suffer from dental problems, especially later in life.
Most frequently, Chihuahuas rescued from neglectful situations, such as puppy mills or hoarding, have no teeth at a much earlier age than a Chihuahua who was cared for in a loving home.
Preventative care is crucial for maintaining good oral health and Chihuahuas in these situations are often never provided any preventative veterinary care or even any veterinary care at all.
Puppy mills frequently use water bottles that you might see in a small animal cage to water the dogs as well; this type of bottle is often associated with dental disease.
Even Chihuahuas who have been raised in loving homes may lose teeth as they age as a result of poor genetics, or lack of regular dental care, combined with their long life span.
Generally, dogs do not make brushing their teeth easy. Tiny mouths are already more difficult to clean, and most dogs struggle against tooth brushings. As wrestling a dog to brush their teeth, especially a small breed, could result in injury, most owners are deterred from brushing their dog’s teeth.
Their tiny mouths, their genetic predisposition to dental disease, and their long life spans make Chihuahuas one of the most common breeds to suffer from extreme cases of dental disease.
How does losing teeth affect Chihuahuas?
Losing teeth changes some parts of life, but thankfully, overall it does not greatly impact their quality of life.
When Chihuahuas lose teeth they can no longer eat hard kibble and chewy treats. Chewing sharp bones becomes impossible, as it would injure their gums.
Many Chihuahuas without teeth will hang their tongue outside of their mouths, often to one side, because they have no teeth to keep it in their mouths. As a result, they may drool a bit more than a dog with teeth. This look often creates an even sweeter and more endearing face than they had before. Here is more information about why do dogs stick their tongues out.
Due to this lazy tongue, they might not have the best “table manners” when they eat, but they will still eat with gusto.
Even when they lose teeth, Chihuahuas can still carry soft toys in their mouths, but they should not be given hard toys or toys with sharp edges, as they could sustain injury to their gums playing with sharp or hard toys.
What food should Chihuahuas without teeth eat be fed?
Chihuahuas without teeth are still able to feast like little kings; their menu just requires simple modifications:
Wet food. Wet or canned foods will be the most ideal, as this is very easy to mash up with their gums and swallow.
Dry food. If your Chihuahua is very picky and only likes a specific type of dry food, do not worry, you may continue to serve it by soaking the kibble in warm water and mashing it up with a fork or spoon to make it the right consistency for your dog to be able to eat it.
Freeze-dried food. Brands like Stella and Chewy make freeze-dried foods that may be broken into tiny bite-sized pieces. These foods are also easier to chew to begin with and may be wet to make them softer.
Homemade diets. Should you prefer to serve a homemade diet, work with your veterinarian to find nutritionally whole recipes made of easy-to-eat ingredients. For example, rice is a common ingredient in dog food, and it would be simple for a dog without teeth to eat it. The risk of choking on rice is also quite low due to the size of the grains of rice.
What treats should Chihuahuas without teeth be fed?
Even though hard treats and chew bones are now off the menu, many delicious options remain!
- Try freeze-dried meats, as they nearly dissolve in dogs’ mouths and they may be broken into tiny bite-sized pieces easily. Freeze-dried treats are available at most pet stores.
- Shredded cheese or plain yogurt are also good options; just be sure to keep these servings small, as a large amount of dairy has the potential to cause digestive upset.
- Peanut butter is another great choice and can be put in a toy for entertainment, just check the label for Xylitol (or birch sugar) before serving.
- Small pieces of bananas may also be offered.
If you like to bake for your dog, there are recipes for soft treats too:
- Pumpkin, Peanut butter and oats
- Banana Bread
- Green Smoothie
- Chicken Jello Treats
- Salmon Jello Treats
- Mini Turkey Meat Loaf
What other special care does my toothless Chihuahua need?
Even though your dog doesn’t have teeth to brush anymore, it is important to keep their mouth clean. Be sure to work with your dog’s veterinarian on ways to help your dog be healthier in the future.
No matter what type of food makes up your Chihuahua’s meals, be sure to always offer fresh water. Daily hydration is critical for overall health and to help keep a dog’s mouth clean. If your Chihuahua does not like to drink very much, try by providing water via a fountain, as fresh moving water may entice your little princess to drink more.
We use this one and the dogs LOVE it. I kept their old water bowl around for a while just in case they might be scared of the fountain but they only want to drink from the fountain now and it’s better for them.
You will need to be aware of the size of the pieces of food your dog is served at mealtimes. Since he does not have teeth to chew the food into appropriate size pieces to swallow, it is crucial that you feed him extra small pieces to prevent choking, similar to how you would prepare food for a human baby just learning to eat. It would also be wise to learn doggy first aid in case your dog tries to eat something too big and chokes on it.
Many Chihuahuas lose teeth as a result of dental disease, but they often go on to live happy lives after receiving proper veterinary care. While food is a passion of many small dogs, with some modifications, your Chihuahua can still enjoy a variety of delicious and nutritious foods.
Dr. Sara Ochoa
This article has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM. You can read more about her on our About page.