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How to Help Senior Chihuahuas with No Teeth

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Many senior Chihuahuas must have at least some, if not all, of their teeth removed. Dental disease can be painful and while treatment may reduce or eliminate pain, the removal of teeth is often necessary. There are many ways to help Chihuahuas with no teeth and this article will guide you in how to feed them, what treats they can have, and special care considerations.

Elderly chihuahua with tongue hanging out.

Are Chihuahuas Prone to Dental Problems?

Although Chihuahuas are a relatively healthy and hardy breed overall, they are considered prone to dental disease according to the American Kennel Club. This means that most Chihuahuas will suffer from teeth problems, especially later in life.

Most frequently, Chihuahua teeth problems occur when dogs are rescued from neglectful situations, such as puppy mills or hoarding. These Chihuahua teeth issues happen at a much earlier age than with dogs who are 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.

Older gray chihuahua sitting on pillows.

Do Chihuahuas Lose Their Teeth?

Senior Chihuahuas will most likely need to have some teeth removed. Some can end up with no teeth at all. Losing teeth changes some parts of life, but thankfully, it does not greatly impact their overall 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 losing 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.

Chihuahuas missing teeth 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.

Best Food for Chihuahuas With No Teeth

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 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.

Treats For Dogs With No Teeth

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:

White chihuahua standing at food bowl.

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 water fountain 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. Chihuahuas with no teeth can not chew food into appropriate size pieces to swallow, so 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.

Chihuahua teeth problems are a common result of dental disease, but your dog can go on to live a happy life 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.

female vet holding fuzzy dog

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.

chi lover

Saturday 5th of November 2022

I’m heartbroken that my chi had to have almost all teeth extracted at age 5 today with problems in jaw and bone loss. I’ve tried to brush with dog paste and finger brush which never goes over well, bulky sticks, greenies, best raw organic food, purified water. I feel terrible that it is wasn’t enough. I genuinely try so hard to do everything right as my chi is everything to me. It’s confusing because I know other little dogs whose parents don’t do 1/4 of what I do but their teeth are better. The vet had a cruel bedside manner and was extremely judgmental and mentioned nothing about chi predisposition to these issues. No vet ever suggested we weren’t doing enough or that there were issues. How often can this be predominantly genetic?


Saturday 5th of November 2022

Don't beat yourself up. Some dogs are just prone to having problems and I know people who have gone through similar situations as you and they brushed their dog's teeth everyday. Chihuahuas and small dogs in particular are more prone to having issues with their teeth and some are also genetically pre-dispositioned to it too.


Monday 1st of August 2022

I have two chihuahuas. Chuck is 14.5 w/zero teeth. Roo is 15.5 with two lower canines. They both eat Iams mini chunks as they have since puppies. They used to really enjoy bully sticks. It kept them busy and happy. Now Roo has developed a habit of licking. The bed spread, the sheets, the pillows, the carpet, my arm...the list goes on. He is deaf and I would like to give him something to do besides licking and getting long hairs that have fallen from my wife's head that eventually pass leaving a dingleberry hanging out his back side. I'm looking for a toy where he can use his front paws to hold it while chewing a soft rubber like bone with dog safe peanut butter or something in/on it. He has never liked to play with toys except the big plushes that he will eventually try to mount,nor fetch toys. It's been a few years since his extractions and I feel he is missing the chewing and has replaced it with licking.

Any suggestions would be well received.

The Kong things are not his style.


Monday 1st of August 2022

This might help, you can fill it with broth and freeze it and he can lick to his heart's content:


Tuesday 30th of March 2021

My baby can no longer hold food in her mouth. Also She’s always coughing I took her to the doctor and she still is doing it.


Saturday 15th of October 2022

@Katherine, I am having the same problem. What happened? What did the vet suggest?


Thursday 1st of April 2021

That's not good. What did the vet say it was?

Deanna Merritt

Sunday 27th of September 2020

Thank you for the article about Chihuahuas losing their teeth. My little guy is 8 and started to lose his. The article was informative.


Sunday 27th of September 2020

You are very welcome Deanna!

Cindy and Buffy

Friday 25th of September 2020

Thank you Cathy for reminding us of how precious our "babies" forever loves are..loyal & dedicated never to be forgotten. Precious so love them now ♥️ Your 3 darlings look so happy & loved in the pic!


Friday 25th of September 2020

Thank you Cindy!