what to feed a dog with bad teeth or dental problems

Dogs use their teeth a lot more than we do—between eating, playing, and scratching, their teeth see a lot of action. But even though their teeth are strong, they don’t always last a lifetime. In fact, elderly dogs, small breeds, and dogs with flat faces often suffer from dental problems. 

When a dog has bad teeth, eating can become painful. Loss of appetite can lead to a host of other health issues, so choosing the right diet is extremely important for dogs that are prone to dental problems. 

Which Dog Breeds Have Bad Teeth?

Some dogs are more likely to have bad teeth because of their genetics. Dental problems are common in small dogs like Yorkies and Chihuahuas, as well as breeds with flat faces like Bulldogs and Shih Tzus. 

If your dog is genetically prone to tooth decay, you need to make time to brush their teeth every day. You might also need to be more careful of what you feed them. A special diet designed for dogs with dental problems can help reduce their risk of tooth decay.

Why Do Older Dogs Get Bad Teeth?

Dogs have strong teeth, but the constant chewing and gnawing takes its toll over time. Because dogs use their teeth so much, they’re more vulnerable to decay from enamel loss and cracked teeth. And without veterinary dental care, older dogs are also more likely to develop the type of gum disease that leads to tooth loss.

What Do You Feed a Dog with Bad Teeth?

First of all, don’t make the mistake of switching your dog entirely over to wet food. Kibble and dental treats help scrape food, plaque, and tartar off of your dog’s teeth when they chew. Even though wet food is easier to eat, it’s also a lot easier for it to stick to their teeth and make their dental problems worse. 

But depending on your dog, a change in diet may be in order. Usually, a combination of wet food and kibble is best—just make sure to choose a brand with high-quality proteins. There is also prescription dog food available that is specially formulated to help prevent tooth decay.

You can even feed your dog human-grade meals that you’ve prepared yourself. Things like plain scrambled eggs, steamed broccoli, and raw carrots (if their teeth are strong enough) are good for dogs with bad teeth. But preparing balanced meals for dogs can be tricky. Before you make any changes to your dog’s diet, you should always talk to a vet.

Finally, make sure that you’re always around at feeding times to keep an eye on your pet. When dogs can’t chew their food well enough, they might try to swallow it whole and end up choking. If your dog tends to “wolf” down their dinner, you may need to feed them several small portions instead of one whole meal.

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Tooth Pain

Because dogs tend to hide their pain, you need to know what to look for. Believe it or not, bad breath is not normal, and it’s often the first sign of dental problems in dogs. Yellow teeth are another warning sign. And if your dog whines while eating, isn’t eating as much as they used to, or no longer enjoys playing with their chew toys, tooth pain could be the reason why.

Dental Care for Dogs with Bad Teeth

If you’re wondering what to feed a dog with bad teeth, it’s always wise to consult a veterinarian. The team at Anasazi Animal Clinic can advise you on nutrition, tooth brushing, and preventive treatments to keep your dog’s teeth healthy and strong.

A thorough cleaning from a veterinary dentist is one of the best ways to prevent tooth loss in dogs prone to dental problems. Our vets will check for signs of gum disease, damage, and decay. If we find any issues, we’ll advise you on the best treatments for your dog’s dental health. 

Don’t let your dog suffer from tooth pain—schedule a dental exam and cleaning today! Just call our Gilbert, Arizona clinic at 480-497-0505 or request an appointment online.


Photo by Edson Torres on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 8/11/2023.