Wobbly teeth in dogs

photo of a dog on white background

Overview

  • Adult dogs shouldn’t have wobbly teeth, if you notice any, it’s a sign something is wrong.
  • Puppies start losing their baby teeth at around four months old when they are replaced by adult teeth.
  • Wobbly teeth can be very painful, especially when eating.
  • Wobbly teeth usually need removing by a vet under anaesthetic.
  • Book your dog in for a check-up if you notice they have loose or wobbly teeth.

General information

Just like us, dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. The first set (the baby teeth) start to fall out at around four months old, after that, their permanent adult teeth will be held securely in their sockets. Wobbly teeth can be tricky to notice if your dog won’t allow you to look in their mouth, common symptoms include: 

  • A tooth at an odd angle
  • Rubbing their face
  • Mouth pain
  • Wanting to eat but then walking away from food
  • Trouble eating or dropping food
  • Drooling
  • Mouth pain (pawing at the mouth or only eating on one side of their mouth)

Causes 

  • Tooth and gum disease – the most common cause of wobbly teeth. If they aren't removed, wobbly teeth tend to stay in place, causing pain and discomfort for many years.
  • Injuries – such as bumps, collisions, road traffic accidents and chewing on a hard objects.
  • Tumours in the mouth – cancer in the mouth, jawbone or gums can damage the structures that hold teeth in place.

When to contact your vet

Wobbly teeth are painful - if you think your dog may have one, make an appointment to see your vet. They are likely to need a general anaesthetic for the tooth to be removed, but your vet will be able to discuss the options with you during your appointment.

You know your dog best. If you are concerned, contact your vet.

Preventing wobbly teeth

Prevention is always better than cure, and dental disease is easy to prevent by feeding the right diet, having regular check-ups with your vet and by brushing your dog's teeth (using a pet toothpaste). If you don’t think your dog will tolerate having their teeth brushed, talk to your vet or vet nurse about other options such as special dental diets, additives for water and tartar dissolving gels or powders.

Cost

Treatment for dental problems can become very expensive. It’s important to speak openly to your vet about the cost of treatment, as well as what you think is right for your dog - there may be more than one treatment option available.

Consider insuring your dog as soon as you get them, before any signs of illness start. This will ensure you have all the support you need to care for them.

Published: June 2020

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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst