Most adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth, among them eight premolars and four molars on the top as well as eight premolars and six molars on the bottom, all meant to last a lifetime. If you notice that your pooch has lost a tooth, has loose teeth or appears to be in pain when he chews, consult your veterinarian, as your dog could be suffering from a medical condition or a mouth injury.
Your pooch can't use his molars to grind her food because his jaw doesn't move from side to side. Instead, he uses his premolars and molars -- powered by his strong jaws -- for chewing large pieces of food into smaller bits. If your dog looses these teeth, he could have difficulty chewing larger pieces of food, which may mean he'll need a softer diet to ensure he's getting proper nutrition.
Dental Health Concerns
If your dog can eat only soft foods due to molar loss, he may be at a higher risk for tooth decay, plaque buildup and periodontal disease. Without the tooth-cleansing benefits from crunchy foods, your dog's oral health will depend on your efforts, and those of your vet, to help him keep his teeth clean.
By Christy Ayala
ASPCA: Ten Steps to Your Dog's Dental Health
American Veterinary Dental Supply: Periodontal Disease
Animal Dental Clinic: Frequently Asked Animal Dental Questions
The Whole Dog Journal: How to Properly Care for Your Dog's Teeth
American Veterinary Dental College: Triadan Tooth Numbering System
About the Author
Christy Ayala writes about recreation, sports, aquatics, healthy living, family and parenting, language development, organizational change, pets and animals. Ayala holds a master's degree in recreation administration from Aurora University's George Williams College, a graduate certificate in organizational change from Hawaii Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.