We all love our pets, and when you are a long-time dog owner, it comes a time when it is our task to take care of the dog in its final years. Reaching the golden years is a very important milestone, and it is up to us to give them the world!
Considering that most senior dogs are missing some or most of their teeth or they have loose teeth- it means you will have to adjust their diet to their new needs!
Even though your furry friend cannot chew on bones and sturdy meat, it can still have a delicious and nutritious meal! So, let’s see what to feed a dog with loose teeth!
Causes of Loose Teeth in Dogs
Before we start dealing with food you can feed your dog; it is crucial to review some of the information related to causes of tooth decay, tooth loss, and loose teeth! Although when we say loose teeth in dogs, most people immediately think about older dogs.
However, the thing is, losing teeth is not a normal part of the aging process for dogs! It usually points to a serious health condition or a type of shock.
1. Trauma and Injury
Obviously, dogs can lose teeth as a result of an injury or trauma. Dogs tend to collide or fight, and it is not out of the ordinary to see some loose teeth after such an occurrence.
According to vets, that is a very common situation, and people often bring in senior dogs with loose teeth.
But ultimately, if your dog is not a puppy, it should not have loose teeth or lose them. Like us, dogs go through two sets of teeth, baby teeth, and adult teeth.
The baby teeth erupt when a dog is a couple of weeks old, while the adult teeth come out at around 3 months.
In addition, we all know that dogs love to chew on sturdy bones, which often damages their teeth. The last time I went to see a vet, he told me to stop giving my Shih Tzu bones as treats, especially the smaller ones, because they actually cause more damage than any good.
2. Periodontal Disease
The most common culprit of loose teeth in senior dogs is periodontal or gum disease. According to the American Veterinary Association, around 85% of dogs over three show some gum disease symptoms.
Periodontal disease starts with gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis.
If left untreated, it can result in complete loss of teeth! Sometimes, periodontal disease can start developing at a younger age, and it is very important to diagnose it and start the treatment as soon as possible.
Also, preventive dentistry will help against this disease and many other dental conditions.
Symptoms of Loose Teeth and Periodontal Disease
Interestingly, the early stages of periodontal disease usually involve no symptoms. However, some dogs can exhibit gum swelling around periodontal pockets. The cause of the swelling is the plaque or food and bacteria buildup in the pockets and around the gums.
If you often congregate around older dogs, maybe you have seen that some of their gums are almost black or at least darker in color than others. Other symptoms include bad breath, bumps, and lumps on the gum tissue.
However, most dogs have bad breath unless their owners are strict on oral hygiene and often brush their teeth! You may also notice gum discoloration and your dog struggling to chew and eat food.
We suggest you immediately contact a veterinary dentist if you see anything unusual because ‘prevention is better than cure.’
Best Foods For Dogs with Loose or No Teeth
If your dog’s teeth are loose or they do not have many of them, that means you can forget about the solid food, bones, and tough treats! As mentioned, that does not necessarily mean your dog’s diet will suffer!
It means that you will transition to giving soft foods to your dog, and there are many options to choose from!
1. Canned Dog Food
Even though I give canned food to my dogs of different ages and with different numbers of teeth, it is still an excellent choice for dogs without teeth! In other words, canned dog food or wet food is an infallible choice!
Some of our best picks include:
- Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner Combo Canned Dog Food
This soft food delicacy is made of various by-products from meat and chicken. It also has animal liver, beef, and chicken. As a brand, Pedigree is widely known for making excellent and high-quality food with numerous nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
This meal has a very soft consistency and will be an ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy’ for your dog to eat it.
- Blue Buffalo Homestyle Senior Chicken Dinner Canned Dog Food
This canned food is made specifically for older dogs. It provides a wholesome and nutritious meal containing all the necessary protein, vitamins, and minerals to keep your dog healthy and its hair shiny.
It contains some of the dog’s favorite foods, chicken meat, and chicken liver, and for an extra veggie punch, there are peas and carrots!
- Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein Turkey, Duck & Quail Entrée Dog Food
Even though this delicious dog food formula is meant for active dogs, it is so soft and tender that you can readily give it to your senior dogs.
As implied in the name, it contains turkey, duck, and quail meat and has such texture that it reminds of a pâté.
- Purina Pro Plan Savor Turkey & Sweet Potato Entree Dog Food
Another interesting choice with a buttery pate consistency is the Purina Pro Plan Formula, made with turkey, chicken, rice, and sweet potato. It has all the necessary ingredients and even water, so it looks more like a paste, which is great for older dogs.
- Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Senior Adult 7+ Beef & Brown Rice Entree Wet Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan wet food is made with real turkey; in other words, your dog will not be able to resist, and most importantly, eating it will not impact the dog’s teeth. Plus, it is full of high protein, because of the meat, but also carbohydrates (brown rice).
- Tiki Dog Aloha Petites Senior Mousse Chicken, Beef & Pumpkin in Broth Grain
Just by reading the name of the food, you will realize that this is something close to perfection when it comes to food for senior dogs! Besides delicious chicken and beef, it also contains pumpkin, making this silky mousse easy to consume.
2. Dehydrated or Freeze-dried Food
Although it might seem that this food can be chewy or crispy, it is a good choice for older dogs because it is specifically made to deliver valuable nutrients. How to prepare dehydrated and freeze-dried food?
Just add water and mix until it’s buttery soft!
Some of the products that we picked for you include Primal Nuggets Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food, Stella & Chewy’s: Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food, and Only Natural Pet Wholesome Homemade Stew Dehydrated Dog Food.
3. Moistened Dry Food
You do not have to be a genius to think of this one, right? I often do this because my dogs prefer softer rather than crunchy food. Depending on what you have, if those are crackers or dry kibble, just add some water, let it soften, and it will be ready to be served in two minutes.
If you have dry dog food, do not throw it away; moistening it can create butter and soft purée or mousse! Also, if you have any leftover chunks of meat, you can combine them or maybe find a recipe online. Most dogs are not very fussy about their food choices.
Caring For Dog’s Oral Health
One of the best ways to care for your dogs is to include regular tooth brushing, which most owners disregard. Like our teeth, dog’s teeth can be susceptible to tooth decay and disease, and optimal oral health is vital to preventing dental problems.
In most cases, canines are not a fan of brushing, and most dogs are not used to toothbrushes and the taste of toothpaste. But starting the process when they are younger will do wonders for their dental care.
When a dog chews food with diseased teeth, it usually causes pain, but it also poses the risk of that infection spreading to other organs through the bloodstream.
You can also incorporate chew toys. Even though dogs with loose teeth should not be testing the stability of their teeth, a great way to give them that sensation of eating a bone is with chew toys. One of the most popular is the puppy Kong which is meant for puppies.
Either way, it is soft enough not to hurt the dog’s teeth, giving it the chewing experience, even if it is just gumming it.
There are plenty of food choices and recipes for senior dogs! You can choose from store-bought products made specifically for senior dogs, combine dehydrated food with water, or use moistened dry dog food.
The most important criterion is that the food is easy to digest and digest and has the necessary nutrients! As you can see, you can choose from a wide range of products, and some of those even include veggies!
What do you give to your old senior dogs? Please share your experience with us! If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comment section!