Why is My Dog or Cat Losing Teeth?

December 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Pet dental health is so important

Is your cat or dog losing teeth? As a pet owner, it can be understandably worrisome when a tooth shows up in a favorite toy or your pet's food bowl, particularly if you don't know why your dog or cat is losing teeth. For both cats and dogs, there are a few reasons why they may be losing teeth—and only one of them is normal. Here's what you need to know.

The Reasons for Cat or Dog Tooth Loss

Here's the bottom line: loss of teeth in adult dogs and cats isn't normal and is always cause for an appointment with your veterinarian. For adult dogs and cats, early intervention can be key to understanding and treat the underlying problem is causing tooth loss. Never ignore your dog or cat's loss of teeth, as it could point to some of these more severe conditions or situations.


A common reason for a dog or cat to lose teeth is because of injuries following a scuffle or playtime. Dogs and cats sometimes chew on things that are too hard, causing damage to their teeth. Other times, a pet could hurt themselves while playing and knock out a tooth similar to how we might damage our teeth.

Periodontal Disease

If you're not regularly brushing your pet's teeth, they could lose some due to periodontal disease. Poor oral hygiene for both dogs and cats can result in tartar build-up, tooth decay, infections, and gum problems. To prevent this, brush your dog or cat's teeth every day (check out our blog post here for a simple how-to), and offer your pet tooth-cleaning snacks. If you're concerned about your pet's current dental health, bring him or her into your veterinarian for an examination and a thorough cleaning.

Your pet's dental heath is so important

Other Causes

Poor diet, malnutrition, distemper, metabolic disorders, and other factors early in life can also cause your dog or cat to lose teeth. If your pet is this unhealthy, you'll likely be aware of it. Be sure that you're regularly bringing your pet to the veterinarian for check-ups to prevent and catch any serious health concerns that may develop over time.

Baby Teeth

Finally, the only normal reason for tooth loss in both dogs and cats is when kittens or puppies lose their baby teeth. Also known as deciduous teeth, these should fall out on their own as your pet's adult teeth grow in, just as the case is with humans. If you're concerned that your pet hasn't lost all of his or her deciduous teeth, be sure to call your veterinarian. Your vet can remove all baby teeth while your dog is under general anesthesia to prevent any future dental issues.

As always, contact us if you have any concerns about your dog or cat's health and well-being. We have a knowledgeable staff ready to help your pet live a long and healthy life. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

Topics: Pet Dental Health

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.