Can Dogs Eat Without Teeth?

Dogs without teeth can lead a life relatively similar to dogs with teeth and might even be happier and healthier. Diseased teeth cause pain when chewing and risk spreading infections to other organs through the bloodstream. While tooth extraction may seem a bit extreme, it could be the best option for your dog in the long run. The important thing to note is that you should not be feeding your toothless dog 100% dry food.

Not all dogs are lucky enough to count all 42 of their pearly whites. Whatever the reason for the tooth loss (e.g., injury, poor oral hygiene, age, or oral health issues), one thing's for certain: a toothless dog has a harder time chewing their food, which makes getting the food broken down into smaller pieces more difficult and opens them up to be predisposed to oral health and digestive issues. Toothless dogs cannot eat hard foods like dry kibble — they swallow the pieces whole — nor can they count on makeshift solutions for a long time. They need dog foods they can eat without endangering the health of their gums and body!

That is why today's article will take a closer look at toothless dogs, the challenges they face, and how switching to the Volhard diet is the best decision for a toothless dog's diet.

How Do Dogs Eat Without Teeth?

A few missing teeth can become quite problematic for a dog's overall health, mainly because dogs with no teeth do not have auxiliary eating methods to rely upon. Without teeth, dogs will simply try to chew the food with their gums and, if unsuccessful, swallow it whole. Such is the outcome of most dogs who are being fed hard kibble.

Can Digestive Enzymes Help a Dog With Missing Teeth?

Unfortunately, swallowing large chunks of food comes with its own disadvantages. The chewing process is an integral part of the digestive process. Breaking down food using the teeth allows the dog to digest smaller fragmented pieces versus whole chunks. Large chunks of food put additional pressure on the digestive process.

Would supplementing enzyme production help a toothless dog or not? Digestive enzymes help break down food into smaller nutrient sizes, making that food more available. Unfortunately, this does not help with food that has not been masticated by the dog using the teeth. Therefore, the type of food you are feeding needs to be changed.

What to Feed a Dog With No Teeth

How to Deal with Dry Kibble?

Regardless of its type, kibble is not a toothless dog's ally. Its hard, crunchy texture makes it virtually impossible for dogs to chew with only the gums. Therefore, you need to soften the kibble before feeding it to your dog by adding warm water or chicken broth; over time, the kibble will soften into mush and become easier to eat.

Serving softened dry food helps ease your dog’s dietary transition because it tastes the same as the food they’re used to. You can even use a fork to mash up any chunks once you have given the kibble a chance to soften. Unfortunately, hydrated kibble is a makeshift solution at best, for a number of reasons.

How About Wet Food for Toothless Dogs?

If you want to do your toothless dog a favor, substitute dry kibble with canned dog food. This option takes your dog's oral issues into consideration; its soft texture makes it easy for a dog without teeth to eat without having to chew their food. You can also mix it with more water or broth to assist your dog in their feeding process even more!

Be thorough in choosing your dog's wet food type since not all of them are easy to consume. In case your dog's food contains large chunks, be sure to have it mashed or run through a food processor before consumption — you'll be doing a dog a great favor while keeping them safe!

Why the Volhard Diet Is Ideal for Dogs With Missing Teeth!

Your toothless pooch needs all the help it can get in order to keep their oral health in check, and we at Volhard know the perfect way to feed your dog without affecting their wellbeing or putting their overall health in jeopardy: the Volhard diet!

Volhard diets are dehydrated and are chopped very small so that any mouth can eat the food without issue. Once you hydrate the food, the meal is soft and the protein fresh, making digestion easier even without teeth.

Furthermore, the Volhard foundation mix will not aggravate your dog's gums, relieve their bad breath, and help prevent additional tooth loss in the future. Unlike crunchy kibble or soft food, Volhard assists your dog's dental hygiene while providing the nutritional levels established by the NRC and AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages. Feel free to speak to a Volhard canine nutritionist about the fantastic health benefits of the Volhard diet!

Breeds Predisposed to Tooth Loss

Dental care plays a significant role in keeping a dog's teeth healthy, and we encourage every dog owner to implement a consistent oral care regimen for their dogs from a young age. But oral hygiene is not always the answer. Unfortunately, certain dog breeds are prone to not-so-great teeth and, eventually, tooth loss.

Small breeds run a higher risk of tooth decay, tooth loss, and periodontal disease than larger breeds. It all has to do with the size of their oral cavities — smaller breeds have to fit the same number of adult teeth (i.e., 42) as their larger counterparts. In addition, the crowded space makes it easier for food particles to get stuck between the teeth and harder for dog parents to ensure proper tooth cleaning. Collies, Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, and Shih Tzus are a few dog breeds predisposed to tooth loss, so make sure you constantly brush your furry friend's pearly whites. Check out this article to learn more about proper dental care for dogs!

How Do I Provide Appropriate Oral Hygiene to a Dog With No Teeth?

Putting your dog on wet food or the Volhard diet is not enough to keep your toothless dog safe. Unfortunately, dogs with no teeth are at a higher risk of developing dental health issues, meaning that they require a specially tailored oral hygiene regimen.

First, the dry food your dog eats can be too hard on their gums and, consequently, cause lesions, the favorite place for bacteria to nest. Once they're attacked by foreign pathogens, your dog's gums become exposed to inflammation, infection, and gum disease. To help prevent infection, squirt a small amount of chlorhexidine solution on each side of the dog's mouth after meals. Rest assured that chlorhexidine is safe for dogs and can act as an antibacterial shield for your dog's gums for up to 12 hours.

How about the remaining teeth? When it comes to dental care, you need to be as gentle with them as possible. Experts suggest we brush our furry friends' teeth three times weekly for an adequate oral care regimen. Be sure to wield all the necessary tools for proper tooth brushing, such as a noiseless brush (e.g., the Emmi®-Pet toothbrush) and a xylitol-free toothpaste (xylitol is not friendly to the canine digestive system). Also, don't forget to point the toothbrush at a 45° angle towards the juncture between teeth and gums, where bacteria tends to settle in. With a solid oral care regimen in place, your dog has a better chance of steering clear of dental issues!

Can My Dog Play With Sticks Anymore?

Once a dog loses their teeth, dog owners have to be extra careful about their daily activities. Of course, we're not recommending a cutdown in your canine friend's playtime, but we advise against certain "toys" they might find lying around, such as sticks, stones, and sharp objects. No matter how curious they are, your dog has to keep their curiosity in check, as sharp objects might cause lesions to the oral cavity.

What you need is a command that will instantly cause your dog to drop the unwanted object out of their mouth, such as the "Leave it!" command. This command can come in handy in numerous circumstances, e.g., when your dog is trying to eat an acorn, poop, and any other object that doesn't belong in your dog's mouth. Check out this article to learn everything about teaching your dog the "Leave it!" command!

Dogs With No Teeth Require Constant Veterinary Check-Ups

For a dog who's losing teeth, no amount of prevention is enough. If you want your dog to have a better chance at preserving their oral health, take them to the veterinarian for periodic check-ups. Your vet will look for telltale signs of worsening oral hygiene, such as bad breath, a lack of appetite, and bleeding gums, and recommend a course of action. A visit to the vet might make the difference between losing and preserving your dog's teeth!

Teeth Cleaning Is Vital for Your Dog's Health and Wellbeing!

The answer to the question, can a dog eat without teeth is yes, they can, but not without significant changes in their diet and oral care regimen. A dog with no teeth needs their oral cavity cleaned constantly and a balanced diet that takes care of their special needs. While the first half of the equation rests on each dog owner's shoulders, you can cover the second part with the help of the Volhard diet! For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!


Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!

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