Can a dog eat without teeth?

can dogs eat without teeth

Dogs have strong teeth with which they can bite even bones. But what if your dog needs to have all his teeth pulled out when he gets old or due to dental disease? Can a dog eat without teeth at all?

Dogs can eat without teeth. Dogs need their teeth to tear pieces of meat out of the prey and swallow them whole. Digestion takes place exclusively in the stomach. The dog’s stomach acid is so highly concentrated that it can easily break down large amounts. This is also the reason why most dogs swallow their food. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to switch to a softer food, such as wet food or a raw diet, because your dog will always try to bite the food a little. However, regular dental care can prevent tooth loss.

Why do dogs need teeth?

The question sounds a bit strange at first. Because the answer will probably be: “Of course for chewing.” But is that true at all? To find out, let’s take a closer look at the dog’s teeth first.

Dogs have 42 teeth. They have 22 teeth in the lower jaw and 20 in the upper jaw. All dogs have 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars and 10 molars.

Your dog needs the incisors, among other things, to scrape or gnaw off bones. But also, when your dog nibbles on you, he uses his incisors.

Your dog uses the canines to tear chunks of meat from a prey animal or a larger piece of meat.

The premolars are the sharp-edged molars behind the canines. Your dog uses these to “chew” or grind food. For example, you may observe your dog chewing on the side of a bone with the premolars.

Dog needs teeth to gnaw on the bone
Malou, during dental care.

Your dog uses the back molars to chew hard foods such as bones. But they are also used to chew up larger, harder treats.

Do dogs chew their food and need teeth for that?
To answer whether your dog can eat without teeth, let’s first take a closer look at whether a dog chews its food.

The dog’s teeth are not made for chewing as we know it. It is made to tear pieces out of the hunted prey and swallow them as big chunks.

In addition, harder objects such as bones must first be broken, so they can be swallowed.

So digestion takes place exclusively in the stomach and not before by chewing.

This is also the reason why most dogs gulp down their food. No matter whether dry food, wet food, or raw. It is swallowed in the shortest time, larger quantities simply down.

With our Broholm dog, it is extreme. Our Cane Corso tries to chew the food somehow – be it ever so small.

So digesting large amounts of unchewed food is not a problem for your dog because of the gulping because that’s what his stomach is made for. The dog’s stomach acid is 3.5 times more concentrated than humans and is made to break down large amounts.

Accordingly, the dog does not need its teeth primarily to eat but to tear pieces of meat from the prey to swallow them whole.

Can dogs eat without teeth?

Dogs can eat without teeth without any problems. Since they do not have to tear pieces of meat from a whole animal but get the food conveniently served by us in the bowl, this is no problem.

Of course, there can be individual problems with the type of food. You can’t talk about chewing. Some dogs bite their food a little bit before they swallow it.

If your dog, like our Cane Corso, tends to chew his food before swallowing it, it makes sense to soak the dry food in water to make it easier for the dog.

Alternatively, you could switch to wet food or Barf. Just like the raw diet rolls, it is minced meat that a dog can eat without teeth.

Dental care for the dog so that he does not lose his teeth

Dental care is indispensable to avoid the situation where your dog loses his teeth or has to be pulled.

In nature, dental care takes place through regular chewing and gnawing on the bones of prey animals. Dogs can also get tartar, inflamed gums, or plaque. So if you don’t provide your dog with daily bones or other chews for dental care, you should take care of his teeth separately.

Regular dental care will prevent tooth and gum disease and prevent your dog from losing his teeth.

Dental care also starts with high-quality food. Of course, suppose you feed cheap dog food with inferior ingredients. In that case, the teeth may not be adequately cared for due to nutrient deficiencies.

The easiest way to take care of your dog’s teeth is to brush them. This may sound crazy at first. But if natural dental care can not be done, you have to do it.

can dogs eat without teeth

It’s best to start brushing your dog’s teeth when he’s a puppy, so he gets used to it. You can use a classic toothbrush and special dog toothpaste. Alternatively, a fingerling or finger toothbrush is also recommended. You may not feel enough with the toothbrush and hurt your dog’s gums if you apply too much pressure.

Besides, dental care with the toothbrush is recommended if your dog has regular chewing articles such as a Kong* or bones from the butcher. Chewing and gnawing increase saliva flow and cause food residues to disappear between the teeth. At the same time, they are chewing and gnawing, grinding away plaque just as it is in nature when wolves or wild dogs chew the bones of the prey animal.

Generally, it would help if you brushed your dog’s teeth 2 to 3 times a week. If tartar has already formed, it should be removed by your veterinarian because it does not disappear by simple brushing.

Conclusion: Can dogs eat without teeth?

Dogs can eat and digest their food without teeth. Most dogs do not “chew” or grind their food and gulp it down. However, regular dental care through brushing and chewing items can prevent dental disease and thus prevent your dog from losing his teeth.

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© (Contributed image) – *Affiliate/Advertising link.


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog

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