Shih Tzus have notoriously bad teeth. My Truman’s adult teeth didn’t even start coming in until he was about 8 weeks old, and then they were oddly spaced and a bit crooked. But what happens if one is loose? Maybe you’ve been wondering, “My Shih Tzu has a loose tooth, should I pull it out?” Before you get a pair of pliers, read on.
My Shih Tzu Has a Loose Tooth, Should I Pull It Out?
You might think it isn’t a big deal to pull out a loose tooth from your Shih Tzu, but that’s not the case.
Unless your Shih Tzu is a puppy, all loose teeth need to be checked out by your vet.
Just like you go to the dentist if you are having issues with your teeth, your Shih Tzu needs to go to the vet for an exam if they have loose teeth.
Once your vet determines there is a loose tooth, they will remove it, but they will do it under anesthesia.
At that time, they will also determine if there are any other dental issues and most likely do a good cleaning of the teeth as well.
What is Involved in a Dental Cleaning for Your Shih Tzu?
Once your Shih Tzu has been put under general anesthesia, your vet will do the examination.
This will include x-rays and teeth cleaning.
This x-ray will also examine your dog’s tooth roots and jaw health.
If your dog has any tarter, it will be removed along with any plaque.
If there are any teeth that need to be removed, your vet will do a tooth extraction at that time.
It is important for your Shih Tzu to be under anesthesia during this process to reduce stress and pain.
If an infection is found, your pup will also be prescribed antibiotics.
Why Do Shih Tzus Loose Teeth?
Shih Tzus are known for bad teeth, to begin with, but they really shouldn’t lose teeth unless they are puppies growing into adulthood.
There are several reasons why your adult Shih Tzu might be losing teeth and none of them are good.
1. They Have Cancer
Some dogs do develop cancer just like humans.
If they have cancer in their gums or jaw bone, it can damage those areas to the point that they start losing teeth.
2. They Have an Injury
It is possible for your Shih Tzu to hurt themselves or be injured badly enough that they lose a tooth.
From a car accident to biting on something hard, there can be damage to their teeth and jaw.
3. They Have Periodontal Disease
This is the most common reason for your Shih Tzu to lose a tooth.
Inflammation or an infection in the soft tissues around the teeth can cause tooth loss.
While your Shih Tzu might not act like they are in pain, they actually are.
You might notice a build-up of tartar and plaque on their teeth and their gums receding.
In the worst cases, the infection will go deeper into the tooth socket which will then destroy the bone.
This is what causes the tooth to be loose and eventually fall out.
Signs of dental disease can include bad breath and sensitivity in the mouth or jaw area meaning your Shih Tzu doesn’t want you to touch their face.
What About Shih Tzu Puppy Teeth?
Typically a Shih Tzu will start growing teeth when they reach 3 to 4 weeks of age.
Once they are a month old they should have about 28 teeth.
I know that for my Truman, his teeth came in late.
The vet was concerned he wasn’t as old as he should have been to leave his mother, but in this case, I had met Truman when he was a week old, so I knew for sure how old he was.
He was just a late bloomer.
Once your Shih Tzu’s adult teeth start to come in, they will push out these baby teeth which is completely normal.
Just like in humans, a dog’s baby teeth aren’t supposed to stick around.
So, if your Shih Tzu puppy is getting their adult teeth and their baby teeth are becoming loose and falling out, this is not cause for alarm.
Adult teeth usually come in at around the age of 6 to 7 months of age.
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How to Keep Your Shih Tzu’s Teeth Healthy
One of the best ways to keep your Shih Tzu’s adult dog teeth healthy is to go to the veterinarian annually.
On your yearly visit, your vet will examine your dog’s teeth to make sure they are healthy and don’t have a build-up of plaque or tarter.
If there is any, they might remove it then and there if it is just a small amount.
You should also schedule a dental cleaning for your Shih Tzu once a year as well.
They will have to go under anesthesia for it to be completed, but it will ensure your dog’s teeth stay healthy.
Finally, while I know it is not easy to do, you should brush your Shih Tzus teeth daily.
Human toothpaste can be harmful as your dog can’t spit it out and will swallow it.
Daily brushing will also help with bad breath.
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To Sum it All Up:
Dental care is just as important for canine teeth as it is for yours. Your Shih Tzu can get a dental disease that will lead to a lost tooth in adult dogs. As pet owners, you need to take your dog’s dental health seriously just as you would any other health conditions your dog may have. Otherwise, they will experience tooth loss, tooth decay, or a broken tooth and then suffer in silence with chronic pain and their quality of life will decline.
This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.