Tug of war is a popular game for dogs since it builds their confidence and impulse control. But what if your dog lost a tooth after tug of war?
In this post, I will discuss canine dental care together with safe playtime to help prevent another tooth loss on your dog. Just remember that your dog’s veterinarian is still the best person to consult if your dog lost a tooth accidentally.
Is a dog losing a tooth an emergency?
A lost tooth isn’t normally an emergency. However, it’s the symptoms and causes that will determine whether you should rush your dog to the vet.
For example, if your dog’s lost tooth is accompanied by poor appetite, bad breath, whimpering, and other mouth injuries, you should call the vet immediately. This can be a sign of a lingering health problem that requires veterinary attention.
Moreover, if your dog’s lost tooth is due to physical trauma, you should call the vet just the same. It’s possible that your dog also sustained other injuries that need treatment.
Take note that a dog’s tooth has a very deep root, so it’s not easy to pull out. In fact, it’s harder to pull out a dog’s tooth than that of a human.
This is because a canine’s teeth are made to rip into meat, bones, and other hard food items. So if it gets pulled out after a game of tug of war, it’s possible that your pooch has an underlying dental issue.
Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to consult your dog’s veterinarian. After all, canine dental care is as important as any veterinary treatment.
What should I do if my dog lost a tooth due to tug of war?
The first thing you should think about in this case is the age of your dog.
If your dog is under a year old and still in the puppy stage, losing its tooth is quite normal. The tug of war only sped up the shedding of your pet’s milk teeth.
Overall, this is part of a dog’s normal teething phase. Like humans, pups shed their milk teeth to give way to adult teeth.
So if your dog lost a small tooth while playing tug of war, you shouldn’t panic. Just check your dog’s mouth and see if it’s bleeding and if there are tooth fragments left on the spot.
If only a portion of the tooth was removed, the vet will have to remove the baby root. The veterinarian will also extract parts of the crown if there is something left.
Also, you should practice proper canine dental care since the teething phase increases your pup’s risk of developing infections.
Overall, here’s what you need to do if your puppy or adult dog lost a tooth while playing tug of war:
1. Stop the game right away.
The moment you notice your dog’s broken or loose tooth, stop the tug of war right away. Dogs won’t notice that they have broken or pulled teeth unless it’s extremely painful.
2. Check your dog’s mouth
In most cases, your dog’s tooth was only broken due to the force of playing tug of war. This means that the lower part of the teeth is still intact and may need to be removed.
Depending on your dog’s specific condition, the root could be retained. This is commonly done among adult canines.
However, if the tooth has been pulled out completely, the pulp chamber will be exposed. This has to be treated at the vet’s clinic to prevent infection and to treat the pain.
3. Locate the broken/pulled tooth
Before going to the vet, you should try to locate the lost tooth. You need to bring it along to the vet clinic, so the veterinarian can examine how the tooth was damaged.
By bringing the tooth, the vet can decide whether the root can be retained or not.
4. Bring your dog to the vet
Whether the tug of war broke or pulled your dog’s tooth, it’s best to bring your pet to the veterinarian. This way, your pooch will be examined and treated as necessary.
Also, the vet can check if the damaged tooth is due to a case of periodontal disease. If the veterinarian diagnosed your dog with such a problem, a treatment plan will be created.
Overall, the veterinarian will determine whether your dog needs tooth extraction or just mild treatments.
How to protect your dog’s teeth from falling off
As much as dogs’ teeth are strong, it’s not invincible to damage. This is why you should observe the following when playing and caring for your dog:
1. Don’t push tug of war to the limits
Tug of war is a safe game for dogs as long as it’s done properly. Try not to pull the rope too much as your dog bites and tugs into it.
Also, you should pair tug of war with other activities that don’t involve too much stress on the teeth. This way, your pet’s biters won’t experience excessive wear and tear.
2. Always check your dog’s mouth
Even if your dog’s teeth look fine, you should still make it a habit to check its mouth. This way, you can spot any changes that may indicate a dental health problem.
At the same time, you should brush your dog’s teeth. Canines are more prone to plaque since they don’t have the ability to clean their mouths.
3. Invest in regular dental checks
Playing tug of war, chewing bones, and eating kibble will subject your dog’s teeth to wear and tear. This is why you should schedule yearly dental cleaning to ensure that your pooch’s teeth are in good shape.
Take note that such dental checks must be done regardless of how healthy your dog is. Dental problems like periodontal disease happen slowly, which will ultimately lead to tooth loss.
4. Choose your dog’s toys wisely
It’s important that you match the stiffness of your dog’s toys on its size. For example, if you have a Shih Tzu, you should get softer toys since this breed has smaller teeth.
Also, you should avoid playing tug of war with small dogs. Again, their teeth are small and can break easily during a game of tug of war.
Can I pull my dog’s loose tooth out?
Never try to pull your dog’s tooth out, even if it’s already loose. You might break the root and cause more damages in the long run.
If your dog has a damaged or loose tooth, you should it bring to the vet for proper extraction. This is the same thing you should do if your dog damaged its teeth while playing tug of war.
Take note that extraction is a surgical procedure that requires proper tools and medication. This is to prevent any infection on the part of your dog.
Is tug of war bad for dogs?
A game of tug of war has its benefits for dogs. Contrary to some beliefs, it won’t make your pet aggressive.
However, to ensure that tug of war will serve its purpose, you have to set the rules first. This is to prevent the formation of bad habits and to set the limits as to how much your dog can bite and chew.
Overall, tug of war should be a training ground to teach your dog to practice restraint, impulse control, and basic commands. For this to happen, you should control your dog’s playtime.
If done right, tug of war will be high-value training for your dog. It will also promote bonding between you and your pet since it sets you as the alpha.
Why does my dog growl when we play tug of war?
Growling isn’t always a sign of aggression in dogs. During playtime, canines will growl when they are overly excited or frustrated.
While growling during tug of war is usually harmless, you shouldn’t tolerate it just the same. Stop playtime once your dog growls or bares its teeth.
By doing this, your dog will learn that growling isn’t an accepted behavior. Just make sure that you correct growling the moment it happens to prevent confusing your pet.
How old do dogs start losing their teeth?
During the teething phase, dogs will shed their milk teeth at around 12 weeks old. The whole process of sprouting the adult teeth will last until the canine is 6 months old.
As for senior canines, tooth loss is also pretty common. Still, many dogs retain their teeth up to the end of their lives.
The key here is adjusting your dog’s diet and activities as it ages. This way, your dog will be less likely to lose its teeth.
You shouldn’t panic if your dog lost a tooth after tug of war. Still, you should consult your dog’s vet to ensure that your pet won’t experience infections or pain.
Also, it’s important to protect your pet’s biters against excessive force. A game of tug of war is beneficial, but you should always be careful to avoid damaging your dog’s teeth.
Most importantly, you should get your dog’s teeth checked annually to prevent diseases that will make it prone to tooth loss.