Chihuahuas are like tiny sharks -- they have sharp little teeth and aggressive tendencies that make many pet owners shy away from regular dental hygiene for fear of getting bit. However, getting your Chihuahua used to good oral hygiene from an early age helps protect against adult dental problems common to toy breeds.
There's always the possibility your Chihuahua injured her mouth in some way that caused her to lose teeth. An aggressive game of tug-of-war with a rope toy or chewing on something hard could break teeth or make them wiggly. Take your pup to a vet right away if you suspect this is the case, or if there are other health or behavior issues at play. Broken or loose teeth that result from injury can lead to infection that can enter the bloodstream and cause other health problems. This type of injury can also be very painful for your Chi if left untreated.
Tiny breeds like Chihuahuas are extra-prone to poor dental hygiene. If your 3-year-old Chi pup has bad breath on top of missing teeth or if you notice she chews on just one side of her mouth, dribbles food out when she eats or has bloody gums, these are all signs you got gum disease and poor hygiene on your hands. A buildup of tooth plaque can lead to gingivitis, and a trip to the vet dentist is a necessity.
Because of their short snouts and tiny mouths, Chi teeth are crowded to begin with. If puppy teeth never fell out on schedule when she was younger, it could lead to overcrowding of adult teeth. The closeness of the teeth can lead to tooth loss, but regular attention and dental attention can address this problem. Extraction may be necessary as part of treatment.
Your best bet is to start brushing your Chihuahua’s teeth when she's a baby. Use a specially formulated toothpaste and toothbrush just for dogs -- don't use people toothpaste; the fluoride paired with your pup’s inability to spit after brushing can be dangerous. Find a vet who specializes in toy breeds and make regular oral checkups part of your pup’s annual medical exam. You may have to have your puppy sedated for a deep cleaning, especially if you’ve gone for years without regular dental attention. After that, a little patience and upkeep on your part can help give your Chi a mouth full of healthy pearly whites.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.