Dental Disease in Small Dogs

Do Small Dogs Have Worse Teeth Than Large Dogs?

Size does matter when it comes to dental disease in dogs.

Small and large dogs differ in the type of dental disease they can encounter. Small breed dogs, such as Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas, have an increased tendency for dental disease and are especially prone to tartar formation, gum recession, and eventual loss of teeth. In addition, dogs with a flatter facial design, also known as brachycephalics, are also at risk. These may include Boxers, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus, to name a few.  In fact, a dog like a Yorkshire Terrier is likely to have lost half of his teeth by the time he is 12 years old.

One study of 1,300 dogs showed that periodontal disease decreases significantly as dogs increase in size. The report, published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry in 1994, documented that Toy breeds have high rates of disease when compared with small, medium and large breeds.

Good dental hygiene cannot be emphasized enough. Periodontal disease is preventable, but should it occur, it can be accurately diagnosed and successfully managed with a proper veterinary dental examination and treatment. Regular veterinary visits that include a thorough oral examination and timely professional dental cleanings and home care will help prevent the severe consequences of periodontal disease.

Tips to Help Prevent Periodontal Disease in smaller dogs

Practice regular veterinary visits staring with puppies

Schedule professional teeth cleaning on a regular basis, such as every six months, starting as early as 1 year of age

Begin brushing a puppy’s teeth early, using a soft toothbrush, to help familiarize the puppy with having his or her teeth cleaned

Feed a dry kibble diet, rather than soft food, and consult your veterinarian to learn whether a dental care formula would benefit your dog