Depending on your dog’s dental health, there may come a time when they need to have a tooth removed. Dog tooth extractions are a relatively common procedure and can be necessary for a number of reasons. Sometimes a fractured tooth gets damaged beyond repair. In other cases, a tooth with significant decay might need to be removed in order to prevent infections and further tooth decay. 

Well-trained veterinary dentists will do everything possible to save a functional tooth that isn’t causing your canine any pain. But when the decay or injury is too extreme, removing the tooth may be the best option for your dog’s dental and overall health. Although a tooth extraction will require your dog to undergo anesthesia, don’t worry! From start to finish, we take every precaution to ensure your pet’s health and safety throughout the procedure.

Dog Tooth Extraction Recovery and Aftercare

Every pet owner should feel confident about the treatment their pets are receiving. Knowing what to expect after a dog tooth extraction and how to care for your dog will ensure a full recovery.

Aftercare involves regularly and carefully monitoring your dog to watch for signs of pain or extraction complications. You might need to feed your dog a special soft food diet after a tooth extraction to make eating more comfortable. 

Your vet may also prescribe pain medication for your pup, and recommend limiting exercise to aid in the healing process. But keep in mind that every dog’s tooth extraction recovery time and aftercare needs will be different.

At East Valley Animal Hospital, we discuss your dog’s specific at-home care with you before you take them home to recover. In most cases, we will also schedule a follow-up exam seven to ten days after surgery to make sure your dog’s mouth is healing properly. If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out—we want to help both you and your pet feel at ease.

Five Common Questions About Dog Tooth Extractions

1. How long will my dog be in pain? 

It’s normal for your dog to experience pain at the extraction site for about four or five days following the procedure. We will usually prescribe a post-surgery topical or oral pain reliever that will mitigate most of your dog’s discomfort. However, if your dog seems to be in a lot of pain, or starts to do other out-of-the-ordinary things like refusing to eat or drink, you should contact us immediately.  

2. What are the warning signs that my dog is experiencing complications?

It’s crucial that you keep a close eye on your dog after surgery, even if all they seem to do is rest. Some swelling, pain, and a little blood are typical with tooth extractions. However, certain complications may arise. Call your emergency vet right away if you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog after tooth extraction:

  • significant pain
  • excessive facial swelling
  • heavy bleeding
  • increased drooling
  • difficulty eating or refusal to eat
  • changes in behavior
  • sudden bad breath
  • lack of energy (this is only normal for the first 2 or 3 days after surgery)

3. Will my dog have stitches after a tooth extraction? 

Yes, your dog will have stitches at the tooth extraction site. These will dissolve within two to four weeks. But if your dog somehow rips the stitches before then, call us immediately for direction. Stitches are an important part of the healing process, and may need to be replaced depending. Ripping out stitches can also lead to infection, so your dog should be examined as soon as possible.  

4. What can my dog eat after a tooth extraction surgery? 

After an extraction, we will provide you with a list of feeding instructions. Post-surgery, dogs may have an upset or sensitive stomach, so always follow the advice given by your vet.  Since your dog will be in a bit of pain, particularly the first day or two, they may be hesitant to approach their food or water bowls.

Your dog should be wanting to eat again within 24 hours of surgery. Depending on how invasive the extraction was, we may recommend a wet or soft food diet for several days. Noticing some blood in the water bowl is normal, but keep your eye out for excessive bleeding. Avoid giving your dog dry food, crunchy treats, or rawhides for at least 10 days after surgery.

5. How active will my dog be after surgery?

When you bring your dog home, they will probably still be groggy from the anesthesia and want to sleep for a while. After a couple of days, they should be back to their normal energy levels. During the initial recovery, we generally encourage light exercise just to be safe—gentle walks or supervised play in the backyard are best. Save the dog park or any exhaustive activities until after your follow-up visit. 

Preventing Future Tooth Extractions

Practicing good oral hygiene will keep your pet’s mouth happy and healthy. Once your dog has made a full recovery, you can go back to brushing their teeth daily. Always buy safe chew toys that won’t harm your dog’s teeth, and stop them from chewing on dangerous objects like bones or sticks. If you need a recommendation for a good dental chew, we’d be happy to advise you at your next visit.

Dog Dental Exams in Gilbert, AZ

And don’t forget to schedule an annual dental exam! With our state-of-the-art technology and compassionate care, East Valley Animal Hospital is fully equipped to handle regular dental cleanings, complex dental procedures, as well as dental emergencies. Call us today at 480-568-2462 to schedule an oral exam, a dog tooth extraction, or any other veterinary dental procedure.


Image by Agata Nyga from Pixabay (5/13/2019)