Depending on your dog’s dental health, you may at some point have to take them in for tooth extraction. Tooth extractions may be necessary for a number of reasons. Sometimes a fractured tooth isn’t fixable and needs to be removed, or in other cases, the tooth has significant decay and needs to be. While tooth extractions are a relatively common procedure, properly caring for your dog after a tooth extraction will ensure full recovery.

Whenever possible, our team at East Valley Animal Hospital will try to save a functional tooth that isn’t causing your canine pain. Sometimes, however, removal of the tooth is simply the best option for your dog’s dental health. A tooth extraction does require your dog to undergo anesthesia. But don’t worry, from start to finish, we take every precaution to ensure their health and safety throughout the procedure.

Caring for Your Dog After a Tooth Extraction

 Following the procedure, we will discuss at-home care for your dog. And finally, in most cases, we will schedule a follow-up exam 7-10 days after the procedure to ensure the mouth is healing properly. Here are a few common questions we receive from pet owners regarding a tooth extraction.

How long will my dog be in pain?

It’s your dog to have pain at the extraction site for 4-5 days following the procedure. Usually, a prescribed post-surgery topical or oral pain reliever will help mitigate most of your dog’s discomfort. If your dog seems to be in a lot of pain however or starts to do other out-of-the-ordinary things like refusing to eat or drink, contact us immediately.  

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

We always encourage dog owners to keep a close eye on their pets after surgery. Some swelling, pain, and a little blood are typical with tooth extractions. However, if your dog seems to be experiencing extreme pain, has excessive swelling, heavy bleeding, increased drooling, or a sudden change in eating and behavioral habits, you should bring him in to see our vet.

Will my dog have stitches after a tooth extraction?

Yes, your dog will have stitches at the extraction site that should dissolve after 2-4 weeks. If your dog somehow rips the stitches earlier than that, call us for direction, as stitches may be an important part of the extraction site healing process. 

What will their eating and drinking habits be like post-surgery?

After an extraction, there is typically a list of eating instructions that will be provided to you by the vet. Post-surgery many dogs may have an upset or sensitive stomach, so follow the advice given by the 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.

Depending on how invasive the extraction was, we may recommend a wet or softer diet for several days, but your dog should be wanting to eat within 24 hours of surgery. Noticing some blood in the water bowl is normal, but keep your eye out for excessive bleeding. Keep bones and chew toys out of reach until they have fully recovered.

How active will they be?

When you bring your dog home from surgery, they will likely still be groggy and want to sleep for a while. In a couple of days, they should be back to normal energy levels. During the initial recovery, we generally encourage light exercise to be safe: something like a gentle walk or play in the backyard. Save the dog park or exhaustive activity until after our follow-up visit.

Preventing Future Tooth Extractions

Once your dog has had a full recovery, you can go back to brushing their teeth daily. We highly encourage this oral hygiene practice to help keep your pet’s mouth happy and healthy. At East Valley Animal Hospital we want our pet owners to feel confident about the treatment their pets are receiving. We strive to help you know what to expect, and we welcome any questions that will help you feel at ease. To schedule an appointment, call 480-568-2462 or contact us online.


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