A dog’s general health is highly dependent on its dental health.

That’s why a dental checkup is highly recommended at least once a year.

In those checkups, the vet will look for potential risks of future tooth problems.

This assessment will help you keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

Your dog may be having dental issues that you’re not aware of.

These are some signs you should keep an eye out for.

Understanding Dog’s Teeth

  • 4 Types of Teeth Found in Dogs
  • Dental Anatomy of Dogs
  • Common Dental Problems in Dogs

4 Types of Teeth Found in Dogs

  • Wolf Teeth
  • German Shepherd Teeth
  • Pug Teeth
  • Maltese Teeth

Wolf Teeth

The wolf canine teeth are longer and thicker than most dogs.

They also curve slightly to form a scissor bite.

The rest of their teeth are also larger.

Wolf jaws are bigger too.

German Shepherd Teeth

Their teeth are less curved than wolves’, and they have an even bite.

They have very healthy and strong teeth.

The same goes for Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies. [1]

Pug Teeth

Pugs are known for having bad teeth.

They are prone to periodontal diseases.

This can cause pain, bad breath, and teeth falling out. [2]

Their brachiocephalic skull can also cause a severe underbite.

A Dog skull of the type brachiocephalic. Typical for Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, French Bulldogs and 20 other breeds.

Maltese Teeth

Similar to Chihuahuas, the Maltese are known for weak and crowded teeth.

They also lose their baby teeth much quicker than other dogs. [3]

Maltese are also usually cross-bred with other small dogs.

Most small dogs have teeth problems.

Shih Tzus are the most popular to breed with.

When properly bred, even Maltese can have healthy teeth.

4 types of Dental Anatomy in Dogs

  • Incisors
  • Canines
  • Premolars
  • Molars


The front teeth are incisors.

They are used for tearing meat and grooming.

There are 12 incisors, 6 on the top and 6 on the bottom. [4]


Canines are long pointy teeth at the front.

They’re also known as fangs.

There are 4 fangs, 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom.

They are used for puncturing and holding.


Next are the premolars.

There are 16 premolars, 8 on each jaw.

They are used for shearing and chewing.

An anatomical diagram of a dogs upper jaw skeleton. Showing the premolars, canines, incisors and molars.


The molars have a similar role, as they are also used for chewing and grinding.

There are 4 molars on the top jaw and 6 on the bottom.

Even though all canines have similar teeth.

It’s interesting that chihuahua and wolf teeth are different.

The dental anatomy of dogs is quite easy to distinguish.

Each group of teeth has its characteristics.

If you know the placement and the different shapes of the dog’s teeth it will be easier to find the problem.

A medical anatomy of a White Tooth. Showing the different layers of the crown, pulp, root, enamel, dentin, gum, root canal, bone, vein, nerve and artery

The anatomical structure of all teeth is the same.

A tooth has 3 parts (a crown, a neck, and a root).

The tooth has 4 layers (enamel, cementum, dentin, and pulp).

Dog teeth and human teeth may differ in size and shape, but they have the same structure.

Common Dental Problems in Dogs

  • Periodontitis
  • Oral Trauma or Fractured Tooth
  • Gingivitis and Ulcerative Stomatitis


This condition is the most common health issue in dog teeth.

It is worse in smaller breeds and in older dogs.

Early diagnosis is key to improving the condition.

The main cause is plaque built up under the gums.

It can lead to a cavity. [5]

Oral Trauma or Fractured Tooth

Dogs often chew on things.

If the object is hard, it can cause trauma or fracture of a tooth.

This is why you must not give bones or hard objects for them to chew on.

Checkout these 20 pictures of dog teeth with problems.

Gingivitis and Ulcerative Stomatitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation and can lead to serious general health problems.

Ulcerative stomatitis is similar but worse.

It’s an inflammation of the mucus lining of the whole mouth.

It can also extend to deeper layers. [6]

Taking Pictures of Dog’s Teeth      

  • Preparing Your Dog for a Dental Checkup
  • The Right Time to Take Pictures of Your Dog’s Teeth
  • Tools Needed for Taking Pictures of Dog’s Teeth
  • Positioning Your Dog for the Best Results

Preparing Your Dog for a Dental Checkup

Preparing your dog is easy. The vet will check for any dental issues.

An X-ray may be suggested to spot hidden diseases.

For this, your dog will be sedated.

X-rays are taken from the left, right, and from bottom side of the skull.

Sedation is also needed for dental cleaning, so a 12-hour fast is necessary.

The Right Time to Take Pictures of Your Dog’s Teeth

You should check on your dog’s teeth regularly.

You should take pictures of its teeth regularly as well.

This is so that if a problem occurs, the vet can compare the before and after.

Tools Needed for Taking Pictures of Dog’s Teeth



To take the picture

Mobile phone


Light source

To see better


To hold the lips



To keep it calm

We have all the tools we need to take a picture of a dog’s teeth in our pocket.

The easiest way to do it is to get a helper.

The dog needs to be calm.

Before you take the picture make sure there’s enough light, or use a flash.

Positioning Your Dog for the Best Results

The dog needs to stay still or sit.

The pictures are taken easily.

A helper needs to pull the top lip up and the bottom lip down.

There is no need to separate the jaws.

Pictures must be taken from both sides of the jaw and the front. [7]

Analyzing Pictures of Dog’s Teeth

  • Identifying Normal vs. Abnormal Teeth
  • Using Pictures to Monitor Dental Health Over Time
  • What to Look for in Pictures of Your Dog’s Teeth

Identifying Normal vs. Abnormal Teeth





White or slightly yellow

Dark yellow, brown, and black


No pain

Painful to touch


Normal, happy

Lethargic, sad


Eats normally

Prefers soft food

Other signs

-Eats hard treats

Only licking hard treats

-Doesn’t drool

Pawing at the mouth

Whining while eating or if touched


Dropping food from the mouth

Using Photos to Monitor Dental Health Over Time

Photos are a great tool to keep track of your dog’s dental health.

If any unusual symptoms appear, you can check if there are any tooth changes yourself.

If there are, take your dog to the veterinarian.

What to Look For in Pictures of Your Dogs Teeth

Look for any changes in color, plaque build-up, redness in the gums, or blood and puss.

A close up of a dog's mouth with bacterial plaque or tartar and missing teeth

In the pictures, you can also see any breaks or scratches.

Make sure to look for foreign bodies as well.

How to Maintain Your Dog’s Dental Health

  • Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
  • Providing Dental Treats and Toys
  • Professional Dental Cleaning for Dogs
  • Tips for Maintaining Good Dental Health in Dogs

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing should be done daily with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste.

Before you start, make sure there’s enough light so you can see the teeth.

When you buy the brush, introduce it to the dog by letting it lick it and bite it.

The brushing should be done from the front to the back. It’s easier to start from the top jaw first.

After brushing, make sure to give it praises and a reward.

Providing Dental Treats and Toys

Dental toys come in all shapes and sizes.

They are usually bristled or have bumps on their surface.

The toys are used to keep the dog’s teeth clean and massage the gums.

Some make a squeaking noise, and others have scents.

They can also provide mental stimulation.

A brown vizsla puppy playing with a turquiose chew toy with bumps on it. To remove plaque, tartar and residue on its teeth.

Professional Dental Cleaning for Dogs

After an examination, the dog will be sedated.

Tooth scaling will be performed with hand or ultrasonic scalers to remove plaque.

Scraping dogs teeth is an easy procedure, but it should be done by a professional.

In the case of a new cavity, amalgam filling will be used.

In the end, the teeth are polished to remove scratches. 

A Veterinary that cleans the incisors of a dog with ultrasonic. Almost done removing all the plaque from the dogs tooth.

Tips for Maintaining Good Dental Health in Dogs

Daily brushing is the most important step in dental health.

By brushing, you decrease the chance of a cavity or infection in the mouth.

Make sure to get regular vet dental checkups.

Dental dog toys are the best option if your dog doesn’t like daily brushing.

Make sure to brush its teeth still at least once a week. [8]

Are Pictures of a Dog’s Teeth Important?

Yes, pictures of a dog’s teeth are important.

It is because it’s easy to spot differences through time.

Monitoring your dog’s dental health is very important for its general health.

By taking pictures, you have proof of their condition through the years.

Pictures make it easy for your veterinarian to see and fix the problem faster.

Dental health is easy to maintain at home.

This way, you prevent a problem from happening. [9]