The In's and Outs of your Canine companion's mouth
About your Chihuahua's Teeth:
Because the Chihuahua breed is small, they also have very small mouths. This small mouth can cause problems with the mouth being too small for the teeth, which causes overcrowding. Overcrowding of teeth can cause food to be trapped between the teeth, resulting in plaque and tartar buildup, as well as premature tooth-loss. Keeping the teeth clean is essential to keep the mouth and the rest of the dog healthy. Dogs that have dirty teeth are found to be at much more at risk of heart, liver and kidney damage from the bacteria entering the bloodstream.
You can help keep the mouth clean by offering dental biscuits, dental chew toys, including edible dental chew toys (i.e. greenies, etc.), feeding dry food (kibble) instead of semi-moist or canned food, brushing your dog's teeth (but don't use human toothpaste...it has fluoride...there are doggie toothpaste available from your Veterinarian or through www.jeffersepet.com), using the available edible water additives for dental hygiene, as well as taking your dog to the veterinarian for a dental cleaning, etc. As the Chihuahua gets older, it is almost inevitable that he will need at least one dental cleaning by the veterinarian, quite often more.
Midwest Chihuahuas recommend your first dental cleaning should be done when your pup is spayed or neutered (around age 6-8 months). Another issue, although less serious and easily corrected, is retained puppy teeth. Toy breeds are more prone to this problem, and it is caused by the adult tooth growing beside the puppy tooth, instead of the puppy tooth falling out. I usually recommend that if there are any retained puppy teeth (the usual teeth to be retained are the long canines and the small incisors in the front) they can be removed all while under the anesthesia required to alter your pet.
Generally, for good dental health, have your pet evaluated for dental cleaning every 24 months when fed high-quality food and treats such as those made by Best Breed and other recommended vendors. Contact us if you'd like our updated recommended vendor list.
About your Chihuahuas Bite:
Canines, just like people, have varying types of bites. The desired bite types in the Chihuahua breed are called scissor bite and even bite. There are other types called underbite and overbite (also referred to as undershot and overshot). Here we will briefly explain the differences.
A Scissor Bite is just that. The top teeth and bottom teeth match up like a pair of scissors with the top teeth being just in front of and scissoring with the bottom teeth.
An even bite is when the teeth in the mouth match up evenly.
An underbite is when the bottom teeth and jaw sit out slightly and the bottom teeth are in front of the upper teeth. This is the more common of the incorrect jaw types in Chihuahuas and is in many lines. The American Kennel Club now considers the underbite a minor fault, not a disqualification for show purposes.
More rarely in Chihuahuas is the overbite. Like the underbite, the jaw generally will sit out farther and the teeth, this time on top, will be over the bottom teeth. Also referred to as a shark bite.
Over and underbites occur to varying degrees. If you have a question about what type of bite your companion has, ask your vet. They will be happy to tell you!
About your Chihuahuas Teeth and Ears:
While your Chihuahua is teething, many times one or both ears may droop even if they have previously stood proud and tall. This is a NATURAL part of the teething and growth process of the puppy. More on this can be found on the CHI EARS page on this website.
© Working Dog Chihuahuas by Midwest, 2007