Being such little creatures, you wouldn’t imagine Chihuahuas would have enough space in their tiny mouths for many teeth - so how many teeth do Chihuahuas have? Well, they actually have more than you think.
Their teeth are also relevant to their size, making them fierce little needles that you wouldn’t want to have wrapped around the hand. But sadly the most common health problems suffered by Chihuahuas are dental issues.
So if you worry about your tiny furry friend’s teeth, we’ve put together a guide to help you understand how many teeth Chihuahuas should have, the causes of dental problems in Chihuahuas, and what you can do to help.
How many teeth do Chihuahuas have?
All in all, an adult Chihuahua should have 42 teeth. That sounds like a lot when compared to the 32 teeth that adult humans have in comparison, and that’s because it is.
However, Chihuahuas are carnivorous creatures that are naturally built for hunting and killing, as a result, each of their teeth has a purpose.
Chihuahua teeth diagram
Below we have put together a Chihuahua teeth chart (it is also possible to find a Chihuahua teeth age chart that shows you which teeth will come through when).
The chart we have here gives you a good indication of where the teeth should be in your Chihuahua’s mouth and which teeth they are.
The incisors are the smallest teeth located at the very front of the mouth between the canines. They’re the first to come through at around 3 months old and are used for self-grooming and to tear meat away from the bone.
A Chihuahuas incisors are particularly small with them being a tiny breed, and so it can be easy to miss if one is missing, so just be sure to count them. There should be six on the bottom jaw and six on the top. Chihuahua teeth problems often affect the incisors first.
The canines are the teeth that everyone associates with dogs (hence the name). They are larger than the rest of the Chihuahua’s teeth and capable of inflicting a lot of damage. Canines come in at around 4-6 months old and are used to lock on to prey as well as rip the meat apart once they have managed the kill.
You’ll also notice that the canines are used to help your Chihuahua carry things around such as toys or bones. There should be four in total, two at the top and two at the bottom.
Premolars come in at around 4-6 months. Most of a Chihuahua’s teeth are made up of premolars as there are 4 that line both sides of the mouth on both the upper and lower jaw - totaling 16. These teeth are thick and more durable than the smaller incisors and capable of taking a lot more strain.
This is why you’ll notice that your Chihuahua will usually use the side of its mouth to chew their toys as the premolars can stand up to the task.
With Chihuahuas or most dogs for that matter, the majority of their teeth will erupt around the same time. The molars also come through at around 4-6 months of age. Molars in Chihuahuas are the largest teeth with a flattened top made to grind up their food.
The molars are essential to a diet of dry food and so they should be carefully looked after. Your Chihuahua should have 10 molars in total with three lining each side of the bottom jaw and two larger molars lining each side of the top jaw.
How to check your Chihuahua’s teeth
Though you won’t be able to tell exactly what’s happening. It’s a good idea to figure out how to at least take a look. This is just in case you think your Chihuahua may have broken a tooth, lost a tooth, or could have something visibly wrong in there.
Before we go into recommended ways to check their teeth, we should make it clear that not all Chihuahua will take kindly to having someone stick their fingers in their mouth. If you feel like the process is causing your Chihuahua undue stress but that there seems to be something wrong, you should not hesitate to contact your vet.
Chihuahua rotten teeth: causes and what you can do
When owning a Chihuahua, bad teeth can come with the territory. But that doesn’t have to be the case so long as you are careful to look after them as much as possible and that means taking preventative measures to stop any problems developing in the first place.
Chihuahuas suffer from periodontal disease
Periodontal disease specifically targets the gums and can lead to tooth loss, or severe decay. There are multiple periodontal diseases that commonly afflict Chihuahua teeth if they’re not properly looked after.
Below are the two periodontal diseases that could cause your Chihuahua to lose teeth:
Gingivitis in Chihuahuas
Gingivitis is a reversible gum disease that causes inflammation of the gums and is caused when there is a build-up of excess plaque on the Chihuahua’s teeth. Gingivitis can be quite sneaky with the damage that it causes as it’s not necessarily painful, meaning your dog may not show outward symptoms of having it. But if left untreated could lead to tooth decay or tooth loss.
Symptoms of gingivitis in Chihuahuas:
Gums that bleed easily when playing
Bright red gums
Treatment of gingivitis in Chihuahuas:
Teeth scaling both above and below the gum line
Xrays to check the extent of the damage
Routine tooth brushing
Routine dental checks
Extraction if deemed necessary
Periodontitis in Chihuahuas
If your Chihuahua’s dental health isn’t kept in check, there is the possibility of gingivitis developing into Periodontitis which is the most severe periodontal disease a Chihuahua could get. It’s an irreversible, but not incurable, disease that affects not only the teeth but the bones of the surrounding area.
When the gums become severely inflamed they can also recede. Receding gums tend to full away from the teeth causing small spaces in which bacteria can easily build up. This bacteria will cause the teeth to become infected, which can cause bone wastage in your Chihuahua’s jaw bone.
Sadly many Chihuahua owners don’t notice that there’s anything wrong until periodontitis has set in and the dog had begun to show signs of severe discomfort.
Symptoms of periodontitis in Chihuahuas:
Disinterest in eating or drinking cold water
Whining when eating
Pawing at the mouth
Loss of teeth or loose teeth
Blood on toys or disinterest in playing
Sores in the Chihuahua’s mouth
Jaw fractures (due to weakened bone)
Eye problems (caused by proximity to the infection)
Treatment of periodontitis in Chihuahuas:
Xrays to check for damage
Antibiotics to clear infection
Surgery to repair other damage such as jaw fractures (if needed)
Chihuahua suffer from tooth Trauma
When you consider just how dainty Chihuahuas are, it’s easy enough to imagine that it wouldn’t take much force for their tiny teeth to be broken, which could lead to infection. Chihuahuas can lose teeth or have tooth fractures or tooth luxations due to various types of trauma:
Falling from furniture
Playing too roughly
When playing tug-of-war, for instance, try not to lift your Chihuahua by the toy it’s hanging on to. Whilst they may be capable of holding their own weight, this puts tremendous strain on their teeth and can cause serious damage.
Chihuahua suffer from tooth decay
With a Chihuahua, rotten teeth can be avoided with the appropriate care. Tooth decay is caused by any sugars that might have been in your Chihuahua’s food turning to acid as a result of plaque buildup. This acid then eats away at the teeth which causes the teeth to start decaying. This can be avoided with a property dental routine from the get-go.
Symptoms of tooth decay in Chihuahuas:
Holes in the teeth
Pain or discomfort
Pawing at the mouth
Whining when playing or eating
Disinterest in eating
Treatment of tooth decay in Chihuahuas:
Drilling away the rotten areas of the tooth
Filling cleaned holes with filler material
A regular dental routine
Chihuahua suffer from malocclusion (underbite)
Quite often with a Chihuahua bottom teeth can be exposed due to a malocclusion, which is when the teeth don’t line up correctly, causing the bottom teeth to jut out from the top. Malocclusion can also be caused by skeletal deformity causing one jaw to be longer than the other. A Chihuahua with an overbite is less heard of, but still possible.
In certain cases, it can result in the bottom canines puncturing the roof of the mouth. Depending on the severity of your Chihuahua’s malocclusion the symptoms can be:
Symptoms of malocclusion in Chihuahuas:
Bottom teeth protruding from under the lip (exposed to air)
Recoiling from being petted on the head
Rubbing of the mouth of furniture or walls
Decaying of exposed teeth (due to lack of saliva protection)
Treatment of malocclusion in Chihuahuas:
Extraction (for problematic teeth)
Regular orthodontic checks
Chihuahua teeth removal: how it’s done
If your Chihuahua needs to have a tooth removed it will always be for the bettering of their dental health. The vet will always try different treatment avenues before having teeth removed, however, sometimes it’s unavoidable if the damage or decay has gotten too severe.
In order to remove your Chihuahua’s teeth, the vet will likely need to have them put under sedation in order to keep them still during the procedure.
They will then proceed to do the following:
Thoroughly clean all teeth
Inject a local anesthetic into the problem area
Use specialized equipment to break down the ligaments holding the tooth in place
Pull the tooth free
Stitch the area closed
Some extractions may require a general anesthetic in order for the tooth to be cut free surgically.
How to brush Chihuahua teeth
Brushing your Chihuahua’s teeth is something you should start doing as early as possible. The earlier you start, the more time they will have to get used to the sensation. Tooth brushing is vital to the long-term health of your Chihuahua’s teeth, and so it should be considered part of a standard grooming routine.
Get the right toothbrush for your chihuahua
To brush your Chihuahua’s teeth you should first consider what type of toothbrush you think will work. There are canine-specific toothbrushes available. Some with brushes at the end of a stitch, some which slot over your finger like a glove. Go with whatever you think your dog will take better too.
Pick a toothpaste
DO NOT use human toothpaste for your Chihuahua. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. Stick with canine-specific toothpaste which is safe and usually made to taste somewhat enjoyable for them. You can even find homemade toothpaste recipes online that are low-cost and highly effective.
Start brushing your Chihuahuas teeth
There’s not much for it. You simply have to ensure your Chihuahua is feel calm and comfortable, and then carefully get the toothbrush under the upper lip so that it is sitting against the side of their teeth (don’t insert it directly into their mouth) and begin brushing gently, working from the back teeth to the front.
Keep a close eye on your pup as you work. If they appear to be getting agitated let them go and come back to it later. There’s no sense in forcing it on them as it will only cause a negative association with the task.
What if the Chihuahua refuses to have its teeth brushed?
If they adamantly refuse to have their teeth brushed and either appear highly stressed or become violent, stop immediately. In these instances, it’s better to contact your vet and arrange to have your Chihuahua’s teeth cleaned professionally.
Chihuahua teeth FAQs
Do Chihuahuas lose teeth?
They can. Many owners of Chihuahuas find themselves wondering “is it common for chihuahuas to lose their teeth?” It is certainly something that is often heard about Chihuahuas, however, in many instances, there are ways to avoid Chihuahua tooth loss, such as brushing their teeth routinely and taking them to the vet to have them checked on a regular basis.
Do Chihuahuas have underbites?
They can. Chihuahua underbites AND Chihuahua overbites are not unheard of. The cause of an underbite is usually genetic, wherein their teeth don’t line up when they grow in. It is also possible for a Chihuahua to develop an underbite as the result of an injury.
How can I prevent my Chihuahua’s teeth from falling out?
The key thing to remember is that, like with human teeth, your Chihuahua’s teeth need to be cared for. That means buying a canine toothbrush and having them checked over regularly to make sure everything is still looking healthy.
What is the best food for a Chihuahua with no teeth?
If your Chihuahua has lost teeth throughout its life and is finding it difficult to eat comfortably, then you need to make that food as soft as possible. Try to stick with canned food that had a pate-like consistency, as there will be no chewing required and no risk of choking.
When do Chihuahuas lose their baby teeth?
By the time your Chihuahua is 9 months old, they should have no more of their baby teeth left as they will have been replaced by a full set of adult teeth.
How many teeth do Chihuahuas have as adults?
Once fully grown (around 9 months of age) a Chihuahua will have 42 teeth in total. This is a combination of six incisors, four canines, sixteen premolars, and ten molars.