If/When Your Dog Breaks a Tooth

No matter how much you try to protect your prairie dogs, sometimes they rush the door, and manage to fall to the floor (a good reason to avoid a high cage, if possible). Because of this, or even just chewing on the bars, a tooth might be cracked or broken. With any luck, they won’t swallow it. If you observe behavior, such as a fall, that might cause this, make sure to check that their top two and bottom two teeth are even, and that there aren’t any visible fractures/cracks. This is very important.

If or when a tooth problem happens, you may find yourself in a complex set of circumstances. Their mouth won’t close properly. The prairie dog may no longer eat normally. The teeth, which continually grow and need to be warn down through normally eating and chewing, will no longer wear down.

It’s important that you schedule an appointment with your local exotic vet. They can work to even-out the teeth. I’d consider it an emergency, but it’s not the end of the world. Until the teeth get evened out, it’s a good idea to feed them with a syringe to limit the amount of stress on the teeth, and to make sure the prairie dog is still eating well (see this post for more information).

Even if falling or chewing on bars doesn’t cause a tooth issue, it’s still important to prevent this through whatever means are necessary, as odontomas (tumors) have the same origins.

Update: After five-weeks, or so, his teeth evened out. Although this may, and probably, won’t always be the case, such things do, fortunately, fix themselves, some of the time.


14 thoughts on “If/When Your Dog Breaks a Tooth

  1. My 7 month Old PD ran face first into a door and knocked one of his lower teeth right out! His gum was bleeding for a bit. He seems ok, . . . just acting like his feelings are hurt as he’s in his bed in his cage. I know their teeth keep growing, so will it grow back in? How long does it take? I’ll start syringe feeding him to make sure he still has enough to eat, but aside from that, what do I do? There’s only one vet in town, and they haven’t ever treated a prairie dog. What can I do to help my little guy?

    • Sorry to hear about his gum bleeding. That’s sad.

      Aside from the potential impact on their lifespan (I don’t know how many of the articles you’ve read, but chewing on bars and any sudden impact can halve their life), sometimes they grow back even and sometimes they don’t. I believe Widget’s one tooth grew back *really* quick, but that I needed to bring him in every couple of weeks to file the one down to match. But, it only took four or six weeks until they were back to normal. I was told by the exotic vet that I see that it’s not the same for every dog. In the mean time, I would recommend that you keep giving him normal hay and pellets so that his remaining tooth wears normally. They also have other teeth to the sides that they can use to chew (this was one of my questions, too).

      If you can find a vet that works on rodents (the same family as PDs), you might go to him to have the teeth evened out if/when the other one comes back.

      • Thank YOU!!! It’s a bottom tooth, so I don’t think we have to worry about the Odontoma issue which is a relief. I have another PD, so they’ll both continue to have hay, seeds, and pellets, but, some veggie baby food can’t hurt. It’s his favorite and it should help the first couple days while his gums are most tender.
        How long does it take to grow back in? 4-5 weeks is what I’ve found online, and I know they still have molars, but it’s their incisors they bite with. How long did Widget’s take to grow back?

  2. My prairie dog found a way to climb up my window edge and fell off onto the tile floor now one of her top two teeth is extremely loose, I’ve taken her to the emergency vet already when it first happened and I’m going to take her back now that I’ve notice the tooth. I just want to know if this is going to effect her well being from now on if she loses the tooth. I just want to make sure she won’t get any infection or any sort of pain when eating. I’m very worried.

    • I’m sure she’ll be fine. Though there may be long-term effects due to these kinds of falls (like odontoma), her teeth will likely recover.

      As the post mentions, you may have to feed her with a syringe until you observe that she can eat on her own.

  3. her tooth is now out she only has one up top and two on bottom, do i need to find a 24 hour emergency clinic or will she be fine until 8 am appointment?

  4. Every dental case can vary, I’m also available to all people here for FREE consultation if there is an incisor break because understanding long term impact from these types of issues is key and often you won’t see the consequences of these situations until years later. Each case is a bit different from another and syringe feeding is NOT necessary if they are otherwise eating fine without the intervention. If they get a dental correction/trimming per my protocol/instructions to the vet (*I work with vets worldwide specializing in this species) then may have to syringe if there is sensitivity present. Otherwise, there is no need for intervening other than to go ensure that things are evened out and there is no long term impact to the incisor in question. Thanks for the basic info as always, Dustin! =)
    Dr. Seaberg

    • Hello, this is a while after this convo but if you’re available I need to ask you some questions about my praieie dogs top teeth. She fell and they’re loose and ones slightly longer than the other. I’m worried. Can we talk somehow. Im new to this.

      • This got by me. Sorry for the delay. You probably don’t need any advice now, but grind pellets and sweet potato gerber to make a loose paste and use a baby syringe to feed them. Find a vet that deals with rodents. They can keep the teeth evened-out as they grow back. You’ll be fine as long as they didn’t ended swallowing any fragments (which is likely the case.. that they didn’t). A syringe, in this case, is likely the best way to go until the tooth shows its damage more clearly (falls out or doesn’t).

      • I will tell you what happened with us:
        Our boy lost a tooth right away and the other one days later.
        We fed him veggie baby food because he wouldn’t eat hay or pellets.
        He was actually really mopy and depressed.
        But, in a week or two, his teeth grew back, uneven because they broke at different lengths and fell out separately, and he made them even himself with bel lets and apple wood chew sticks.
        It has been years now, and thank heaven it hasn’t happened again, but, he is just fine.
        Very healthy, happy little bumble.
        I wish you all the best. I know it’s super scary, just know, they are tough little critters and it’ll be ok in the end.

  5. Sure, each case must be dealt with individually and often the intervention above can cause issues if the case isn’t independently assessed for certain variables as you can cause their gi tract to be off for no reason if they are eating and drinking without issue. My suggestion for proper resolution is to setup a time for a consult. You can do that by letting me know at kato@spro.net where you are located to set up a time for free. Often you won’t know if there was an issue from the incident until many years later and again, there is much variability on outcome and they can’t be generalized. Many will leave things alone and incisors do grow back many times but can cause permanent underlying issues if you don’t consider certain aspects of the case when they regrow. Dr. Seaberg

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