The best thing to feed a dog after a tooth extraction is soft, canned dog food. Avoid dry kibble or anything hard that requires chewing. Ideally, the canned food will contain the same meat source as the dry kibble. Make sure your dog drinks plenty of fluid after the tooth extraction.
You just picked up your furry friend from the vet. He was in for a dental procedure, and he is anything but delighted. He just got his tooth extracted. Without that tooth, you ask the vet what the healing process will look like and what he should eat during the healing stage.
After a tooth extraction, the healing process is different for every dog, so it’s tough to give a “clear cut” response to how long it will take to heal. As the dog owner, you don’t have any control over how long it will take your dog to heal. Still, you do have control over what to feed them to keep them healthy and comfortable during this uncomfortable and painful time.
This article will go over everything you need to know about helping your dog through a tooth extraction.
What To Expect Right After a Tooth Extraction
Right after a tooth extraction, your vet will typically prescribe your four-legged friend some pain medication. You must allow your dog to rest in a comfortable, quiet place while the anesthetic wears off.
Your dog will usually fall asleep during this time. It should last a couple of hours. Please note that after your dog gets a tooth extraction, it is normal that they may not have much of an appetite.
This isn’t a huge deal during the first 24 hours, but if it lasts longer than a day, give your vet a call. Your dog needs proper nutrition to heal.
What Should I Not Feed My Dog After a Tooth Extraction?
If your dog has undergone a tooth extraction, you should not feed your dog anything hard. This includes kibble, chews, dental sticks, bones, or hard treats.
This can cause way more harm than good if your dog opens any sutures. The last thing you want to do is make a trip back to the vet because your dog is bleeding.
You will also want to avoid any temperature extremes in food. Your dog’s mouth is going to be sensitive to temperature until the wounds heal. If you usually warm up your dog’s food, you may want to skip that step while they are recovering.
What Can I Feed My Dog After a Tooth Extraction?
The good news is that you have plenty of options. Your dog may even enjoy going from dry kibble to tasty canned food.
Here are the top food choices after oral surgery.
Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food can be found at your local supermarket or pet store. After a tooth extraction, your dog may not be able to eat anything hard like regular kibble.
Canned dog food may be a temporary, easy fix while your dog goes through the healing process.
Note that if your dog is used to dry food, this sudden change of food can cause stomach or digestive problems.
The best way to prevent problems is to stick to the same meat source. For example, if the primary meat source in their dry kibble was chicken, make sure chicken is the main ingredient in the canned food.
If soft, canned dog food does not pique your fancy, you can feed your dog some soft, chunky meat during mealtime.
This can either be chicken or white fish if you choose this meal option. You will want to stick with bland options when introducing these meals into your furry friend’s diet.
They may also experience some digestive trouble if this is a sudden change in food ( (bland options reduce the chances of digestive issues).
If you do not want to undergo any potential digestive issues from new foods, you may want to soften your dog’s kibble.
You can soften the kibble with either water or dog-friendly broth (your dog will prefer the broth).
You will have to make sure that the kibble has softened enough to avoid any hard chunks in the mix. Those hard chunks can potentially hurt your pup during mealtime.
This solution can save you some money and save your dog from any stomach issues.
Although fresh water isn’t food, it’s still essential during the healing process. You will want to encourage your four-legged friend to drink as soon as the medication wears off or wake up from their nap.
Make sure there is fresh water readily available throughout the day. At first, this may be the only thing that your dog will want as they may not have an appetite for food yet.
If your dog has lost their appetite or refuses to eat any food you leave out, you can try giving them some dog-friendly broth. Most dogs LOVE the taste of chicken broth.
This way, you can provide them some nutrients if they are not willing to eat the first day.
Please check the ingredients if you buy any broth from the supermarket. They may contain harmful ingredients such as garlic and onions. If possible, you’ll also want to choose the low sodium option. Dog’s don’t handle excess sodium as well as humans.
You can find dog-friendly broths at most local pet stores. They are usually in the freezer section.
How Often Should I Feed My Dog?
Ideally, you would feed your dog within two hours after surgery. However, not all dogs are going to have an appetite right away.
If your dog won’t eat within 2 hours after the surgery, try to get them to eat within 12 hours. From there, you should try to keep the eating schedule the same as it was before surgery. The only difference is the type of food you’re now feeding your dog.
If you fed your dog both breakfast and dinner, see if you can maintain that twice per day schedule. If you fed your dog once per day, keep that going.
Preventing Malnutrition After Tooth Extraction
Tooth extractions are considered routine procedures for vets. The biggest “risk” associated with them is malnutrition. Here are a few tips to ensure your dog is still meeting their daily nutritional needs post-surgery.
Keep Calories The Same
Humans always talk about how many calories we eat, but we rarely talk about how many calories we feed our dog. In fact, I’ll bet if I were to ask you to tell me how many calories are in a cup of your dog’s food, you wouldn’t know the answer.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. As dog owners, we just need to do a better job at tracking what we put in our dog’s systems.
You should try to keep the calorie intake the same post-surgery as it was pre-surgery. If your dog ate around 800 calories per day of dry kibble before the surgery, try to match that 800 calories with whatever soft food you’re now feeding them.
Keep Fiber The Same
Just like calories, you want to do your best to keep fiber intake the same after surgery. Look at the amount of fiber in your dog’s kibble, see if the soft food matches (or comes close) to that number.
Plenty of Omega 3
Dogs do well on higher-fat diets. Almost all dry kibble has plenty of Omega 3 and Omega 6. Check the new soft food that you’re currently feeding your dog. Does it contain Omega 3?
The First Few Days Are Crucial
After your dog gets their tooth (or teeth) extracted, the first few days are essential. As the owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your dog stays as healthy and comfortable as possible.
Here are four things to be mindful of during the first few days:
You must pay extra attention to your four-legged friend at this time. As we all know, dogs cannot speak to us, so we must pay attention to their body language.
Remember that after a tooth extraction, they may not be the most excited the first two days, but if they show significant changes in behavior, habits, or appetite after 4 days, we highly suggest speaking to your personal vet about their behavior.
While your dog is going through the healing process, it is important to check on your dog’s tooth extraction.
You should be checking for any damage, redness, heavy bleeding, or swelling. After the 5th day, any common side effects from surgery should have subsided.
The healing time can vary from dog to dog, your vet should give you a timeline of what to expect during this process. Just make sure you keep this area clean and controlled.
Like dry kibble, owners should avoid giving their dog any toys that may disrupt the healing process.
This includes hard rubber toys and toys with rough texture. Depending on your dog’s play habits, I have given my puppy sponges and soft non-textured stuffed animals. These were able to keep him busy while his wound healed.
To avoid another tooth extraction, you must view your furry friend’s oral health as a priority.
There are many dental chews you can give them to clean plaque and any buildup on their teeth.
There are also dog-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste that you can use on your dog to clean that plaque.
You’ll also find that some dog-friendly mouthwashes and rinses will prevent bacteria buildup.
Like humans, some vets or doggy groomers can provide your dog with professional teeth cleaning services. This can be a yearly or bi-yearly routine to keep up with your dog’s oral hygiene.
Nutrition is Critical
Getting proper nutrition is one of the most important when going through the healing process. As you can see, there are plenty of food options for your dog after a tooth extraction.
If you have any questions or if your four-legged friend is experiencing any unusual complications during treatment, we would recommend getting in touch with your personal vet.
They will be able to provide you and Fido with the most efficient treatment option. We hope Fido makes a speedy recovery after his dental surgery!
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.