What to do If your Dog Won’t Eat After Dental Surgery

Always follow your veterinarians advice about feeding after your dog has had dental surgery. If your dog won't eat immediately after his dental surgery it's not really something to be concerned about. Dental surgery for dogs is basically a very aggressive version of a human teeth cleaning combined with the side-effects of anesthesia (often, nausea).

When should you be concerned?

A 24-36 hour fast won't hurt your dog, but if your dog goes more than a day without food they may be experiencing pain chewing and you may need to help them begin eating by feeding something other than crunchy kibble. To get your dog to eat after dental surgery you can either soak his food in warm water or low sodium broth for 10-15 minutes to make a warm mush that doesn't need much chewing, or water down canned dog food with water or low sodium broth to make a slurry. As your dog heals you can soak the dog food for less and less time until your dog is weaned back onto solid dog food again. If your dog won't eat after surgery and continues this behavior you absolutely need to contact your vet, as there could have been additional trauma to his teeth or jaw during the cleaning that's causing him not to eat.

Is this Necessary?

Despite what you may have been told, annual dental cleanings are not standard for dogs. Many holistic veterinarians argue that cleaning teeth annually can actually have more negative effects than positive! Anesthesia is difficult for a dog's system and there is nothing done during this expensive procedure that cannot be accomplished with changes to the way you feed or treat your dog.

Tips to Help Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean Without Surgery

  • *Only feed soft food as a special treat! Dry crunchy kibble plays a vital role in scraping plaque off teeth.
  • *Instead of rawhide, treat your dog to RAW bones. All cooked bones are dangerous, but dogs were designed to crunch, gnaw down, and digest raw bones. Thick marrow bones are the best for keeping your pet's teeth clean. - Ask the butcher at any good grocery store for marrow bones. (Sometimes called femur bones or raw soup bones. Not only are they a healthy treat, but they are significantly less expensive than processed dog treats) Antler chews are alos a great choice for natural teeth cleaning and health.  Natually odor free and filled with calcium.
  • *Use a canine tooth brush and specifically made dog toothpaste to burst your dog's teeth once a week.


  • *Use dental toys as treats. We recommend the dental kong, Unlike a regular kong, the dental kong has deep grooves you can fill with a treat or even canine toothpaste. The toy itself will clean the dog's gums and you can save the hassle of tooth brushing.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs suffer from periodontal disease by the age of two. Help your dog ward off bad breath, gum disease, multiple infections, and heart disease by consistently brushing your dog's teeth or using a tooth cleaning toy. 

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