Why Are My Dog’s Teeth Brown?

Are your dog’s teeth looking a little browner than usual? Is there anything you can do about it?  This blog will explain some of the common reasons why your dog’s teeth might be brown and what steps you can take to help. This condition, which can be caused by various factors, is highly treatable, and you can learn more by reading on! For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Mills Animal Hospital in Acworth, GA, at (770) 903-5995.

Common Causes of Brown Teeth in Dogs

Several things can contribute to brown teeth in dogs. Understanding these causes can help you take the right steps to improve your dog’s dental health.

Dental Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Plaque is a sticky film that forms on teeth when bacteria in the mouth mix with food particles and saliva. If plaque isn’t removed through regular brushing, it hardens into tartar. Tartar is a yellow or brown deposit that can cause your dog’s teeth to look discolored. Buildup of this material can lead to more serious dental problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay. Routine dental cleanings can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup, so if you notice brown spots on your dog’s teeth, consider scheduling a dental checkup.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums and tissues that support the teeth. It is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar above and below the gumline. Gum disease can cause your dog’s gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. It can also lead to brown or yellow teeth as the disease progresses. Signs of gum disease to look out for include bad breath, loose teeth, and difficulty eating.

Tooth Decay and Cavities

Tooth decay occurs when the enamel, or outer layer of the tooth, is damaged by acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. This can lead to cavities, which are holes in the teeth. Cavities can cause your dog’s teeth to become brown or black if left untreated. Tooth decay can be painful and may cause your dog to avoid eating or chewing on one side of their mouth.

Diet and Chewing Habits

What your dog eats can have a significant impact on their dental health. Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates can contribute to plaque and tartar buildup. Additionally, chewing on hard objects like bones, antlers, or rocks can wear down the enamel and lead to brown teeth. Providing your dog with a balanced diet and dental-friendly chews can help keep their teeth clean and healthy. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on the best diet and chews for your dog.

Age and Genetics

As dogs age, their teeth may naturally become discolored. Older dogs are more likely to have plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease, and other dental problems that can cause their teeth to turn brown.

Some breeds are also more prone to dental problems due to their genetics. Small dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, are more likely to have crowded teeth and are at a higher risk for plaque and tartar buildup.

Preventing Brown Teeth in Dogs

While some factors, like age and genetics, are beyond your control, there are steps you can take to help prevent brown teeth in your dog. Here are some tips!

Regular Brushing

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is one of the best ways to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs. Aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least a few times a week, if not daily.

If you’re not sure how to brush your dog’s teeth, your veterinarian can show you the proper technique.

Professional Dental Cleanings

Even with regular brushing, some plaque and tartar may still build up on your dog’s teeth. Professional dental cleanings are important for removing this buildup and preventing dental problems. During a cleaning, your veterinarian will remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth and check for any signs of dental disease.

It’s recommended to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year. Contact Mills Animal Hospital to schedule a dental cleaning so we can restore your pet’s pearly whites.

Dental Chews and Toys

Dental chews and toys can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup (but they are not substitutes for teeth cleaning). Look for products that are designed to promote dental health and have been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). Along with providing dental chews, make sure your dog has access to safe and appropriate toys for chewing. Avoid giving your dog hard objects that could damage their teeth.

Common Signs of Dental Problems

Detecting and treating emerging dental problems early can prevent them from escalating and causing more problems for your pet.  Here are some signs to look for:

Bad Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, is often one of the first signs your dog has a dental issue. It can be caused by plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease, or tooth decay. If your dog’s breath smells particularly foul, it’s a good idea to have their teeth checked by our team.

Changes in Eating Habits

If your dog is experiencing dental pain, they may be reluctant to eat or may chew on one side of their mouth. They might also drop food or show a preference for softer foods. Any changes in your dog’s eating habits should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Excessive Drooling

Excessive drooling can be a sign of dental problems, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms like bad breath or changes in eating habits. Drooling can be caused by pain or discomfort in the mouth.

Swollen or Bleeding Gums

Healthy gums should be pink and firm. Swollen or bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease or other dental issues. If you notice any changes in your dog’s gums, it’s important to have them examined as soon as possible.

Treatment Options for Brown Teeth

If your dog’s teeth are already brown, there are treatment options available to help improve their dental health. Your veterinarian at Mills Animal Hospital can recommend the best course of action based on the specific cause of the discoloration.

Dental Cleanings

Professional dental cleanings are an effective way to remove plaque and tartar buildup and improve the appearance of your dog’s teeth. During a cleaning, your veterinarian will also check for any signs of dental disease and provide any additional treatment as needed.

Dental Extractions

In some cases, a tooth may be so  severely decayed or infected that it needs to be extracted. Removing the affected tooth can help relieve pain and prevent further complications for your pet.


If your dog has an infection or inflammation in their mouth, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications to help treat the condition. These medications can help reduce pain and promote healing.

Brown teeth in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease, tooth decay, diet, age, and genetics. By understanding these causes and taking steps to maintain your pet’s oral hygiene, you can help keep their teeth clean and healthy.

If you have any concerns about maintaining your pet’s teeth and gums or if you notice that their teeth are turning brown, contact Mills Animal Hospital in Acworth, GA, at (770) 903-5995 to schedule an appointment.