I have a 14-year-old Maltese who has really bad teeth. Most of them have fallen apart and she has very few left.

I love my puppy; she is like family. My question is what do I do to help the situation with her teeth. I spoke to a vet and they want to put her under anaesthesia and do some surgeries, but I don't think it's a good idea at the age she is.

As far as food goes, her food is hard--should I only feed her soft food? Should I feed her human food such as chicken? Any advice on where to start with this would be appreciated.

For sure I do not want to put her under anaesthesia for surgery as there is a chance of it not being successful.

2 Answers 2


My (late) dog lived up to 16, and he had teeth removed all the way until he was 13-14. A good vet will warn you of the risks but also not do it if they feel its too dangerous. Rotting teeth can lead to other health issues too. Its also painful, and to quote one of our Vets "Terriers tend to be Stoics", even little Maltese.

I'd put some faith in the vet - and go ahead if they feel confident to go ahead.

As for food -

In his twilight years, we used to put his food in a blender, blitz it up almost to a paste and feed him. Softening up food with water also works, depending on what you feed. If your dog is happy with it, its good. I'd be careful about fatty foods (there's a risk of pancreatitis), but otherwise its worth experimenting with.

  • So what is the solution here ? Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 5:11
  • 1
    Well, I'd recommend tooth removal if the vet feels confident. There are risks in putting an older dog under anaesthesia but its worth considering the long term quality of life
    – Journeyman Geek
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 5:44

Even in healthy, young humans there's always a small risk that general anesthesia and surgery can lead to death. Every human doctor is required to inform you about the risk before you undergo any procedure. The same is true for your dog.

The vet should do a general exam and blood work before any surgery. That is supposed to tell them the current condition and general health of your dog and ultimately how much risk is involved in putting the dog in general anesthesia. If you have concerns, you should talk to your vet about them. But as stated above, the risk of any surgery is always above 0, so I would always expect any vet to be honest and tell you that things could go wrong.

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