Is it normal for a Shih Tzu to have an underbite? Should you bring home a puppy or adopt from a shelter a pup with an underbite? Here are the answers that other dog owners found to be helpful..
Do Shih Tzu Have An Underbite?
At the end of the day, you may see a lot more Shih Tzus with an underbite than you would any other breed. But not all Shih Tzu’s have underbites and not always is it a problem! Keep an eye on your dog to ensure that they are living a happy and comfortable life.
Is It Common & Normal For Shih Tzu To Have An Underbite?
For the Shih Tzu, among other smaller or purebred dog breeds, it is fairly common for them to have an underbite. This is a normal occurrence. As long as they can comfortably chew their food there is nothing to be conceded about.
Is It Bad For A Dog To Have An Underbite?
It is not considered a “bad thing” for a dog to have an underbite. Over time, however, the underbite may get worse and this is when the underbite can cause problems.
What Problems Can An Underbite Cause?
An underbite can worsen overtime. As their teeth become larger with age, it can be damaging to soft parts of their mouths. This will cause problems such as:
- Chewing/eating difficulties
- Bad Breath
- Tooth Decay
- Nasal Diseases
What Is An Underbite [Canine Malocclusion]?
A Canine Malocclusion, or an underbite, simply put, is when a dog’s teeth don’t fit properly together. It happens when the upper jaw is abnormally shorter than the lower jaw.
What Is An Overbite?
An overbite, opposite of an underbite, is when the lower jaw is abnormally shorter than the upper jaw.
Causes Of Underbite
It is important to understand the causes of an underbite so we can spot the issues before they cause problems. Causes include:
- Genetics/Breeding Factors (the biggest cause)
- Skeletal Issues
- Trauma to the jaw or mouth at a young age
Is It Safe To Buy A Shih Tzu Puppy With An Underbite?
It is safe to buy a Shih Tzu puppy with an underbite. However, you do need to understand that later on in the dog’s lifetime, the underbite does have the potential of causing medical problems. This can be costly.
What To Think About Before Buying A Puppy With An Underbite?
Before purchasing a puppy with an underbite, remember to think about the future with that dog.
Underbites are commonly known to worsen over time, so this can mean more medical expenses for you or a shorter lifetime of the dog. If you are not ready to take on medical problems, emotionally or financially, then perhaps having a dog with an underbite is not the dog for you.
How To Tell If Your Shih Tzu Puppy Will Have An Underbite?
Uneven jaw growth can start showing at as young as 8 weeks old. You will be able to see the lower jaw protruding out along with misaligned teeth.
Another good indicator that a Shih Tzu puppy will have an underbite, is if the dogs parents also had underbites.
Do Puppy Underbites Get Worse?
It is not unlikely for a puppies underbite to get worse over time. In fact, it is very common. In extremely rare cases the underbite can correct itself, however, this is very rare and it will more than likely get worse.
Does An Underbite In A Shih Tzu Dog Cause Health Or Dental Issues?
Not always, but more than likely, will an underbite cause health and dental issues in a Shih Tzu. This will happen as they age. Look for signs of pain or trouble eating. No problems may happen at all!
Old Shih Tzu Has An Underbite?
It is normal for a Shih Tzu to develop an underbite as they age. It isn’t a problem unless you notice any pain or eating problems.
Do Shih Tzu Mixed Breeds Like Maltese/Bichon Shih Tzu Have An Underbite?
It is less likely that a Shih Tzu mixed breed will have an underbite. Although, it is still a possibility and based upon the genetic makeup of the dog.
Will An Underbite Correct Itself?
In extremely rare cases will an underbite correct itself. And it will only happen at a young age while the jaw is still developing. Once they reach their teen years and the bones are set, an underbite can not be corrected on its own.
Can You Fix Shih Tzu Underbite?
A Shih Tzu’s underbite is sometimes fixable, but also costly. Fortunately, the underbite doesn’t need to be fixed unless it’s causing major health problems.
How Can You Fix A Puppy’s Underbite?
There are a few options to look at when seeking to correct an underbite in puppies. Ways to consider fixing an underbite are:
- Braces- Yes! Dogs can get braces too. However, there are many factors involved to see if dogs are able to have braces, age, health and position of teeth are considered
- Tooth Alignment – Forced movement of the secondary teeth to correct their position
- Tooth extractions – Extracting back teeth to make room for teeth below
- Crown Modification – Shortening or modifying crowns to prevent any trauma
- Surgery– Surgery of the jaw
How Do You Fix A Mild Underbite?
Generally, you do not need to fix a mild underbite. A mild underbite, in any case, would just be a cosmetic issue and it would not be worth it to put the dog under anesthesia for a tooth extraction.
What Can I Do If My Dog Has An Underbite?
Does your dog have an underbite? It is good to keep a watchful eye on the issue.
- Have regular vet appointments
- Watch for any problems with chewing or barking
- Notice for any pain (scratching at the jaw, shaking its head)
- In major cases, consider things like surgery or a tooth extraction, even braces
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Dog’s Underbite?
Depending on the rounds of anesthesia it takes, to fix an underbite can cost anywhere from $500-$4000. While a simple tooth extraction will cost anywhere from $500-$800. Something like dog braces will cost between $1500-$4000. Again, it usually depends on the amount of anesthesia needed. Always think about if it is worth it before doing anything extreme.
Which Dog Breeds Most Commonly Have Underbites?
The dog breeds that most commonly have underbites are Shih Tzus, Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs.
What Is Considered A Severe Underbite?
A severe underbite is when the lower jaw is shifted so far forward that the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. A severe underbite will commonly cause medical problems and pain.
Are There Shih Tzus Without Underbite?
Yes! Of course there are many Shih Tzus that do not have an underbite. It all depends on the genetic makeup of the dog and the breeding that went on.
Do Some Shih Tzus Have An Overbite?
Some Shih Tzu’s will have an underbite. You will be able to notice it at 8 weeks if you are getting a puppy. It will all depend on the genetics of the dogs.
What Are The Best Foods For Dogs With Underbites?
In mild cases of underbites, you can feed your dog normal hard kibbles. For smaller breeds be sure to get food that is a smaller size. In more severe cases of underbites, and as the dog gets older, it may be wise to get softer dog food, smaller kibbles, wet food or add water to food that is too hard.
What Are The Best Toys For Dogs With Underbites?
Try different toys out to see which ones your dog enjoys most! Stay away from harder bones and sticks. Plush toys, and chewy toys are probably a safer option.