Are your dog’s teeth yellow? These medicines and foods can cause it!

Ferenczi Deborah

2023. September 10 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Teeth discoloration is a relatively common phenomenon in dogs. It can be caused by certain foods, maybe medications or even an infection. These teeth must be treated, as the accumulation of tartar or plaque can lead to serious periodontal diseases.


Any deviation or discoloration from the normal tooth color is never a good thing. The normal color of the teeth varies depending on the shade, thickness and translucency of the enamel covering the tooth. External discoloration occurs when pigment accumulates on the surface of the teeth. This means that the cause of the discoloration is an external source, which can be caused by most medications, possibly bacterial stains, systemic infections, or even food. Internal discoloration is characterized by secondary factors, which tend to occur inside the tooth and discolor the other layers as well. If the teeth of the dog is yellow, please, visit the vet!

Symptoms and types of the yellow dog teeth

The common symptoms associated with both types of discoloration are the following: one or more teeth are abnormally discolored and sometimes even broken. Enamel becomes pitted or rings and lines of discoloration develop on it. This is caused by bacterial stains, food, a significant percentage of medications, and lack of brushing.

The following factors can cause external discoloration of the tooth:

  • bacterial stains, plaque
  • certain food
  • bleeding gum
  • dental restorative materials
  • drugs
  • metal

And these are the signs for the internal discolouration:

  • trauma, injury
  • local red blood cell destruction in the tooth
  • systemic infections
  • medicines (such as tetracycline)
  • too much fluoride (for example, swallowing toothpaste containing fluoride)
  • high levels of bilirubin in the blood
  • amelogenesis imperfecta (a condition where the tooth enamel does not calcify enough)
  • dentinogenesis imperfecta (the dentin does not develop properly)


At the doctor’s office, a complete blood test and urinalysis are performed. You must provide thorough information about your pet’s health, the appearance of symptoms and possible causes. Examples include diet, injuries, and recent illnesses. The vet will x-ray your dog’s teeth to determine whether the yellowing is internal or external. It also monitors whether restorative materials or bacteria get into the crown of the tooth and cause more serious damage there. If the tooth needs to be removed, or a more thorough examination or tartar removal is required, the veterinarian will probably put the animal under anesthesia.

Yellow dog teeth caused by tartar buildup.

Treatment and prevention

External stains can be removed for cosmetic reasons, but they do not cause a serious problem. Few people know, but in addition to the removal of tartar, certain surgeries can also require dogs for procedures such as whitening or placing a crown. Removal of internal stains can be done to improve the function of the teeth and relieve the dog of pain. This often involves root canal treatment. All discolored teeth should be treated to prevent plaque and tartar build-up and further periodontal disease.

Discolored teeth are more prone to fracture, which can lead to tooth abscess formation. Discoloration of the teeth can be prevented with proper attention, but the key to this is regular and thorough oral hygiene, as this is the only way to prevent the yellowing of teeth and diseases.

These foods are not recommended

Sugary foods should be avoided, as plaque formation in the mouth increases while eating them. Rice- and potato-based foods can also be harmful: highly starchy foods tend to stick to a dog’s teeth, which can lead to the accumulation of harmful tartar. When buying dog food, avoid products full of starch and sugar! In addition, it is worth paying attention to the fact that the composition of the saliva changes with dry food, so the formation of tartar may be more frequent.

broken tooth dental care dog teeth dog with yellow teeth Health tooth disease

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