February 28, 2024
Shah tzu Care

Is Your Shih Tzu Underbite Normal? Here’s What Experts Say

Is Your Shih Tzu Underbite Normal?

If you own a Shih Tzu, you may have noticed that they have a unique dental feature – an underbite. While it may give your furry friend a cute and distinctive appearance, you may wonder if it is normal or something to be concerned about. In this article, we will explore the topic of Shih Tzu underbites and what experts have to say about them.

What is an underbite?

An underbite is a dental condition where the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw, causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth. This can result in the Shih Tzu’s lower teeth being more visible than the upper teeth when their mouth is closed.

Should you be concerned about your Shih Tzu underbite?

In most cases, there is no need to be concerned about your Shih Tzu underbite. It is a natural feature of the breed and does not typically cause any health issues or discomfort for the dog. However, it is always a good idea to monitor your dog’s dental health and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Can underbites cause any problems for Shih Tzu?

While underbites are generally not a cause for concern, they can sometimes lead to dental issues. The misalignment of the teeth can make it more difficult for the dog to chew their food properly, which may result in dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease. Regular dental care, including brushing your Shih Tzu teeth and providing appropriate chew toys, can help prevent these issues.

What should you do if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu underbite?

If you have any concerns about your Shih Tzu underbite, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian. They can examine your dog’s mouth and teeth and provide guidance based on their professional expertise. They may also recommend dental cleanings or other treatments if necessary.

Causes of an Underbite in Shih Tzus:

There are several potential causes of an underbite in Shih Tzus. One common cause is a misalignment of the teeth, which can occur due to issues with the jaw or teeth. Another potential cause is genetics, as some dogs are more prone to developing an underbite than others. Poor nutrition can also lead to an underbite, as certain deficiencies can cause the teeth to grow abnormally. Trauma to the face or jaw can also cause an underbite, so this could be a factor if your dog has had any recent accidents.

How to Tell if Your Shih Tzu Has an Underbite:

Generally, the bottom teeth should not protrude past the top teeth. If they do, your Shih Tzu has an underbite. This can be caused by a number of things, including genetics, bad canine alignment, or an injury.

If you’re concerned that your Shih Tzu underbite is abnormal, take them to a vet or dog dentist. Treatment options will be recommended and the diagnosis will be confirmed.

Can an Underbite Be Bad for Shih Tzus?

An underbite can be bad for Shih Tzus as it causes difficulties with eating and increases the risk of dental disease. If left untreated, an underbite can cause chronic pain or difficulty chewing, leading to malnutrition or weight loss. Additionally, the soft tissues in their mouth may be injured due to the misalignment of their teeth, which can lead to infections or other health issues. Therefore, if your Shih Tzu has an underbite, it is important to closely monitor your dental health and speak to your veterinarian if you have any concerns. Early intervention and treatment can help to prevent any potential issues and ensure your dog has a healthy, happy life.

Is underbite a genetic condition in Shih Tzu?

Yes, an underbite is a genetic condition in Shih Tzu. Shih Tzus are known for having a brachycephalic (flat-faced) structure that can lead to dental issues such as an underbite or an overshot bite. An underbite is when the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw, causing the teeth to misalign. This condition is also called an undershot bite. It is possible for Shih Tzus with an underbite to have no problems, but it may interfere with their eating ability or harm their soft tissues. While orthodontic treatment can help correct this issue, it’s important to note that underbites can be inherited from their parents, and breeders should avoid breeding dogs with this condition to prevent passing it onto their offspring.

Can a Shih Tzu Underbite Be Fixed?

Most of the time, an underbite in a Shih Tzu does not need to be fixed. However, orthodontic treatment may be recommended if it is causing problems with eating or injuring the soft tissues in the mouth. Getting braces is one of the most effective ways to fix a mild underbite. This treatment option involves moving the teeth into a different position and aligning the upper and lower jaws. An oral surgeon may perform an underbite correction surgery for severe underbite or overcrowding. In addition, puppies with underbites can also undergo orthodontic treatment or have teeth extracted and filled depending on the type of malocclusion and their age and health status. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian or canine orthodontist to determine the best course of action for your Shih Tzu’s underbite.

What to do if your Shih Tzu has an underbite?

If your Shih Tzu has an underbite, there are a few things you can do to prevent any potential issues. Firstly, removing any food particles from the teeth and gums after eating is important. It would help if you also aimed to brush the dog’s teeth daily, as an underbite can make it difficult to clean their teeth properly. It is also important to monitor their eating habits and ensure they can eat comfortably. Suppose you notice any issues, such as difficulty chewing or injury to the soft tissues in the mouth. In that case, it is important to consult with your veterinarian, who may recommend orthodontic treatment or other possible treatments, such as teeth removal or oral surgery. However, these treatments are costly and should only be considered if prescribed by a vet.

Treatments for a Shih Tzu Underbite

While an underbite is considered a cosmetic issue, it can also lead to health problems for your Shih Tzu. If the teeth cannot properly align, it can cause difficulty eating and drinking and lead to gum disease.

A few different treatment options are available for Shih Tzus with an underbite. The first option is to have the teeth surgically corrected. This is a major surgery that can be very expensive, and there is no guarantee of success.

The second option is to use braces or other dental devices to try and correct the alignment of the teeth. This option is less invasive than surgery but can be just as expensive. It is also not guaranteed to be successful.

The third option is to do nothing and accept that your Shih Tzu has an underbite. While there may be more aesthetically pleasing options, it is often the most practical and cost-effective choice.

Common Health Problems Associated with an Underbite in Shih Tzus

A few different health problems can be associated with an underbite in Shih Tzus. One of the most common is malocclusion when the teeth don’t line up properly. This can cause your dog a lot of pain and discomfort and lead to other problems like difficulty eating or drinking.

Patellar luxation is another common health problem associated with an underbite in Shih Tzus. This is when the kneecap becomes dislocated and can be extremely painful for your dog. It’s important to seek veterinary care immediately if you think your dog may have patellar luxation.

Another health problem that can be associated with an underbite in Shih Tzus is respiratory problems. Because the lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw, it can restrict the airflow through the nose and mouth. This can make breathing difficult for your dog and lead to respiratory infections or other issues.

What is the cost of fixing an underbite in a dog?

The cost to fix a dog’s underbite can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment method. Braces for dogs, for instance, can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the dog’s size and the treatment duration. Underbite correction surgery, which may be necessary for severe cases, can cost up to $4,000 or more. It’s important to keep in mind that the cost of orthodontic treatment for a dog can also include rounds of anesthesia, follow-up appointments, and other related expenses. In addition, pet insurance may cover some or all of the cost of treatment, making it more affordable for owners. It’s recommended to consult a veterinarian or veterinary dentist to get an accurate estimate of the cost of fixing a dog’s underbite and determine the most appropriate treatment option for your furry friend.


An underbite is a common and normal feature of Shih Tzus. While it may give them a unique appearance, it is typically not a cause for concern. However, it is important to monitor your dog’s dental health and seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns. With proper care and attention, your Shih Tzu can lead a happy and healthy life, underbite and all!

FAQ’s Abut Shih Tzu underbite :

  1. What causes underbite in Shih Tzu?

    Underbite in Shih Tzu is often caused by genetics, as this breed is prone to having a brachycephalic skull structure. This means their upper jaw is shorter than their lower jaw, making them more susceptible to dental issues. An underbite can also be caused by abnormal bone or soft tissue growth during puppyhood. This can occur when a pup’s baby teeth have fallen out, and a new set develops at an angle, usually around the 10-month marker. Other factors that may contribute to the development of an underbite are related to childhood behaviors such as chewing on inappropriate objects or aggressive tug-of-war games. It’s important for breeders to carefully select parents without any underbite to prevent passing on this condition to their offspring.

  2. Is it bad if my dog has an underbite?

    Having an underbite in dogs is not necessarily bad as long as it doesn’t cause discomfort or health issues. However, if the underbite is severe, it may interfere with the dog’s ability to eat normally or cause injuries to the soft tissues in its mouth. In some cases, a severe underbite can also lead to dental problems such as periodontal disease due to misaligned teeth. It’s important for owners to regularly check their dog’s teeth and gums for signs of redness, swelling, or bleeding, as these are common symptoms of dental issues. If your dog has an underbite and you’re worried about its dental health, consult a veterinarian or veterinary dentist to determine the best course of action. Regular dental check-ups and cleaning can help prevent serious oral health issues and ensure your furry friend remains healthy and happy.

  3. Can a puppy grow out of an underbite?

    Yes, some puppies can grow out of an underbite. As a puppy grows, their face and jaw will develop and take form, which can sometimes cause the underbite to improve or go away completely. This is more common in mild cases of underbite and may depend on the breed of the dog as well. However, it’s important to note that not all puppies will grow out of an underbite; in some cases, it may worsen over time. Additionally, if the underbite is caused by genetics, it’s unlikely that the dog will grow out of it without intervention such as braces or surgery. Suppose you notice an underbite in your puppy. In that case, it’s best to consult a veterinarian or veterinary dentist to determine the best course of action and monitor their oral health as they grow.

  4. Do all small dogs have an underbite?

    No, not all small dogs have an underbite. While some small dog breeds, such as Shih Tzus, Pugs, and Bulldogs, are more prone to having an underbite due to their brachycephalic skull structure, other small dog breeds do not have this trait. Breeds such as Chihuahuas, Papillons, and Italian Greyhounds typically have a scissor or a level bite, where the upper and lower teeth meet evenly. Additionally, the dog’s size does not necessarily determine whether it will have an underbite. Underbites can also occur in medium to large-sized breeds due to genetics or other factors. It’s important for owners to regularly check their dog’s teeth and gums for any signs of dental issues regardless of breed or size and to seek veterinary care if necessary.

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