Puppy teeth are tiny... and surprisingly sharp! These are things that new owners find out pretty quickly.
But most puppy parents have other questions.... and the answers to those questions are right here.
Your little guy will grow his puppy teeth without your help - and he'll lose them and grow his adult teeth in pretty much the same way.
But during the teething process he will feel better if you know what to do about loose teeth and sore gums.
Plus, once he has a full set of shiny, new 'choppers', you'll want access to the tips and information that will help you keep his mouth stays clean and healthy - so that he won't have to suffer the pain of tooth decay or gum disease.
So, let's get started and get you the answers you're looking for.
I often get asked about the age at which puppy's begin to get those little pearly-whites... and how old they are when they start to exchange those baby teeth for adult ones - so here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Newborn puppies are born with their tiny teeth buried below the gums, but within 2 - 3 weeks those needle-sharp points begin to push their way upwards and break through the gum line.
The first ones to appear are the 'Incisors' (which are the tiny ones right at the front of his mouth), there are 12 of these, 6 in the top jaw and 6 in the bottom.
Next are the 4 'Canines' (these are the long 'fangs'), there are 2 in the top and 2 in the bottom. These come through at about 4 weeks old.
Finally, the 12 Pre-molars which are the big 'double' teeth in the back of his mouth. There are 3 top and 3 bottom on each side of his jaw. These are usually all in place by 8 weeks of age.
This makes a total of 28 'baby teeth' (aka 'milk' or 'deciduous' teeth), the image on the right shows how all of this looks and will help you identify your puppy's teeth properly.
Although these teeth are very small, they're also very SHARP... and puppy nipping hurts!
It's important to make sure that you work to discourage your pup from biting or mouthing on people, because it does hurt right now - but when he gets his adult teeth in it's going to hurt even more and be much harder to stop as it will already have become a habit.
Do puppy teeth fall out? The simple answer to this is YES they do, and losing them usually happens in a specific order, and at a similar time, in most puppies.
The big breeds do develop at a different rate from the smaller ones and there can be a fair amount of variation between puppies in terms of exactly when teething begins, and ends.
This isn't just isolated to breed-specific differences either, every puppy is unique and no two will grow and mature at exactly the same rate.
This time-frame below is a guideline only and fits an 'average' puppy, your little pup may be faster, or slower, one is not better than the other!
He will eventually have his 'grown up' teeth and there's no need to try to hurry it along.
3 to 4 Months: The Incisors are the first to come loose and begin to fall out, being replaced by the adult teeth as they do so.
4 - 5 Months: The Premolars and the Canines will usually start to push out the baby teeth during this time. The Canines may show up first, but usually these upper 'fangs' are the very last teeth to grow in fully.
6 -7 Months: All the permanent teeth should be in place by this age, but occasionally it can take a little longer.
Adult dogs usually have 42 adult (or permanent) teeth.
Sometimes the incoming adult teeth aren't successful in totally dislodging the baby ones who are already in place.
When this happens there may be a period of days, or even weeks, when your pup has a double 'set' or a double 'row' in some places. This is actually pretty normal and not something to worry about too much.
For most pups this is a short-lived situation and the loose puppy teeth fall out all by themselves. But occasionally they refuse to budge, and if your pup has had all of his permanent teeth in place for a month or more and yet still has some deciduous ones hanging on, then it's a good idea to discuss it with your vet.
Your puppy's mouth wasn't designed to hold two sets of teeth at the same time and obviously it gets a bit crowded in there if the baby ones don't fall out. This can cause discomfort or even pain, and stuff (food, sticks and all the random stuff your pup so enjoys chewing on!) can get stuck in them much more easily.
There's also the higher risk of tooth decay or gum disease because when your dog's teeth are too close together not only do food particles get trapped there, they're also much more difficult to keep clean.
Removing these retained puppy teeth isn't a difficult procedure and your vet will be happy to explain it all to you if you ask :)
If you're the parent of a baby or child who is past that teething stage, you'll have some idea of what you're facing when your pup starts to go through that whole process.
If you don't have kids then you might be in for some surprises :)
While your little one is busy losing his baby teeth and growing in those big, beautiful adult ones, his behavior may go through some changes.
Knowing what to expect, and how to help him, will make this phase easier on everyone.
You can find all the information you need by visiting my 'All About Puppy Teething' page.
Good puppy dental care means helping your little one's shiny new adult teeth stay clean, white and strong.
There are all sorts of products available these days that will help you keep your puppy's mouth a healthy and happy place :)
This includes dog toothpastes and toothbrushes, mouthwashes or sprays, food supplements, and treats designed to keep tartar at bay and/or freshen breath... and more.
There are lots of great puppy toys designed for the teething stage.
These not only keep your pup's teeth focused on his own possessions, but are also designed to help keep teeth, gums and jaws strong and healthy.
Feeding a dry puppy kibble is better for your puppy's teeth than soft canned food, but it won't prevent tartar build-up or tooth decay.
A raw food diet complete with natural bones is even better for dental health, but this isn't recommended for puppies due to their unique nutritional needs.
If you have a mature dog, then feeding him raw dog food can be a great way to keep him healthy all over as well as keep his dental work in tip-top shape.
I'd personally recommend a premium dry puppy food diet, regular tooth-brushing, and a range of toys/treats that help to keep his teeth clean.
Also, have your vet check your pup's mouth at regular check-ups to make sure all is well.
Dog Dental Care
All About Puppy Teeth