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Puppy Teeth Information & Help

On this page you'll find  puppy teeth information which answers the most common questions new owners ask.

Includes a section written by Dr. Megan Teiber, DVM with info. and tips on puppy teeth from a veterinarians' perspective.

Puppy teeth information

Does one of these fit the bill?

Puppies grow their first teeth without your help - and then they lose them and grow adult teeth in pretty much the same way.

However, during the teething process you'll both feel better if you have the right puppy teeth information to hand, and 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 clean and healthy.

Preventing your pup from suffering the pain of tooth decay or gum disease later on.

Puppy Teeth Information & FAQ's

I often get asked about the age at which puppy's begin to get their first teeth... and how old they are when they start to exchange those tiny pearly-whites for adult ones.

So here are some answers to the most common puppy teeth timeline questions:

When will my puppy have teeth?

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.

Puppy teeth infographic

The first ones to appear are the 'Incisors' (which are the tiny ones right at the front of his mouth), there are twelve of these, six in the top jaw and six in the bottom.

Next are the four 'Canines' (these are the long 'fangs'), there are two in the top and two in the bottom. These come through at about 4 weeks old.

Finally, the twelve Pre-molars which are the big 'double' teeth in the back of his mouth. There are three top and three 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!

When will my puppy lose his teeth?

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.

German Shepherd puppy teeth

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 puppy teeth information timeline below is only a guide 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.

Why does my puppy have a 'double set' of 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' of teeth in some places.

Veterinarian checking puppy teeth

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.

Puppy Teeth - A Veterinarians' View

Your new pup may only have baby teeth for a short period of time, but there are several important things about puppy teeth that pet owners should know. 

Puppies usually start getting their deciduous (baby) teeth at just a couple weeks of age.  These 28 puppy teeth are gradually replaced by  42 adult teeth at 3-7 months of age. 

When you first get a new puppy, your vet will conduct a full oral exam.  Even though puppy teeth aren’t around for very long, any abnormalities may affect his adult dentition and overall oral health. 

We want to make sure that all teeth are present.  If a tooth is missing, dental x-rays are recommended to make sure it is not unerupted and imbedded in the jaw bone.  This can contribute to painful cysts and infections, and prevent the adult tooth from emerging.

Your vet will also check for orthodontic abnormalities.  Canine teeth have a very specific alignment to allow the top and bottom teeth to interlock appropriately. If your puppy’s bite is abnormal he can develop jaw problems, chewing difficulties, trauma to the gums or palate, and overly worn or fractured teeth.  

During the teething process, your puppy may want to chew a lot, but overall you may not notice a huge difference in behavior. Most of the time, we don’t even realize when they have lost a tooth.  The baby teeth are quite small, so they frequently get lost or even swallowed.  You may notice a very small amount of blood on chew toys. The gums may appear slightly red as new teeth come in.  

Around 6-7 months of age, we check for retained deciduous teeth. The baby tooth should fall out before the adult tooth comes in.  If the deciduous and adult tooth are occupying the same space, the deciduous tooth is considered retained. This is a common problem, especially in small breed dogs.  The canine teeth are the most frequently retained teeth.

If I notice retained baby teeth, I will usually give them a month or so to come out on their own.  If they dont, I recommend they be extracted.  If left in place they will result in crowding, plaque and tartar buildup.  They may even cause displacement of the adult tooth as it fully emerges.

Any tooth extraction requires general anesthesia.  Since many puppies are being spayed or neutered around this age, I often recommend that any retained deciduous teeth be removed at the time of surgery.  This way, your puppy doesn’t need to be put under anesthesia twice.  

Home care is important to prevent periodontal disease as your dog ages. 

Daily brushing of the teeth can prevent plaque, which is a bacterial film that forms on teeth. Plaque eventually leads to tartar and calculus buildup, bad breath, gingivitis, and infection. 

I don’t typically recommend brushing the baby teeth. Because your puppy is teething, the teeth may be tender and your dog will associate brushing as an unpleasant experience.  However, you can condition your pup to get him used to his mouth being handled. 

Lift his lip up, gently touch the teeth and gums, and then provide a nice reward.  This can make it easier for you to brush later on.  It may even help you give your dog oral medications in the future and help your vet perform oral exams!

Many new pet owners inquire about appropriate chew toys for puppies.  While chewing can provide a helpful distraction for dogs, it is important to choose safe products.  If your puppy can destroy or swallow a chew toy, he is at risk for stomach upset or gastrointestinal obstruction.  However, if a product is too hard, he is at increased risk for fractured teeth.  Even though deciduous teeth fall out anyway, fractured puppy teeth should be removed surgically by your vet.  If left in place, they can cause pain or infection.  The tooth root may be retained in the jaw bone, leading to an abcess or preventing proper eruption of the adult tooth. 

The general rule is that if it would hurt to smack your knee with a bone, it is too hard to give to a dog, especially a puppy.  Many marrow bones, knuckle bones, antlers, and some nylon bones fall into this category.  Even some dental chew sticks are only labeled for adult dogs because they can be too hard on fragile puppy teeth. 

Firm but pliable products such as Kong toys are usually the safest chew toys. Rope toys can be okay to chew on, but games such as tug of war should be avoided to prevent trauma to the teeth. I often direct my clients to the American Veterinary Dental College for the most current information regarding oral health. Another useful organization is the Veterinary Oral Health Council. This organization lists products that have received their seal of approval for dental health. 

Once your dog’s adult teeth have emerged, he will need frequent preventative care and veterinary oral  health assessments to maintain dental health. 

Many people don’t realize that dental disease can have a significant impact on a dog’s overall health and quality of life.  If you take good care of the teeth starting at a young age, you will set your pup up for good health in the future! 

Author: Dr. Megan Teiber, DVM

How do I help a teething puppy?

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 :)

Young dog chewing on natural bone

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.

Puppies who are teething like to chew - a LOT!

Making sure he  has safe, sturdy and appropriate toys to chew on aids the correct development and growth of his teeth and gums... not to mention reduces wear and tear on your belongings!

Click on the image below to find out how to choose the best toys for your pup and also find links to the brands and designs I recommend.... 

How can I keep my puppy's teeth clean & healthy?

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.

About puppy dental health

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 regularly to make sure all is well.

Find out how to brush your puppy's teeth properly and keep them clean and healthy right here... Brushing Puppy Teeth

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