Let’s take a closer look at your fur buddy’s teeth – or canine dentition!
The cuteness of puppy nibbling on your finger. This is a delight with a limited shelf life, but puppies’ teeth are sharp fraught with peril. As we know, puppies grow, develop and mature faster than humans. The same applies to dog dentition.
Do you ever wonder if puppies lose baby teeth in the same way that people do? The answer to these questions is a resounding, “Yes.”
A puppy’s baby teeth begin erupting from their gums around week 3. By 8 weeks, they have a full set of 28. The one month later these milk teeth begin falling out as their 42 adult dog teeth begin growing into place.
There are a total of 28 baby teeth in puppies.
In order of appearance, the full complement includes:
- 12 incisors. These are the teeth at the front of the upper jaw, or maxilla, and lower jaw, or mandible. There are six on top and six on the bottom. The baby incisors erupt between three to six weeks after whelping. Usually, the 2 right in front makes the first appearance.
- 4 canines. Better known as “fangs,”. These are the long, pointed teeth on either side of the upper and lower jaws. Baby canines appear between weeks 3 to 5 of a puppy’s life.
- 12 premolars. The premolars are the hindmost teeth in a puppy’s mouth and the last to erupt. There are six on the upper and six on the lower jaw. These teeth begin to emerge between weeks 5 to 6.
By week 8, all 28 of a puppy’s baby teeth should reach their full size. While these teeth are brittle, they are sharp. This is why mothers begin weaning their whelps between week 6 and 8.
Do puppies lose their teeth?
Yes! There is very little, if any, bloodshed when a puppy loses her baby teeth.
Aside from a relatively bloodless transition, there’s little evidence marking a baby tooth’s passage. Adult teeth push out milk teeth as they grow down to take their place. The roots of a puppy’s first set of teeth dissolve and their organic material is resorbed back into the body. If a puppy’s baby teeth do not fall out as such or get stuck in a piece of food for you to find, chances are the lost teeth were swallowed.
Do puppies teethe?
Yes! Teething is the uncomfortable period where a full set of adult teeth replace baby teeth. This teething process begins between weeks 12 to 16 and lasts two to three months.
An adult dog’s mouth contains 42 teeth in total.
All should be visible by 6 months of age.
In the order that they erupt, the permanent set includes:
- 12 incisors. These are the teeth right in front. The first baby teeth to erupt are the first to be replaced. This happens between weeks 12 and 16. All permanent incisors should appear by 5 months of age. Incisors are precision cutting instruments. In the wild, they help a dog remove flesh from as close to the bone as possible. They are also the primary teeth used in self-grooming.
- 4 canines. The adult fangs come in next, also at 12 to 16 weeks. Due to their relative size, the maxillary canines — those on the upper jaw — actually take the longest of any dog teeth to reach their full length. Adult canines are used for gripping and puncturing.
- 16 premolars. Adult dogs gain an extra four premolars as they reach maturity. These teeth begin to erupt between 16 and 20 weeks of age and should all have emerged by 5 months. Premolars are sharp, jagged, and angled teeth that are used for tearing and grinding food. Premolars are the ones used most with chew toys.
- 10 molars. There are four molars at the rear of the upper jaw, two on each side. There are six molars on the lower jaw, three on each side. The molars erupt between weeks 16 to 24. These teeth are broader and flatter, helping a dog crush and pulverize his food en route to the digestive tract.
All puppy’s permanent teeth should have erupted by 5 to 6 months of age.
These are rules of thumb, not strict guidelines. Size and breed have an impact on the length of the process. As soon as puppies get teeth of either kind, deciduous or adult, they’ll have and start expressing a need to use them.
To spare your furniture, footwear, and home decorations from feeling the brunt of a puppy’s early adventures in dentition, consult with your veterinarian. She will recommend chewing toys appropriate to your puppy’s size, breed, or mix.