Puppy Teeth. Why Dogs Lose Their Baby Teeth And Grow New Ones

Do Dogs Lose Their Teeth Like Humans Do?

Yes, dogs do lose their baby teeth just like humans do. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth that start coming in around 3-4 weeks old. These “milk teeth” or “baby teeth” serve puppies while they are young, helping them eat solid food and allowing their adult jaws to develop properly. Around 12-16 weeks old, puppies start shedding their puppy teeth as the permanent adult teeth start pushing through.

This is similar to human babies – humans have 20 baby teeth that start coming in around 6-12 months old. Around age 6, humans start losing their baby teeth as adult teeth erupt. So just like humans, dogs lose their baby teeth and grow a set of permanent adult teeth as they mature.


Why Do Dogs Lose Their Baby Teeth?

Dogs lose their baby teeth for the same biological reasons that humans do. Puppies are born without permanent teeth. Their mouths instead contain deciduous or “baby” teeth. These smaller, weaker milk teeth help puppies chew and bite while they are young. However, as puppies grow, their jaws also grow larger and their adult teeth begin to form under the gums.

Around 12-16 weeks of age, the permanent adult teeth begin pushing the roots of the baby teeth up as they move into place. This eventually causes the baby teeth to loosen and fall out on their own or with some help from chewing. The baby teeth are gradually replaced by the larger, stronger permanent teeth that are suited for an adult dog. This is a natural part of a puppy’s development that allows their mouth and chewing abilities to mature https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/teeth-teething-and-chewing-in-puppies.

While the process can take 6 months from start to finish, most puppies have lost their puppy teeth by the time they are 7 months old. The emergence of the permanent teeth signals your puppy’s transition from baby to adult.

What Age Do Puppies Lose Their Baby Teeth?

Puppies typically start losing their baby teeth around 4-6 months of age. The teething process can begin as early as 3 months or as late as 7 months, but most puppies will start losing their deciduous teeth somewhere between 4-7 months old. According to the American Kennel Club, puppies have a full set of baby teeth by about 8 weeks old. Then, at around 4 months old, those milk teeth start being pushed out to make room for the permanent adult teeth.

The window of puppy teething lasts until the puppy reaches about 7 months old. By this age, all of the deciduous baby teeth should have fallen out. The AKC says most puppies have lost all their milk teeth by the time they are 6-7 months old. The puppy teeth are gradually replaced with 42 permanent adult teeth that come in over this teething timeframe. Puppies will have a mix of baby and adult teeth as the teething process progresses, until finally all adult teeth are in by around 7 months of age.

So in summary, puppy teething typically spans 4-7 months old, which is when they begin losing their milk teeth and growing in permanent teeth to replace them.

Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/timeline-of-puppy-teething/

Signs Your Puppy Is Losing Teeth

signs of puppy losing baby teeth

There are several signs that indicate your puppy is in the process of losing their baby teeth as the permanent adult teeth come in. Some of the most common signs to look out for include:

  • Loose baby teeth that wiggle and may eventually fall out (source: https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/puppy-teething)
  • Bleeding or swollen gums as the teeth push through (source: https://caringheartsanimalhospital.com/puppy-teething-symptoms/)
  • Increased drooling since losing teeth can irritate the gums
  • Chewing behaviors to relieve sore gums
  • Visible lost teeth
  • Whining or changes in eating patterns due to mouth soreness

Puppies may even try to chew rocks and sticks to relieve some of the pain and pressure in their gums during this teething phase. It’s important to provide safe chew toys and monitor your puppy’s behavior closely as they lose teeth.

How Many Teeth Do Puppies Lose?

Puppies lose all 28 of their baby teeth as they grow into adulthood. These deciduous or “milk” teeth start falling out around 12-16 weeks of age to make room for their permanent adult teeth. This is a normal part of a puppy’s development and allows their adult teeth to erupt in the proper alignment and position.

The 28 baby teeth that puppies lose include:

  • 12 incisors (6 top, 6 bottom)
  • 4 canines (2 top, 2 bottom)
  • 12 premolars (6 top, 6 bottom)

Losing their baby teeth is an important milestone. As the adult teeth grow in, it allows puppies to transition from nursing to eating solid food and chewing properly. Most puppies will have lost all their deciduous teeth by the time they are 6 months old.

Does Losing Teeth Hurt Puppies?

puppy losing teeth painfully

Losing teeth can be a painful process for puppies. According to the AKC, the main cause of discomfort is that the permanent adult teeth push through the gums as they grow in, which puts pressure on the roots of the decaying baby teeth. This pressure on the baby tooth roots stimulates the body to absorb the roots, making the teeth loosen and fall out. Having a tooth root dissolve hurts quite a bit, which is why puppies may whine, drool, and chew excessively on things during teething.

Puppies tend to be in the most pain when the molars come in because they have the deepest roots. The discomfort seems to peak around 4-6 months old. According to Kalm Pets, signs your puppy is in teething pain include loss of appetite, increased chewing, swollen gums, lethargy, and irritability. While the pain usually only lasts a few days for each tooth, the full teething process typically takes 4-6 months, during which pups experience on-and-off discomfort.

In summary, losing one’s baby teeth and growing in permanent teeth is indeed painful for puppies. The pressure of the new teeth dissolving the roots of the old teeth causes significant gum pain and discomfort. Owners can help soothe puppies by providing safe chew toys and scheduling more playtime during this developmental phase.

Helping Your Puppy Through Teething

Teething can be an uncomfortable time for puppies, but there are things you can do to help make the process easier on your furry friend. Providing safe chew toys specifically designed for teething puppies can help redirect chewing and provide relief. The American Kennel Club recommends trying chew toys made of softer rubber or stuffing a Kong with frozen peanut butter or pumpkin puree to create a cold snack that satisfies their urge to chew while numbingsore gums https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-teething-and-nipping/. You can also soak a clean washcloth in water or low-sodium broth then freeze it to create a cold teething ring for your puppy to chew on.
relieving teething pain in puppies

Giving your puppy chilled treats like frozen carrots or apple slices can provide cooling relief during teething. Just be sure to monitor your puppy anytime they have access to small, hard foods to prevent choking hazards. Your veterinarian may also recommend special teething gels or chews made specifically to soothe sore gums in puppies. With some patience and the right chew toys, you can help make your puppy’s teething phase less troublesome.

When Do Adult Dog Teeth Come In?

After puppies lose their baby teeth, the permanent adult teeth begin to erupt. According to the AKC, the timeline for adult teeth coming in is:

– At 4 months old, the incisors (at the front of the mouth) and canines begin erupting.

– Between 4-6 months old, the premolars in the back come in.

– By around 6 months old, all of the adult teeth should be fully erupted.

So within the 2-3 month period after puppies start losing their baby teeth around 3-4 months old, the adult teeth will start pushing through the gums to replace them. The entire permanent set of 42 adult teeth should be present by about 6 months of age.

It’s important to monitor teething and ensure adult teeth are coming in properly in the right locations. Retained baby teeth that don’t fall out can cause problems and may need to be extracted by a vet.

How Many Permanent Teeth Do Dogs Have?

Most adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth, with 20 teeth in the upper jaw and 22 in the lower jaw. Puppies start off with 28 temporary “milk teeth” or “baby teeth”, which eventually fall out and get replaced by permanent adult teeth as the puppy matures.1

adult dog with 42 permanent teeth

The 42 permanent adult dog teeth include:2

  • 12 incisors (6 upper, 6 lower) – the small front teeth used for biting and nibbling
  • 4 canines (2 upper, 2 lower) – the fang-like teeth on each side used for tearing and grabbing
  • 16 premolars (8 upper, 8 lower) – the transitional teeth between the canines and molars
  • 10 molars (4 upper, 6 lower) – the wider teeth in the back used for chewing and grinding

So in summary, the typical adult dog will have a total set of 42 permanent teeth once all their puppy teeth have fallen out and been replaced.

Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth

Proper dental care is essential for your dog’s health and wellbeing. Here are some tips for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy:

Brush your dog’s teeth regularly, ideally once a day. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste. Gently brush in circular motions along the gumline. This helps remove plaque and tartar buildup.

Provide dental chews and toys. Chewing stimulates saliva production which helps clean teeth. Look for products with the VOHC seal that are proven to reduce plaque and tartar.

Feed dental diet food. These kibbles are designed to mechanically scrub teeth. Consult your vet to find a dental food appropriate for your dog.

Schedule annual veterinary dental cleanings. The vet will scale, polish and flush your dog’s teeth under anesthesia. This is important for thorough cleaning below the gumline.

Monitor your dog’s oral health. Regularly check their teeth and gums for signs of disease. Bad breath, red gums, yellow buildup or loose teeth all warrant a vet visit.

With proper care, you can help your dog maintain good dental health and fresh breath throughout their life.

Scroll to Top