Dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetimes---they get 28 baby teeth between the ages of three and six weeks. Then, between six and seven months, dogs get their permanent teeth. Although the number varies among breeds, most dogs develop a set of 42 teeth. While it's normal for puppies to loose their baby teeth as the permanent teeth come in to replace them, the loss of permanent teeth indicates a dental problem.
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Once puppies being cutting their "baby" teeth or milk teeth, teething will continue in one stage or another for several months. Milk teeth are sharp and small. They cause discomfort to the mother dog when the babies nurse, and she usually begins to wean them at this time.
Between the ages of four and five months, the puppies begin losing their milk teeth. It is rare to find one of the lost baby teeth because puppies usually swallow them when they fall out.
During the time puppies are losing their baby teeth and getting their adult teeth, they are notorious for chewing up anything they can get their mouths on. This is a painful stage for puppies and pet guardians may notice the gums bleeding. Puppies should be provided with appropriate toys to chew during this time. After this stage, it is abnormal for a dog to lose teeth.
Trauma is the number one cause of abnormal tooth loss in dogs. The trauma may occur when a dog is hit by a vehicle, runs into an obstacle or is hit in the face with a large object. Teeth can also be fractured from chewing on tough materials, such as bones, rocks or hard toys. Sometimes the tooth is knocked out, at other times it must be extracted by a veterinarian.
If plaque accumulates on a dog's teeth, it can lead to swollen, inflamed gums. This causes bad breath and bleeding gums. The dog may drop food and rub its mouth. If not treated, periodontal disease will develop and cause the gums to recede. The ligaments that hold the teeth in place can be damaged. As the disease progresses, the dog will begin losing teeth.
To prevent periodontal disease, you must practice good dental care for your pet. Brushing a dog's teeth helps prevent dental disease. A veterinarian can show you the correct way to brush your pet's teeth and recommend a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for canines.
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