At what age does a puppy lose his baby teeth?

Written by kathleen riley-daniels
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The average puppy has 28 deciduous also known as baby, milk or temporary teeth. Deciduous, just like with trees, means that the teeth will fall out. These starter teeth include incisors, canines and premolars; puppies don't have molars. An interesting thing about puppy teeth is that they are hollow.

Almost all puppies are born without teeth. The first deciduous or baby teeth start to show up at about three to four weeks of age; these are the canines. The incisors and then the premolars erupt next. Teeth usually erupt more quickly in large-breed than in small-breed dogs.

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Teething Schedule for Deciduous Teeth (Puppy Teeth)

Incisors: 3 to 4 weeks Canines: 3 weeks Premolars: 4 to 12 weeks Molars: N/A

Teething

Puppies start to get their adult teeth at about three to five months of age. This teething stage, during which adult teeth replace the deciduous or baby teeth, usually lasts about two to three months. Just like human babies, puppies may have sore mouths and drooling during the teething period. If your puppy has a really sore mouth, it can contribute to going off their feed but usually not enough to affect their weight or growth.

Erupting Adult Teeth

At about three months of age, the deciduous teeth may begin to be replaced by the permanent teeth. The replacement process is from front to back, starting with the incisors at about three to five months of age, then the canines and premolars at about four to six months, and the molars at about five to seven months. The shedding of baby teeth and replacement with adult teeth is usually finished by the time the dog is about eight months old. Most people never see the baby teeth because the puppy usually swallows them when eating.

Teething Schedule for Permanent Teeth (Adult Teeth)

Incisors: 3 to 5 months Canines: 4 to 6 months Premolars: 4 to 6 months Molars: 5 to 7 months

Retained Puppy Teeth

When puppy teeth are lost, the roots usually reabsorb, and adult teeth grow out and take the place of the baby teeth. There are times this does not happen, however, and you'll see a double row of teeth, both the baby and adult sets. This is more common in toy dog breeds than larger dogs. This can cause adult teeth to be pushed out of alignment, which can cause malocclusion and gum injury.

Check your puppy's teeth when he or she is three to six months of age to see that the bite is normal. Also look to see if the baby teeth have been retained where adult teeth are in. If so, have your veterinarian remove any deciduous teeth.

How Many Teeth Are Normal?

The number of adult teeth in dogs varies by breed, but an average number of adult teeth is 42. Dogs with shorter faces (brachiocephalic) sometimes have fewer teeth because of the shortening of their jaws.

Some breeds have a predisposition for missing teeth. Doberman pinschers, for example, may have fewer premolars than is considered normal. Usually this is not a health concern, but it is a genetic variation that is likely to be hereditary. Sometimes the opposite happens, too, and a dog will have more than the average number of teeth. This causes overcrowding, and the teeth may overlap or twist. This is most likely to occur in spaniels and hounds.

Some Reasons Dogs Chew

  • Teething puppies are chewing to try and relieve pain.
  • Puppies chew to investigate their environment, and just like human babies, they will put everything into their mouths.
  • Chewing is pleasurable for your dog and can also be calming for anxious dogs.
  • Chewing appropriate items is good for your dog's teeth and gums and can assist in freshening the dog's breath.
  • Recreational chewing occurs with bored dogs and is a way they release excess energy.

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