Just like humans, canines have two sets of teeth: their baby teeth (also known as deciduous, milk or primary teeth) and their adult, or permanent teeth. At about three weeks of age, the baby teeth start to erupt and they are usually all exposed by the age of four months, when there will be a total of 28 teeth.
The Process of Canine Teething
A puppy doesn’t have baby teeth for long; soon after all deciduous teeth have erupted, they fall out and are replaced by permanent or adult teeth. This starts happening at about 4 months of age, and by the time a puppy is around 7 months old, his 28 baby teeth will be replaced by 42 adult teeth.
During teething – both as the baby teeth erupt and the adult teeth replace them – the gums can become inflamed and sore. To ease the pain, puppies gnaw while their baby teeth are breaking through. Offering a puppy teething toys, chew toys for dogs, durable and appropriately sized plastic dog toys and rubber dog toys, as well as dental chews can help to alleviate any discomfort. During the teething process, it’s not unusual for puppies to become irritable; they may also be reluctant to eat. Since nutrition is so important for your growing a puppy’s overall health and well-being, consider filling is dog bowl with a wet dog food for puppies, as the softer food may be easier for his sore mouth to handle.
Retained Teeth in Canines
Though puppies are supposed to lose all of their baby teeth, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, the adult teeth may erupt, but one or more baby teeth do not fall out. This is a condition that is referred to as retained teeth, and it can cause a number of problems. Some of the issues that can be associated with retained teeth in canines include:
- Abnormal positioning of the adult teeth
- Injuries to the palate
- An abnormal positioning of the jaw
- Pain while eating
Fortunately, treatment options are available for retained baby teeth; however, it is up to you, the pet parent, to be aware of this condition. Get in the practice of brushing your pup’s teeth on a regular basis. You can start brushing as soon as the baby teeth begin erupting. Make sure you use a properly sized toothbrush for dogs and a specially formulated toothpaste for dogs. Brushing will not only allow you to get a good look at your pup’s teeth, but it will also set the stage for proper oral hygiene, which is just as important for canines as it is for humans.
As you brush, examine your furry friend’s mouth. If you notice a baby tooth positioned in between adult teeth, contact your veterinarian. A full examination will determine if the tooth is, in fact, retained. If it is, the tooth can be extracted while your pet is under general anesthesia. By being aware and seeking treatment for retained canine teeth, you can help your dog avoid a number of serious dental health problems that could affect him for the rest of his life.
Image Source: WagWalking.com