Most puppies will have no teeth at birth and will need to go through a process called puppy teething. From the time it’s born until it turns six months of age, your puppy’s teeth will erupt from the gums inside the jaw within a designated timeline. In this blog post, we answer the question, “When do puppies lose puppy teeth?”
The Process of Growing Teeth
A teething puppy will go through different stages throughout the entire teething process, including sore gums and the eruption of their first set of teeth. During the early stages, puppies may get the urge to chew and gnaw on household objects to relieve discomfort. Unfortunately, most dogs won’t outgrow this urge, so pet owners will need to learn about how their puppy’s baby teeth grow to be able to handle their dog.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the teething process.
From Birth to Two Weeks
As soon as your puppy is born, it will have no teeth. However, during its first two weeks, you’ll notice that it will be nursing.
Weeks Two to Four
When it turns two to four weeks of age, you’ll notice that your puppy will grow its first baby teeth. These are referred to as the incisors, which will slowly begin to emerge in the front of the mouth. Puppies will have six incisors on their upper and lower jaw.
Their molars and premolars will also start to grow behind their canine teeth once they reach three to six weeks, where three new teeth will come out on each side from top to bottom. Next, four canines will appear at week four which will frame the incisors from each side, both on the lower and upper jaw.
Weeks Five to Eight
During this teething phase, the last molars should appear, and at around week eight, your puppy’s permanent teeth should start coming out, which are known as deciduous teeth or milk teeth. At this point, your dog’s baby teeth will be absorbed by the body or they may fall out on their own. This is the right time for puppies to start eating soft puppy food to practice eating using their teeth.
When their milk teeth don’t fall out ahead of their new adult teeth, it could look like your pup has two sets of teeth. Any retained teeth will need to be extracted by your vet to allow room for your dog’s adult teeth to grow. Sometimes, having a crowded mouth may disrupt the teeth’s alignment, leading to poor hygiene and resulting in periodontal disease.
Weeks Twelve to Sixteen
Pet parents will usually notice that it’s around this time when their puppies begin to shed their first teeth which are replaced by their permanent adult teeth. This is a painful process for dogs, so be sure to provide them with safe chew toys to provide positive reinforcement throughout their experience. Now is the time to socialize with your pup, and inspect your dog’s teeth while preparing them for regular brushing.
Six Months and Older
By this point in time, the first set of baby teeth should be gone and the puppy’s adult teeth should emerge. Should there be baby teeth left, visit your vet to have them removed — they will be sure to replace the milk teeth with permanent teeth. By around seven months old, there should be around 42 permanent teeth inside the puppy’s mouth.
How to Keep Teeth Healthy
Schedule a dental appointment with your vet to give your puppy an initial dental exam. This will provide a good look into your puppy’s gums, teeth, and oral cavity, where you may also ask them to demonstrate dental cleanings. This is the best way to learn about which brushes, toothpaste, and techniques to use on your pup’s teeth.
It’s also a good idea to get your dog used to having their teeth brushed during this developmental stage. Establishing a dental care routine is essential in preventing stinky breath, plaque, and other oral problems. Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth daily or you may also brush them once or twice a week.
The Purpose of Adult Dog Teeth
Different teeth serve different purposes and provide a range of functions based on the shape of the tooth and its position in the mouth. Most dogs will have a V-shaped upper and lower jaw that allow the mouth to open wide for capturing or grasping prey. Here are different ways how dogs use their teeth.
- Dogs use incisors to scrape and rip meat away from bones and are also used for grooming to eliminate dirt from their fur.
- Dogs also use their canine teeth located on each side of their jaw, where both upper and lower teeth can be used to slash and stab.
- Dogs also have eight premolars each in the upper and lower jaw, while four molars are located at the top, along with six at the bottom. They also have extra molars designed to crush bones and process vegetables for digestion.
- Finally, dogs have special carnassial teeth, which are made up of molars and premolars. These teeth move like scissors as they pass one another as the puppy’s mouth closes. This evolutionary trait was added to carnivorous animals that require shearing actions for processing flesh.
What a Normal Bite Should Look Like
When adult dogs close their mouth, they should display a normal bite. This is essential for a healthy mouth and for dogs to be able to use and eat as they should. A normal bite should have the following:
- The lower canine teeth should be located in front of your dog’s upper canines
- The upper incisors should overlap the lower teeth
- All of the upper premolars should fit snugly in between the lower premolars
- The upper carnassial teeth should be overlapping the lower ones
When a dog’s bite is abnormal or they don’t fit around the mouth properly, it’s referred to as a malocclusion. While this can be normal for some dog breeds as a result of a different jaw and mouth shape. For example, smaller breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers will have a malocclusion because their upper jaws are shorter than the lower jaw.
However, this will result in teeth fitting incorrectly, which can lead to mouth damage whenever the dog chews. As such, it’s a good option to call your vet or a veterinary dentist and notify them of the malocclusion for the right orthodontic correction.
Need Help with Puppy Teething?
If you’re a new dog parent, it’s imperative that you learn everything you can about your furry friend, which includes their teeth. The process of growing a baby tooth to an adult tooth isn’t an easy one, so as a dog parent, it’s up to you to ensure that your little friend can transition as comfortably as possible. You can do this by providing them with safe toys, dental care, and a range of teething-specific toys from a young age to help them adjust to these changes.