Do Puppies Lose Their Molars? [And When?]

puppy nibbling on finger

Most puppies lose their molars when they are 4-6 months of age. Molars are typically the last to fall out but are quickly replaced by adult teeth. Since molars are close to the throat, there’s a good chance your puppy will swallow them. This means won’t see them lying around the house when they fall out. 

Seeing a tooth fall out of your puppy’s mouth can certainly be alarming. When you have a new puppy, you want to be extra health conscious to make sure they will grow up big and strong. After all, a puppy is a lifelong commitment. 

After a few weeks, you’re going to notice your puppy losing teeth. Don’t worry! This is completely normal. Like humans, dogs lose their baby teeth as they get older. The only difference is dogs don’t have a tooth fairy!

But What About The Molars?

Although you may not be able to notice, puppies do lose their molars. This typically happens between 4-6 months. When puppies lose their front teeth, you’ll probably see the teeth on the ground. But you likely won’t notice when the puppy loses its molars. Since the molars are close to the throat, there’s a good chance your puppy will accidentally swallow them.

Quickly Growing New Teeth

When puppies are born, they do not have any teeth. Like humans, they start out with a grand total of zero teeth in their mouths, but they start developing teeth rather quickly. 

Your puppy will grow 28 teeth that are considered their “baby” teeth. These teeth will fall out (including the molars) and be replaced by the adult teeth as your puppy grows and develops. 

This first set of teeth usually begins pushing through the gums at around 2 weeks of age. This is also when the puppy’s eyes should be open and they should be nursing. By the time all of your puppy’s teeth have come in completely, they should be started on soft food and weaned off nursing from their mother.

Trail of Teeth

At the 12-week mark, you may find little teeth all over the place. The baby teeth will fall out of your puppy at this point, so take care of them! 

Teething is a painful process for any animal, and dogs are no exception. Give your puppy some safe, soft toys to help them along, and take them to the vet for a checkup to ensure everything is progressing how it should.

During this period, it is also important to socialize your puppy with other dogs to ensure they do not fall behind in their social development. 

Dogs that are not exposed to other dogs will likely have behavior issues as they get older. Your puppy needs to learn how to play and fight with others. If not, they may develop aggression, defensiveness and resource guarding. It is much simpler to socialize your dog at a young age than it is to correct the problem later on.

The Joys of Teething

Chances are, your puppy will not enjoy the teething process. It is long and painful and involves literally replacing a part of their body. 

Aside from the teeth that you may find lying around, you may notice some tiny drops of blood left behind on their chewing material of choice. 

This is typical, but any excess blood may be cause for concern. If there is more than just some spotting on their toys, you will want to check with your vet to make sure your pup does not have a dental issue. 

Activities can speed up the process of losing baby teeth. Tug-of-war with your puppy at this stage may actually pop a tooth or two out! 

Be careful when playing with your puppy, especially at this point in their development. Tug-of-war is probably not a great idea. 

It is also common for your puppy to use their mouth more than usual during this period. They may try to nibble on your hands or chew on your clothes during playtime. 

You can use this time as an opportunity to teach them appropriate mouth behavior. The best way to make sure your pup does not fall into bad habits is by giving them all the soft chew toys they could want. This will keep them distracted and give them a safe way to ease the pain that comes from teething.

What if My Puppy Isn’t Losing Teeth?

While most puppies begin losing their baby teeth around 12 weeks, it may take other dogs up to 8 months to lose all their teeth. 

Many factors determine how quickly your puppy’s teeth will fall out, so don’t get worried if their schedule seems off. 

However, sometimes baby teeth can get stuck. If you notice a few of their baby teeth aren’t falling out, you can take them to the vet for a tooth extraction.

The Anatomy of Adult Teeth

The 28 milk teeth that your puppy starts out with are not just replaced by identical teeth when the adult teeth come in. 

Instead, your dog will get more specialized teeth designed to help them as they go through life. Puppies rely on milk and soft foods for sustenance, adult dogs eat a ton of different foods to get their nutrients.

The teeth needed to eat meat differ greatly from teeth that are there while a puppy nurses. Your dog will end up with 42 adult teeth at the end of the process. 

Dogs have six incisors on both the top and bottom jaws between the two sets of more prominent canine teeth. The canine teeth are the most prominent in your dog’s mouth and are very useful for hunting prey. 

Directly behind canine teeth, you will see premolars, which rip and tear through meat. In the back of your dog’s mouth are the molars, which can grind and pulverize food before the dog swallows. 

Each of these teeth plays an important role in the digestion process, so take your dog to the vet if you think they have a dental issue.

Caring for Puppy’s Mouths

It is important to get your dog used to you touching their mouth from a young age. As dogs get older, the potential for them to develop dental issues increases. 

If you have to take your dog to the vet for a dental issue, it is much better to have a dog that lets the vet look in their mouth than one that tries to nip or bite them. 

You can start this process by simply repeatedly touching your dog’s mouth from a young age. Provide them with age-appropriate dog toys to help their mouth development and brush their teeth. 

Keeping the teeth clean is an aspect of dog health that many dog parents fall behind on, but your dog will thank you when their breath is better, they have fewer issues, and their teeth are stronger. 

You can find plenty of tooth-cleaning supplies at any pet store. Do not worry about brushing your puppy’s teeth if their adult teeth have not come in yet, but still get them used to you touching their mouth. Dental issues can be a real pain for both you and the dog, so stay on top of your pup’s dental health!

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