Puppies have 28 teeth (called milk teeth) and will lose them within four to twelve months. Soon after puppies lose all their teeth, they develop 42 adult (permanent) teeth. The vet may have to pull milk teeth if the adult teeth emerge prematurely.
Like humans, puppies lose their “baby” teeth and their “adult” or permanent teeth come in shortly after. When you were a kid, you probably pulled out or lost your loose tooth and put it under your pillow for the tooth fairy to bring you a little something. Whereas your puppy will probably end up swallowing his teeth, and that’s okay!
We’ll go over this and more as you read on.
When Do Puppies Lose Their Milk Teeth?
Puppies are born toothless. They will develop teeth around 2-4 weeks of age and lose them between 4-6 months of age.
The first set of teeth are called “milk teeth” or deciduous teeth, because your puppy will still be nursing. The emergence of milk teeth is the first sign that it’s time to wean from his mother’s milk.
After all the 28 deciduous teeth come in and fall out, the adult teeth come in. Eventually, the dog will have 42 permanent teeth.
The First and Last To Fall Out
The first teeth to fall out are usually the incisors, the six teeth at the front of your pup’s mouth (both on top and bottom). When you think of your dog’s teeth, you’re probably most familiar with the long, vampire, fang-like teeth, also known as canine teeth. These are typically the last to fall out.
What if Your Puppy’s Teeth Don’t Fall Out?
What if your puppy still has some of his teeth past the time when they should’ve fallen out? This isn’t uncommon, but it can cause some issues. Because of this, you’ll need to check with your vet and possibly have the tooth removed or extracted.
If you don’t have your puppy’s deciduous tooth removed, it might cause an infection that could develop into dental disease if left untreated.
The adult tooth may come in on top of the baby tooth and cause crowding. When this happens, it’s more likely that your puppy will get food stuck in his teeth, resulting in bacteria build-up.
It’s best to just take him in for a check-up if you’re worried.
What About Teething?
A teething puppy is a curious and chew-crazy puppy. I’m sure you’ve already puppy-proofed your house and put all the shoes away, but if you haven’t, now’s the time! (Sorry, I don’t know what to tell you about the furniture).
Puppies actually go through the teething process twice (yikes!). The first is when they get their milk teeth and then again when their adult teeth come in. Puppy teething can occur between 2 weeks and 8 months of age.
I know it’s going to be hard to see your little pup in pain while he’s teething, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier on him.
Signs Your Puppy is Teething
- Irritated, inflamed, or swollen gums or tissue around teeth
- Mouth is tender to the touch, jaw discomfort
- Excessive chewing and drooling
- Low mood and/or fatigue, loss of appetite
- A slight fever is normal, but consult your vet if it’s too high or persists
- Missing teeth, finding teeth on the ground or in toys
- Whining or crying (although this could be for several reasons)
Helpful Teething Tips
Chew Proof Dog Toys
Start by buying some chew-proof, flexible, and textured dog toys. When you notice your puppy getting bored, you can take his old toy and replace it with a new (or different one) and switch the old one back into his routine at a later time.
Handle Your Puppies Mouth
Help your puppy get familiar with its mouth by playing games or feeding him treats with your hands.
If you avoid his mouth early on because you’re worried it might be too sore or tender, then your puppy will be less likely to let you near it in the future for brushing his teeth, playing, or being pet by guests and visitors.
Use Frozen Treats
A great option to help with pain is cold or frozen treats. Adding frozen bananas or peanut butter to a chew toy will stimulate your puppy while relieving some of the discomfort caused by sore gums.
Teething (and excessive chewing) should subside around 6 months when his adult teeth come in. With focused training and lots of patience, your pup will quickly learn what’s okay to chew and what isn’t.
Don’t be alarmed if you see some blood spots on your puppy’s toys. Double-check with your vet, but this is normally just a sign of teething.
You might find teeth lodged in your pup’s toys or loose on the ground. Think back to when you were a kid and your teeth would fall out, don’t worry, it’s a similar process.
It’s perfectly fine, normal, and harmless for your puppy to swallow his baby teeth, as I mentioned above. He might even swallow more than the amount you find around the house.
Start a Dental Care Routine
Now is the perfect time to work on a daily routine for cleaning your puppy’s teeth. The earlier you start, the less work it’ll be for you in the future.
Begin by letting your dog get used to having things in his mouth by using a finger brush and gently going over your puppy’s teeth and gums. Once his adult teeth develop, you can use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste.
Warning: Don’t use human toothpaste since it can be toxic for dogs.
If you’re not able to brush your puppy’s teeth daily, then try to do it at least 3 times a week minimum to maintain his oral health and prevent disease.
What Not to Do When Your Puppy is Teething
Remember when you were a kid and there were countless ways to pull your loose tooth? Personally, I’m not a fan of the “tie a string to your tooth and slam the door” method, but to each their own.
One thing you don’t want to do is pull your puppy’s tooth because they have long roots and it would be extremely painful for him if the tooth breaks. Not to mention it could cause an infection. Then your precious puppy is in pain and you’re stuck with a vet bill.
Don’t Buy Tough Toys
As I mentioned above, the toys you buy your teething puppy matter. Imagine having a loose tooth and biting into an apple or eating corn. Not pleasant, right? Exactly.
Your pup relieves his discomfort by chewing, so that means you need to provide him with the best way to do so. Tougher toys like bones and ropes can be very uncomfortable and potentially cause harm. Stick to the toys made for teething and buy the other ones when he’s older.
It’s not your puppy’s fault for chewing on something he shouldn’t. He’s just looking for an outlet for his pain and energy. Plus, puppies chew to explore new environments and learn about things.
You can definitely work on training your puppy, but it’s going to take time. Until he’s a little older, you can block off areas you don’t want him chewing, like the couch, rug, or shoes.
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