The short answer is yes, dogs do lose their puppy teeth. In fact, puppies often will lose their baby teeth more quickly than they got them in the first place. However, like babies, all puppies are born with no teeth at all. Puppy teeth, also called milk teeth, usually come in around five or six weeks of age.
Most pups will start teething when they are roughly around three weeks old. Once a puppy’s temporary teeth are all in, he will have twenty-eight teeth in total. However, the process of puppy teething is just as miserable as when babies are teething. You’ll know your pup is teething when they start gnawing on things in an attempt to relieve pain and pressure.
If you have recently asked yourself, “Do puppy teeth fall out?”, than this blog post is for you. Read on for our comprehensive guide on puppy teeth.
When Do Puppies Lose Teeth?
All twenty-eight of your puppy’s baby teeth or temporary teeth should fall out somewhere between fourteen and thirty weeks of age. As your dog loses his puppy teeth, they are replaced with adult teeth that grow in behind them. A dog will usually have forty-two adult teeth in total once they’re full grown.
How Do Puppy Teeth Evolve?
There is a process as your puppy grows their teeth, once your puppy develops milk teeth and begins to lose them. At around three to four months of age, your pup will begin to lose his baby teeth, starting with his incisors. As his baby teeth fall out, adult teeth begin to grow in.
By four months of age, your dog’s adult molars will begin to grow in too, and almost all of his baby teeth will be gone. By six to eight months, your dog should have all forty-two of his permanent adult teeth.
Some puppies may take a little longer and some puppies take less time to get all of their adult teeth in, it’s all unique to each dog. Once your pup reaches thirty weeks of age, if you notice he still has some baby teeth left or seems to have a row of double teeth, you may need to see your vet to have the remaining milk teeth removed.
Thankfully, once your dog is around eight months old and their forty-two adult teeth are in, the teething phase finally stops. However, if you don’t work with your puppy during this period and encourage him to chew only on designated toys and teething chews, you might find that your pup continues to gnaw on things he shouldn’t, long past eight months old. This can be bad news for your furniture, shoes, and carpeting.
Is Your Puppy in Pain When Teething?
It’s possible your puppy might be feeling a little bit of pain or discomfort when new teeth are breaking through. As long as he is still doing normal things like drinking and eating, playing, socializing, exploring, and grooming, then you shouldn’t have to worry.
If your pup seems to be extremely affected by his new teeth coming in and he is not doing all those things you would expect him to be doing, you might want to see a vet just to be safe and seek treatment for dog pain. They may be able to recommend a dog-friendly oral teething gel to help relieve symptoms. There’s really not much else you can do to reduce your pup’s discomfort other than making sure you provide plenty of safe chew toys.
Only offer toys that are flexible, soft, and bend easily. If you can’t bend it, then it’s too hard for your pup to be chewing on it at this stage in his development. Some pet stores offer toys that can be refrigerated so they are nice and cold, which your pup may enjoy. You could also offer your pup ice cubes or frozen carrots in a bowl. Some may like them, some may not, every pup is different.
Never Pull Out Loose Puppy Teeth
When your pup begins to lose his baby teeth, you should never try to help the process by pulling them out yourself, even if they are loose. This is because your dog’s teeth have roots that are long and pulling them out yourself can accidentally break them. Broken roots can cause a bacterial infection in your dog and create more problems than it solves. Yes, it can be tempting, especially if the tooth is practically falling out. But allow it to fall out on its own instead of taking matters into your own hands. It’s healthier for your pup.
Dental Problems Your Puppy May Face
There aren’t too many problems that can occur with a puppy’s baby teeth. There are certain breeds that are more prone to retaining baby teeth, such as smaller breeds and dogs with short snouts. However, this problem can be treated with a trip to a veterinary dentist.
Regardless of breed, there may be times that you notice your pup seems to be getting an adult tooth in, yet the baby tooth isn’t budging. When this happens, see your vet, don’t try to pull it out yourself. Puppies that retain baby teeth can be susceptible to a painful occlusion and related infections.
Retaining baby teeth can also lead to canine periodontal disease because your dog’s teeth will be too crowded together, making them a ripe home for trapped food. Teeth that have food trapped around them are vulnerable to infection and decay. Left untreated, extra teeth will only cause discomfort and create future dental issues. Typically, however, puppy teeth come in and fall out on their own without any help or intervention from you.
Adult teeth, however, are another ball game altogether. Once your pup’s adult teeth are in, it is imperative that you properly care for them and follow a regular dental hygiene program. If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth, the impact on his health can range from everyday bad breath in dogs, to an inability to eat the way he should, to infections that travel to other parts of his body, like the heart.
If you notice your dog has lost his appetite, is drooling a lot, or has foul breath, check his teeth. Look for blood in his saliva, gums that are swollen or bleeding, and evidence of tartar along his gum line that looks brown or yellow in color. You may also notice broken teeth.
When plaque builds up, it can harden and turn into chalky calculus. From there, it progresses to gum inflammation, infection, your dog’s adult teeth might even fall out. Sometimes this can be related to illness as well, so if you notice any of these signs, see your vet as soon as possible for treatment and evaluation.
Dental Hygiene for Your Dog
During the time that your puppy has his temporary teeth, you can begin to prepare him for his adult teeth and get him accustomed to a dental routine. You can do this by using your fingers to rub along his gums and teeth and get him used to having his mouth opened.
You can also use a soft cloth or a puppy toothbrush to gently scrub your pup’s teeth. A word of warning however; never use toothpaste that is made for humans. Always use a toothpaste that is made for dogs. They will often have a flavor like chicken or turkey, which should make things easier.
Once your dog has all his adult teeth, dental hygiene is just as important as before, if not more so, and it’s up to you to make sure your dog gets the best care you can give him. Dogs with healthy teeth will be happier for it. This means that your dog’s teeth should be clean and tartar free, with no evidence of plaque and discoloration. His tongue should be free of cuts, lumps, and moist to the touch. He should have healthy looking gums that are usually salmon pink in color, unless he’s a breed that has black or multi-colored gums.
Make a point to brush your dog’s teeth several times a day if you can and provide plenty of treats that are designed to reduce bacteria and help keep your dog’s teeth healthy. It’s also a good idea to make sure you dog receives annual or bi-annual professional cleanings at the vet’s office and feed your dog a healthy diet that promotes good oral health.
Tips for Chewing
It’s important to begin training your puppy right out of the gate what’s acceptable and what’s not. This includes his propensity to chew everything in sight. Especially during the teething phase, a puppy’s natural instinct is to chew. It’s up to you to show him what he can chew on and what he can’t, just like you would teach a baby what to touch and what not to touch. Keep things like shoes, purses, toys, and other personal items picked up and put away, so that your home is “puppy proof.”
Pups love to gnaw on all the things that smell like you, so keep those picked up too, including socks, undies, hats, and clothing. If you notice your puppy grab something he shouldn’t, take it and replace it immediately with something he’s allowed to chew on, like a toy or treat. You could also try offering your pup something like a washcloth that’s been dipped in chicken broth and frozen. This is great for soothing teething pups, although it may not be a good idea for older pups that are past the teething phase.
Tips for Biting
Just like chewing, nipping and biting is normal behavior for a pup. But baby teeth are like tiny little razors and adult teeth aren’t any less sharp. This means it’s important to begin right away teaching your pup how to play properly and discourage biting.
Try starting with teaching him bite inhibition. Every time he bites you make a loud, high-pitched sound as a warning to him. Every time he stops biting you as a result, reward him, either with praise or a treat.
Another good method of teaching your pup not to bite is using playtime as the reward. When you play with your puppy, if he bites, stop the game immediately and turn away from him. Tuck your hands under your armpits and show him that biting is not acceptable. Once he’s learned that biting isn’t okay, you can offer him something else to bite that is acceptable. Repeat the process as often as necessary so that it’s cemented in your pup’s mind that biting is not allowed.
You should also avoid games that involve hand combat. Only play with toys. When you slap fight with your dog or wrestle him with your hands, you are encouraging him to nip at you. This creates confusion when later, he’s in trouble for nipping. He won’t understand why it’s okay at one time, but not okay at another time. Instead, play with toys and create a bond with your pup that way. If he accidentally nips you while playing with toys, use a combo of the bite inhibition method to teach him nipping is bad and stopping play for a few seconds. He will soon realize that when he nips your fingers instead of the toy, the fun stops.
Ultimately, puppies are puppies. They are born, they grow tiny, sharp baby teeth, their puppy teeth fall out to make room for adult teeth, and they continue to grow and play and learn. They are like furry sponges that soak up attention and training, but it’s up to you as their human to give them that attention and training. Over time, they will become well-behaved members of the household that will pay dividends in love and loyalty.
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