Can Puppies Lose Their Teeth? Baby Teeth in Puppies · The Wildest

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Can Puppies Lose Their Teeth? Baby Teeth In Puppies

Whether you should save them for the tooth fairy is another issue entirely.

Woman playing with her puppy.
Michela Ravasio / Stocksy

Just as human babies grow teeth that later fall out to make room for adult chompers, puppies develop a temporary set of teeth that start to shed around 12 to 16 weeks of age. During this teething stage, puppies may swallow the small baby teeth unnoticed.

When do puppies lose their baby teeth?

Over their lifetime, dogs will have two sets of teeth: 28 deciduous (baby) teeth and 42 adult teeth. While the exact timeline for growing and losing teeth varies from dog to dog, most dogs will start to get their first baby teeth around three to four weeks of age. A full set of deciduous (baby) teeth can be expected between six and eight weeks of age. Deciduous teeth tend to erupt in this order:

  • Canines

  • Incisors

  • Premolars

Puppies will start to lose their baby teeth when they’re about 12 weeks old and usually have all of their adult teeth by five to seven months of age. Adult dog teeth tend to come in this order:

  • Incisors

  • Canines

  • Premolars

  • Molars

Do puppies swallow their baby teeth?

Puppies swallowing their baby teeth is very common and very normal. Most puppy parents don’t witness their puppy losing a single baby tooth. Some puppy parents may find a stray baby tooth on the floor or a small spot of blood on a teething toy. But more often than not, puppies will swallow their baby teeth and their people are none the wiser. 

Is swallowing baby teeth bad for a puppy?

Puppies swallow most (and sometimes all) of their baby teeth without any issues. Swallowing baby teeth will not make puppies sick. If you're worried your puppy is sick due to signs like pain, decreased appetite, or vomiting, forget about their baby teeth and contact your vet

Signs of Puppy Teething

A puppy’s baby teeth are much more sharp than their adult teeth, so puppies can do a lot of damage while teething. The entire teething process — from the first canine tooth to the last adult molar — can last between seven and eight months.

Those seven months can be a whirlwind for new puppy parents as their pups are busy exploring the world with their mouths. Puppies exhibit excessive chewing for a variety of reasons, including teething, playfulness, curiosity, and boredom. Signs that a puppy is teething include:

  • Excessive chewing

  • Red and inflamed gums

  • Drooling

  • Slow, careful chewing 

  • Missing teeth

  • Lethargy

Puppy teething timeline

A puppy’s mouth will go through a lot of changes during the first year of life. Puppies go from being completely toothless to growing sharp baby teeth, to replacing those teeth with their forever teeth. Here’s a general timeline of development:

Incisors

Incisors are the tiny teeth at the front of a dog’s jaw. They are used for nibbling, grasping, and grooming. 

  • Baby incisors erupt: four to six weeks

  • Baby incisors fall out: 12 to 16 weeks

  • Adult incisors erupt: four to five months

Canines

Canines are the sharp, pointed teeth located next to the incisors. They are used for tearing and holding onto objects. 

  • Baby canines erupt: three to four weeks

  • Baby canines fall out: four to five months

  • Adult canine erupt: five to six months

Premolars

Premolars are located behind the canine teeth. They have flatter surfaces and are used for shearing and tearing. 

  • Baby premolars erupt: four to six weeks

  • Baby premolars fall out: six months

  • Adult premolars erupt: four to seven months

Molars

Molars are the large, flat teeth located at the back of a dog’s jaw. They are used for crushing and grinding. 

  • Molars aren’t part of puppy dentition, so there are no baby molars. 

  • Adult molars erupt: four to seven months

Possible puppy dental issues

Parental involvement in the teething process should be minimal. Puppy parents should focus on providing plenty of toys for pups to chew on and use positive reinforcement to steer them toward those toys and away from your shoes. Even though baby teeth don’t stay around for long, they can have issues. These puppy teeth problems often require veterinary attention:

Broken deciduous teeth

Some people’s first thought if a puppy cracks a tooth may be, Well, it’s gonna fall out anyway, but this is the wrong approach. Puppy tooth roots are longer, so a cracked baby tooth is more likely to result in an exposed tooth root. This can leave a puppy susceptible to infection and a world of pain. If a puppy breaks a tooth, a veterinarian may recommend dental X-rays to determine the extent of the damage. 

Delayed eruption of deciduous teeth

While most puppies grow their baby teeth like clockwork, sometimes a tooth might be a bit late to the party.  This delay can occur due to dense tissue covering the tooth, blocking the tooth’s eruption. Delayed eruption of baby teeth can result in abnormal gingiva (where the tooth is trying to come up) or cyst formation. Delayed tooth eruption is more common in small-breed dogs. 

Retained deciduous teeth

A puppy may get all their baby teeth without any issues, but occasionally, some of those suckers don’t want to leave. Baby teeth that don’t fall out on schedule create a crowded environment for the adult teeth trying to come in. This can lead to bad positioning of the adult teeth and misalignment of the jaw. 

How to promote healthy adult teeth

Dogs rely on their teeth for eating, grooming, playing, and exploring, so dental health is important. Neglecting dental care in dogs can lead to infection, discomfort, and pain. Pet parents should be proactive and take steps to keep their dog’s chompers healthy. 

  • Check your dog’s teeth regularly: Getting puppies used to certain sensations, like having their ears touched, paws held, and mouth opened, will make veterinary visits and at-home care easier. Introduce your puppy to the idea of having their teeth inspected early. 

  • Regular toothbrushing: Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Daily is ideal, but a few times a week can make a huge difference. 

  • Routine vet visits:  Schedule regular checkups with your vet. Your vet can assess your dog’s oral health and recommend interventions before dental disease becomes severe. 

  • Professional dental cleanings: Thorough dental cleanings are performed under general anesthesia and can help remove the plaque and tartar that accumulate over time. This is also the time for problem teeth to be removed. 

  • Proper chew toys: Both teething puppies and adult dogs need proper chew toys. Dogs that like to chew on tough objects are at risk for wearing their teeth down or suffering from cracked teeth. 

  • Healthy diet: Growing puppies need extra nutrients to grow strong bones and teeth. Be sure to feed an age-appropriate diet for each of your dog’s life stages. 

FAQs (People also ask):

How do I know if my puppy has gum disease? 

Gingivitis develops when bacteria cause inflammation along the gumline. Dogs start to accumulate tartar once they’re one year old. Signs of gum disease in dogs include bad breath, discolored teeth, inflamed gums, and pain when chewing. 

Do puppies have pain when losing teeth? 

Teething can cause puppies occasional discomfort. Signs of pain associated with teething in puppies include slow/deliberate chewing, drooling, whining, and lethargy. If a pup is in too much pain to eat, contact a vet to see if something else is going on. 

How do I take care of my puppy’s teeth? 

Parents can help their teething puppies by providing appropriate teething toys. Puppy parents can also get their pups used to dental care by introducing toothbrushing early. 

References:

alycia washington, dvm

Dr. Alycia Washington, DVM, MS

Alycia Washington, DVM, is a small animal emergency veterinarian based in North Carolina. She works as a relief veterinarian and provides services to numerous emergency and specialty hospitals. Dr. Washington is also a children’s book author and freelance writer with a focus on veterinary medicine. She has a special fondness for turtles, honey bees, and penguins — none of which she treats. In her free time, Dr. Washington enjoys travel, good food, and good enough coffee. 

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