You probably don’t spend much time looking at or thinking about your dog’s teeth, but you should. Dogs are more like us when it comes to dentistry and their teeth should be looked after.
Once a dog loses one or more of his teeth, they can’t grow back, just like our teeth can’t grow back either. Still, we have the benefits of veneers, and our dogs don’t so it is important to provide proper dental care from the young age.
Since not many owners are keen to peek inside their dogs mouths to count the teeth, many wonder how many teeth does a dog have? We did the counting for you and have all the answers when it comes to canine dentistry.
How Many Teeth Does A Dog Have?
When it comes to their teeth, dogs are similar to us in many ways and they are also born without teeth. Puppy teeth start to erupt around 2 weeks of age, and are completely set around 8-10 weeks.
Once puppies are 4 months old, they start to lose their baby teeth and the permanent set starts to grow. This process lasts until 6-7 months of age when all the permanent teeth are erupted and fully grown.
How Many Teeth Does A Puppy Have?
As we said, puppies are born without teeth, put pretty soon they develop their first set. These teeth are called “milk teeth” or deciduous teeth by vets.
Starting from 2 weeks and until 8-10 weeks of age a puppy will develop a set of 28 teeth. In most cases, incisors come first then canine teeth, and premolars are the last. Although certain variations are normal among different individuals.
Puppies have little and sharp teeth, and their eruption is the sign for the mother to start weaning them from her milk. Once a puppy is 4 weeks old it is safe to slowly introduce him to canned puppy food and wean him completely in the next 4 weeks.
At What Age Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth?
Puppies develop and lose their “baby teeth” just like people do, and their permanent teeth start to set in. This usually happens once a puppy is 4 months old, but may happen sooner or later depending on your pup. The incisors are the first permanent teeth that erupt around 2-5 months of age, followed by canine teeth at 4-6 months. The premolars erupt from 4-7 months, and the last are the molars which come as part of a permanent set, around 5-7 months. By 7-8 months of age a dog should have all his permanent teeth, but how many teeth does a dog have? Instead of 28 deciduous teeth, a dog now has 42 permanent teeth that should last him his entire life. During the teething period, puppies can experience some pain and discomfort which is completely normal. To keep your dog occupied you should engage him in all of his regular activities which involve play, socialization, eating, and drinking. It is advisable that a puppy is supplied with lots of toys that he can chew on during this period since he will find other ways to entertain himself. Most owners hate teething since puppies love chewing on everything, including furniture, your favorite shoes or other valuables within reach. Give a puppy toys that are flexible and can bend easily in your hand to discourage chewing on your valuables. A few different toys will keep a puppy entertained and help him soothe his gums thus making your shoes less interesting.
What To Do When A Puppy Starts Losing His Teeth?
You should let the teeth fall out on their own, and not intervene once you see that one of baby teeth is shaky and lose. Canine teeth have very long roots which can break causing infection and all sort of other problems. The only instance when a tooth needs to be pulled is when the baby tooth isn’t loose and the permanent one is erupting in the same place. Leaving the baby tooth in, once the adult tooth is erupting can cause occlusion problem, also known as bad bite. This means that the dog’s teeth will get more crowded which makes a dog more prone to development of periodontal disease and other health problems. In this case, it is best to consult a vet and have the tooth extracted. Factors like breed and individual circumstances can impact how many teeth does a dog have in its mouth. It isn’t uncommon for breeds with smaller snouts like Pugs to have fewer teeth since their mouth isn’t large enough to accommodate the full set.
How Many Permanent Teeth Does An Adult Dog Have?
Even though dogs are considered adults when they are 1 year old, they get their permanent teeth by 7 months of age. An adult dog has 42 teeth, but this number can vary depending on various factors and it isn’t a thing for concern. As we said earlier, incises are the first to erupt, followed by canines, premolars, and molars that aren’t included in the initial “baby teeth” set. Once all of these teeth are fully grown, they are there to stay and last for the rest of a dog’s natural life. Unlike us, dogs use their teeth as the first line of defense but their main function is to crush a variety of different things dogs eat. So let us take a closer look at 4 different types of dog teeth and their functions.
- Incisors: Are the first permanent teeth that erupt and are also the smallest of all dog teeth. They are located at the front of a dog’s mouth and he should have six on top and six on the bottom jaw. Dogs use these teeth to tear meat from the bone and to chew mats or dirt from their coats. So the next time you see your dog chewing his coat you will know that he does so with his incisors.
- Canines: Also known as fangs, are the longest of all teeth and are situated on the sides of a dog’s mouth. A dog has two of these pointed teeth on the top and two on the bottom. The canines are used to puncture and break the skin when a dog bites. Dogs use them when they want to get a hold of something, a bone or some type of prey.
- Premolars: Are located just behind canines on both sides of a dog’s mouth. A dog has 8 premolars on top and 8 on the bottom, which means 4 per one side of the mouth. Premolars are sharp-edged teeth that are used for shearing. You will notice that when you give a treat or a bone to your dog that he is chewing with the side of his mouth using his premolars. These are the teeth that make holes in all of your dog’s chewing toys and are the reason why you have to buy a new one every other week.
- Molars: Puppies don’t have molars, and they start erupting the latest, once a puppy changed all of his other “baby teeth. These are heavy duty teeth with flat surfaces and serve mainly for grinding. There are two molars on each side of top jaw, and three on each side on the bottom jaw, which makes 10 in total. Dogs use molars to chew food and in some occasions toys or your favorite shoes.
How To Care For Your Dog’s Teeth?
Once a dog gets his permanent set of teeth they should last him for an entire lifetime. That means that you will have to invest time to provide the proper dental care. Dogs rarely develop cavities since they don’t eat sugar and sweets like we do, however they are at risk from other dental problems. According to American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs will have some level of periodontal disease by the age of three. If you ignore your dog’s teeth you are putting him at risk of developing some of the most common canine dental problems.
- Bad breath
- Gingivitis (inflamed gums)
- Periodontal disease (an infection between the teeth and the gum line)
- Tumors and cysts that require surgery or draining
The best way to prevent all of these from happening is to start brushing your dog’s teeth once the permanent set grows. Younger dogs are more accepting of new routines and you have a better chance of teaching your dog that teeth brushing isn’t a big deal. This doesn’t mean that there is no way to teach an adult or even an older dog to stay calm during teeth brushing. You will just have to be patient and invest some time and energy to gradually get your dog to welcome a new routine. You should use canine toothpaste since ours contain fluoride which can be dangerous when swollen. Dog toothbrushes are made with soft bristles that won’t irritate the gums, but you can also use a children toothbrush as an alternative. Many owners think that brushing once a week or once a month is enough and that their dogs are protected from all dental troubles. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and ideally, a dog needs to have his teeth brushed once a day. We know that this seems excessive, but after 24 hours bacteria builds up and creates calculus which is later hard to remove completely. So stop making excuses if your dog tolerates teeth brushing and start cleaning his teeth every day. Luckily for all of us, dental disease doesn’t occur in one day and there is plenty of time to correct things. Following signs are indicative that you need to get more proactive regarding your dog’s dental hygiene.
- Broken teeth
- Bad breath
- Bloody saliva
- Excessive drooling
- Decreased appetite
- Swollen and bleeding gums
- A brownish tartar buildup around the gum line
What Are The Alternatives To Teeth Brushing?
For some dogs teeth brushing isn’t an option no matter how hard you try. This can make you feel discouraged and out of moves but that isn’t the case.
Dry dog food
Feeding kibble opposed to canned dog food can help scrub your dog’s teeth thus preventing plaque and tartar deposits. You can use a regular dry dog food or opt for a special dental kibble that is bigger and made to promote dental health.
Various liquors and water additives are also available and they help kill the bacteria in the mouth, hence keeping the breath fresh and tartar at bay.
Treats and toys
Dental treats and toys are a huge thing right now, and most of them are proven to be effective in removing plaque and tartar. You can choose nylon, rawhides, sticks, and a variety of other product that will keep your dog entertained while at the same time keeping his teeth healthy.
Dogs that have their teeth brushed regularly can delay a visit to the vet for professional teeth cleaning, but all others should have the procedure done once a year. This means that a dog will be put under general anesthesia while his teeth are scaled and polished.The procedure doesn’t come without risks, so you should ask around and see if your pup is a good candidate for it. Also, be prepared for spending some serious money for it, since on average professional teeth cleaning costs around $300.
All of the mentioned alternatives, with the exception of teeth cleaning, aren’t a match to regular teeth brushing even if combined. So be patient and teach your dog to be acceptant of it in order to keep all of his 42 teeth healthy and shiny.
When it comes to dog dental questions, one of the most frequently asked is how many teeth does a dog have? Just like us, dogs are born without teeth and once they reach 2 weeks the first of 28 deciduous teeth erupt. Once a dog reaches 7 months all of 42 of his permanent teeth are fully grown and ready for a life of chewing. And since these are the only teeth your dog is going to have ’till the rest of his life you should take proper care of them. That means regular brushing if possible, and if not all other alternatives and regular professional teeth cleaning. Keep your dog’s dental health under check and help him keep all of his teeth healthy and strong.