The average adult dog has about a third more teeth than his human counterpart. Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth compared to a measly 32 average human teeth (not counting any wisdom teeth. Those are “bonus.”). Puppies possess 28 baby teeth while human babies will have 20 deciduous or “baby” teeth.
When do dogs begin to lose their baby teeth?
Puppies begin losing baby teeth around 12 to 16 weeks of age. By four months of age, almost all of a pup’s deciduous teeth have been shed and many of the permanent teeth have already erupted and are in place.
Can you tell how old a dog is by looking at his teeth ?
The answer is, it depends. When dogs are young, you can estimate their age by observing which teeth have erupted. For example, a puppy’s deciduous incisors typically erupt between 4 to 6 weeks of age and the permanent incisors are in place by 12 to 16 weeks. The canines or “fang teeth” emerge at 3 to 5 weeks and the permanent canines by 12 to 16 weeks. By the time the permanent molars are present, the dog is 4 to 6 months old. In general, once a dog reaches six months of age, all or least most of his permanent teeth are visible.
Once the adult teeth are in place by about 6 months, it’s anyone’s guess. I’ve known many veterinarians and dog lovers who claimed they could determine a dog’s age by gauging the amount of wear on the teeth. Maybe. What if a young dog chews on hard things? That could lead to a three-year old stray dog mistakenly being categorized as a senior dog on the basis of worn teeth, resulting in a lower chance of adoption. Not good. I believe this myth of aging dogs by their teeth started with horses. Horses’ teeth erupt over a five-year period (“full mouth at five”), wear at somewhat established rates and you can get a ballpark guess of the age of a horse by careful examination of teeth. The same isn’t true for man’s best friend. Or man. Guessing a dog’s age must include much more than simply the current state of his teeth.
Can dogs regrow adult teeth if they lose them ?
This is a common myth I’m asked about by many dog owners. Unlike species such as sharks, dogs can’t regrow lost or damaged teeth. If they lose an adult tooth, they lose it forever, just as in humans. This is why it’s so important to take good care of your pets’ teeth. They’ve got to last a lifetime. Conversely, I see absolutely no reason for a shark to have its teeth brushed. At least not by me.
Do small or large dogs have more problems with their teeth ?
Dogs both large and small can develop serious oral and periodontal problems. In small dogs with short snouts and cramped jaws, we tend to see more issues with plaque, tartar, and dental calculus buildup. This leads to gum and periodontal disease and eventually painful loose teeth. Small dogs may chip and break tiny teeth if permitted to gnaw on hard toys. Larger breeds tend to experience more traumatic injuries to teeth and gums such as fractured tooth tips, broken jaws, and worn tooth surfaces. If the tooth root becomes exposed, this results in severe pain and death of the tooth. Larger dogs can also develop the same plaque and tartar buildup as well as the gum and periodontal disease of their smaller siblings.
When Will My Dog’s Permanent Teeth Come In ?
Puppies do have very sharp teeth, especially when you feel them grabbing at your naked ankles in a friendly game of “look at me.” Just like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth, puppy and adult. The puppy teeth appear at about three weeks old. Because puppies don’t eat a lot of hard food when they are young and still relying on mother’s milk for nutrition, they don’t have any grinding molars.
At around four months of age — and it can vary from breed to breed and even from dog to dog — the 28 puppy teeth are replaced with 42 adult canine teeth, which include the molars. You will see six incisors on the top and bottom (these are the smaller front teeth located between the large fang-like canines). On the other side of the canines (fangs) along each side of the dog’s mouth you have smaller pre-molars for ripping and tearing, and rounding out the line-up are the larger molars in the back for grinding.
One thing you may not have noticed about your puppy is that the adult teeth may be coming in behind the puppy teeth and you just don’t see them yet. When the adult teeth come in they will push out the little puppy teeth. Sometimes, a puppy tooth will stubbornly stay in place even when the adult tooth is fully emerged behind it. To remedy the situation, you might have to go to the vet and have the baby tooth extracted.
I’ve had puppies who took as long as eight months to lose all their baby teeth. So don’t despair, Mother Nature will soon work her magic and push those razor sharp teeth out. And don’t be surprised if you don’t find them when they fall out. Puppies have a tendency to chew and swallow them without much fanfare.