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.
Caring For Your Puppy’s Teeth
Making sure your dog’s teeth are properly looked after will go a long way towards keeping him healthy for life.
Canine’s canine care
Healthy teeth are extremely important to a puppy’s wellbeing. They help him chew, of course, but they are also the way your puppy picks up and carries items. Which means oral hygiene should be a key part of caring for your dog’s health.
Puppy dental care
Puppies have 28 temporary teeth (called puppy teeth or milk teeth) that start coming in at about four weeks of age. They generally fall out between 14 and 30 weeks, when they are replaced by 42 adult teeth.
If you have a puppy in this age range, keep the following in mind:
– Puppies who are teething may eat slightly less and chew more. Hard rubber or rawhide toys made especially for dogs are a good investment to help prevent household damage.
– Even though the puppy teeth don’t normally last long enough to have any serious problems, it’s important to get your young puppy used to a dental care regime. Gently reach into his mouth and rub his gums and teeth. This will get him used to having someone’s fingers in his mouth and will make future dental care much easier.
– Gently rub your puppy’s teeth with a soft cloth or a toothbrush approved for use with dogs and puppies.
– Use a toothpaste that is specially formulated for dogs. These come in a variety of dog-friendly flavours. NEVER use human toothpaste.
– If puppy teeth linger much longer than 30 weeks, take your puppy to the vet as these teeth may need to be removed.
Your Puppy: What to Expect at 4 to 6 Months
Your furry friend is growing up. In human years she would be between 6 and 10 years old, depending on her breed. And like her human counterparts, she’s playful, curious and perhaps even a little willful. Here’s what you can expect over the next few months.
Physical and Mental Development
By 5 months, your puppy’s house training should be well established, and she should be able to wait longer between trips outside. She will average four to six trips daily and gradually decrease to three or four as she enters adulthood.
During this period of physical development, your dog will mature sexually. By 5 months old, a male puppy can produce sperm; by 6 months, a female is able to have her first litter. If you don’t plan to breed your dog, talk with your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your puppy as soon as possible. Spaying or neutering your pet will eliminate the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, reduce roaming tendencies, and lessen many unwanted aggressive behaviors, as well as help prevent the development of many common reproductive cancers. It is highly recommended that you spay your female dog before her first heat to obtain some of the associated health benefits.
During the next several months, your puppy will begin to lose her baby, or deciduous, teeth. They fall out to make way for her adult teeth. You might find them on the carpet or lodged in her favorite chew toy, or you may not find them at all. Offer appropriate chew toys to ease her teething. An ice cube treat may be greatly appreciated now. Your veterinarian will monitor your pet’s mouth to make sure all of the baby teeth fall out. Sometimes pets suffer from a retained deciduous tooth. This simply means the baby tooth didn’t fall out. The veterinarian will remove the tooth to prevent infection and make room for the adult tooth.