When you think about it, there’s not much difference between human baby teeth and puppy teeth in terms of development and aftercare – there’s teething, falling out, and the general aftercare.
Everything You Need to Know About Puppy Teeth
Just like with our babies, taking care of our puppies will also take a lot of our energies and efforts. This also includes putting in the time and willingness to research what to do and what not to do. If you’re here reading this now, you’ve just taken the first step!
Among everything that you have to take into account in terms of puppy care, their teeth are probably one of the last things you’ll remember. There’s the type of food you’ll give them, when to feed them, how to train them, and socializing with them. However, puppy dental care is just as important as these. Just like us, humans, good oral hygiene helps puppies from contracting diseases especially when they stick their noses and mouths on almost everything they see and smell.
When do puppies get their teeth?
At around two to four weeks of their birth, their teeth will have started to emerge from their gums gradually. By their fifth to the tenth week, all of the baby teeth should be out. Generally, puppies have about 28 temporary teeth that are called puppy teeth or milk teeth.
A dog’s teeth are very sharp and we’re sure that most dog owners would agree – those “playful” bites don’t feel playful at all. Puppies also have sharp ones even at a young age so be careful when taking a look at their mouths. They are designed for them to determine what is alive and what isn’t. Likewise, it’s also for gauging the pressure they should use when playing with other dogs or people. As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to keep them in check and train them not to bite people and other animals. Just remember that this isn’t some type of aggressive behavior – they just need to be trained.
The first puppy teeth to appear are the incisors both on the top and bottom, followed by the canines. Around the third to sixth week, their premolars will start to appear behind the canines. But take note that not every dog’s teeth development progresses in this way. If your puppy grows their teeth in a different order, you don’t have to worry too much.
When do puppies lose their baby teeth?
At around the eighth to sixteenth week, your puppies will start losing their little puppy teeth so don’t be surprised when you see crumb-like pieces around your home. The adult teeth that are growing will push the puppy teeth out as a replacement. Much like their puppy teeth growth, there is also a common sequence: incisors, canine, and the premolars.
By the sixth to eighth month, this process will have finished with your puppy having a full set of 42 adult teeth – 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars in total.
At the start of this puppy teeth developmental stage, take this as an opportunity to familiarize your dog with getting their mouth and teeth touched. This is especially useful for when you need to brush their teeth regularly, play with toys, and even when they have something strange in their mouth. Regular veterinarian check-ups and oral examinations will be easier and more hassle-free for everyone including your puppy. Of course, on top of all these benefits, you will have a better relationship with your dog as this is also a form of socialization. By doing this, you’ll be hitting more than two birds with one stone!
What do I do when my puppy starts teething?
Just like our babies, puppies also go through teething when their adult teeth are starting to grow out. If you’ve ever experienced taking care of a teething baby, we’re sure you know how difficult and uncomfortable it is for them. However, for puppies, they’ll be teething twice – once for their puppy teeth and another with their adult teeth.
Some symptoms of puppy teething include:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bleeding gums
- Poor appetite
- Upset stomach
As alarming as these symptoms may sound, these are actually normal when it comes to puppy teething. However, if you notice that there is an excessive amount of drool and blood, prolonged sickness, or any of the like, seek help from your veterinarian. Another sign that you should see the vet is when your puppy is not doing normal activities anymore such as eating, drinking, socializing, grooming, and exploring.
During this period, your puppy will need to have something to chew on to relieve the discomfort in their mouth. It’s recommended that you get them safe toys that will allow them to enjoy and bond with you as you play with them.
Toys made of hard nylon or rubber, especially the ones that you can fill with water and freeze, are the highly recommended ones. Frozen toys will relieve your puppy’s sore gums more effectively. Just make sure that these toys are in good condition; when you see that the toy is getting worn out and tiny pieces of plastic, rubber, or any material are falling out, don’t use it anymore.
How do I take care of my puppy’s teeth?
After several weeks, your puppy now finally has a full set of pearly white adult teeth! However, that doesn’t mean that your puppy dental care should stop at teething. As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to keep their teeth sparkly clean!
Unlike humans, dogs don’t really use their tongue to remove pieces of food stuck in between their teeth. However, just like us, they can also develop plaque from eating and chewing other things.
To keep them healthy and clean, use soft toothbrushes so that you won’t accidentally hurt your puppy’s gums. Couple this with the appropriate toothpaste that’s formulated specifically for dogs. Don’t use the toothpaste that you use because it can upset your puppy’s stomach especially when they swallow it. If you have no proper dog toothpaste, you can create your own! Mix a paste made from just two ingredients: baking soda and water.
You should brush your dog’s teeth to prevent them from contracting any potential diseases. It’s easy to overlook such a seemingly inconsequential task but don’t let your preconceived notions fool you. Ask any veterinarian and they’ll tell you to do just that – regular brushing.
Does my puppy have a dental problem?
Help your puppy live a healthy life by ensuring good oral health. Look out for these common warning signs that your puppy might have a dental problem:
- Bad breath
- Changes in eating habits
- Yellow or brown teeth
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Excessive drooling
When in doubt, make sure to always ask your veterinarian. Have them check your puppy’s mouth to see if everything’s healthy and normal.