If you have a pup then staying vigilant when it comes to their oral health is important. Here, our Argyle vets share some of the reasons why your pup may lose their teeth and provide an answer to how many teeth dogs should have.
How many teeth should a dog actually have?
While dogs have a standard number of teeth, this number changes as they move from puppyhood into adulthood.
How many teeth does a puppy have?
While your puppy will not have any teeth at all when it is first born, their teeth will begin to appear when they reach 3 - 4 weeks of age. By 3-5 months of age, they should have all 28 puppy teeth, including incisors, canines, and premolars.
How many adult teeth can I expect my dog to have?
Once your dog is 3 - 7 months of age you should see their baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth should move into place. Adult dogs should have 42 permanent teeth, as compared to humans who have 32 teeth.
Their upper jaw has 20 teeth, while their lower jaw has 22 teeth.
What are the different types of teeth?
Each type of tooth a dog has—incisor, canine, premolar, and molar—serves its own purpose. Here is what each type of tooth does and where these teeth are located in your dog's mouth:
What is the most visible part of your dog's smile? The teeth's incisors! These are the small teeth directly in front of the upper and lower jaws. These are good for both grooming their fur and scraping bones for any meat.
The canines, or "fangs," are a pair of long, pointed, and extremely sharp teeth located behind the incisors. Canine teeth tear into meat and grip objects. Dogs can also show these teeth if they feel threatened or defensive, which is why understanding dog body language is critical.
On either side of a dog's jaw on both the top and bottom are wide pre-molars, or carnassials. A lot of shredding and chewing is done with these teeth, which is why they're relatively sharp.
At the very back of a dog's mouth, above and below, are flat molars. These teeth are ideal for grinding down larger harder things like their kibble.
What are some of the typical reasons that a dog may lose their teeth?
OPther than the natural transition from puppy teeth to adult teeth, your dog should not lose teeth at any other time. If you notice that your dog is losing their adult teeth, you should contact your vet and schedule a dental appointment.
Here are some of the causes of lost teeth in dogs that require veterinary dental care:
- Periodontal Disease - The most common reason for a dog to lose teeth is because of advanced dental disease in its mouth. Without proper dental care—like brushing and veterinary dental cleanings—periodontal disease can lead to diseased gums and decaying teeth.
- Trauma - Your dog’s teeth can be lost through the process of trauma—whether it’s caused by chewing something or they sustain another injury to their mouth. Some of the most common items that can cause fractures or loss of teeth are made from dense mineral or bone material. To protect your dog’s teeth, it is best to avoid giving your dog things such as beef bones or pork bones, as these materials can be too hard and commonly result in fractures and tooth damage.
- Tooth Decay - Dog teeth decay and wear and tear at a much faster rate than human teeth. They use their teeth to pick up, carry, and chew objects. Furthermore, slobbery toys, hair, dirt, feces, and food all pass through a dog's mouth. All of this can have an impact on their dental health. Some dogs (particularly small breed dogs and Greyhounds) develop tooth decay at an alarming rate, necessitating the extraction of numerous teeth by a veterinarian over the course of their lives.
What can you do to help prevent your dog from losing teeth?
By the time they're 3 years old, more than 80 percent of dogs will develop some type of periodontal condition, including gingivitis. Routine professional dental care and cleanings are crucial to prevent this from happening. Brushing your dog's teeth on a daily basis can help care for their oral health. You may also opt to give your dog one of the various types of dental chews that are on the market to help scrub away plaque.
If you notice that your pooch seems to have trouble chewing or you have other concerns about their teeth or mouth (including bad breath!), talk to your vet to find the right course of action to keep those chompers healthy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.