Do Dogs Lose Their Baby Teeth?

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Puppies are born without any teeth at all but by the time they are about two or three weeks old, sharp little baby teeth are already coming in. Puppies will have all 28 of their baby teeth, called deciduous teeth, by the time they are two months old. If you have played with a young puppy then you know that these teeth are very sharp.

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When puppies start getting their baby teeth, that’s usually a signal for their mother to start weaning them. It starts to be painful for her to nurse them. Plus, once they have some teeth, they are able to start eating some solid puppy food. The weaning process usually takes three or four weeks if you leave it to the mother dog. As the puppies get bigger and get more teeth, the mother dog will start to avoid them when they try to nurse. Some mothers are more obliging and let puppies go on nursing longer than others, but some mother dogs are quite firm about putting a stop to the nursing. Either way, the puppies will be eating solid food by the time they are ready to go to their new homes.

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By the time puppies are eight to 12 weeks old the roots of their baby teeth are already being resorbed into the gums and they are getting ready to shed them. This happens so the puppies can start to get their permanent adult teeth. The baby teeth will begin to loosen and fall out around this time. You probably won’t notice this happening unless you regularly check your puppy’s teeth. When a baby tooth falls out the puppy can swallow it, or it can fall on the ground, or it can get mixed in your puppy’s food. The tooth is very small. Chances are that your puppy doesn’t notice it happening. It’s not painful for a baby tooth to come out.

As your puppy’s baby teeth start to fall out, however, he will begin getting his adult teeth. This is similar to a baby getting his permanent teeth. The same way cutting new teeth hurts for a baby, it can also be uncomfortable for a puppy. Many puppies chew on things when they are teething to relieve the discomfort and to help the new teeth erupt. By the time your puppy is about eight months old he should have all of his adult teeth. Most adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth.

You can help your puppy when he’s teething by providing him with lots of safe things to chew on. Give him toys and chew things made of different textures – hard, soft, furry, nubby. Rope toys, Nylabones, Kongs, inexpensive stuffed animals, and other toys and chews are good choices for puppies when they are chewing. Giving your puppy lots of things to chew on is also a good way to keep him from chewing on some of your expensive belongings like furniture or woodwork.

Most dogs shed their puppy teeth and get their adult teeth without any problems. You can check your puppy’s teeth to make sure the adult teeth are coming in the way they should. If you notice any problems, take your puppy to the vet so he or she can see if something is wrong.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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