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This review guide was updated in February 2019.
Many aspiring dog owners and those that have already begun their journey with their new furry friend often wonder, do dogs lose their baby teeth?
The simple answer is yes!
In fact, dogs are very similar to humans when it comes to dental development meaning proper preparation and dental care is essential for a happy pup!
If you have recently adopted a dog, there are a few milestones to look for concerning your new dogs developing teeth.
Just like humans, dogs develop two sets of teeth, one they lose and one they get to keep…dog breath and all.
When do Dogs grow baby teeth?
Dogs, like humans, are born without teeth, and for the first two weeks of life, your dog will be toothless…no, not the dragon.
The initial weeks after the dog’s birth, the mother is crucial.
Not only does the mother provide the newborn dog with essential vitamin and mineral rich milk, but the mother also nurtures and protects the infant dog.
Most dog owners will never meet their pup at this stage of development, but if your dog is 0-2 weeks old, it is critical that the newborn pup is fed commercial canine milk replacer.
It is also vital that the milk replacer is formulated for puppies, as other kinds of milk replacer can cause nausea and diarrhea. Newborn pups need to be bottle or syringe fed every few hours for up to 5 weeks.
In weeks 3 and 4 the dog’s teeth will start growing through their gums.
This short period is painful for the little puppy, and in many cases, the dog will begin to explore chewing household items to ease the discomfort caused by the teething process
Again, most dog breeders will continue to allow the dog to develop at this stage but if your dog is 3-4 weeks old be sure to purchase plenty of chew toys with varying textures, this will ease the dog’s teething process and probably save you money on replacement furniture!
At weeks 5 and 6 most of the dog’s baby teeth will have formed.
The baby teeth grow with the incisors (or the front four teeth) first, followed by the canines (the sharper outer teeth).
Your dog will have a total of 28 baby teeth!
At this stage, it will be time to wean the dog away from solely drinking milk and onto soft dog food. Be sure to begin this process slowly, allow the dog as much milk as is needed while also giving them plenty of soft dog food to scarf down.
It is also essential to get your puppy familiar with you touching the inside of her mouth as soon as possible. Getting the dog comfortable with your touch early on will make brushing their teeth and vet visits much easier in the future.
You should periodically monitor how your dog is reacting to chewing and eating if the dog is eating correctly and has no trouble chewing toys, things are moving along smoothly.
When do Dogs lose their baby teeth?
During the 8-16-week period, you may start to find small pebble-sized teeth laying loose on your kitchen or bathroom floor, this is normal, and it is an indicator that your dog is shedding their baby teeth and allowing their permanent adult set to grow in.
Your dog will first lose their incisors, the adult molars and canines will begin to appear soon after.
This is an extremely painful period for your pup similar to the pain a baby feels during the teething process.
It is highly recommended that the dog is taken to visit the vet to make sure that the teeth are correctly forming and there are no infections.
If you haven’t already gotten the dog chew toys, this is a must as the dog will need firm and varying textures to chew on to lessen the pain of teething (it’s either the chew toys or your sofa).
When your dog reaches the 4-6 month mark, she should have shed all of her baby teeth to make room for her new shiny adult teeth!
Instead of the 28 baby teeth, your pup should now have around 42 teeth depending on the breed!
Now it is safe for your dog to eat soft and hard foods as well as drink milk.
After all the adult teeth have grown, it is encouraged to take the dog to the vet to make sure all of the baby teeth have fallen out as allowing them to remain can cause pain and infection.
Preventative and Future Dental Care
The most important part of keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is regularly brushing them.
Brushing once daily is recommended, but if your dog is uncomfortable with daily cleaning a few days a week can make a huge difference in your dog’s dental health, it can also save you thousands of dollars by helping you avoid unnecessary vet visits.
If you’re wondering: what kind of toothbrush do I use? That’s a fairly common question for new dog owners.
A human toothbrush with extremely soft bristles will work just fine, if your dog is a smaller breed, purchase a children’s brush as a large toothbrush can often hurt their gums.
Avoid using toothpaste made for humans, use either warm water or a toothpaste made especially for dogs.
Dogs will swallow the toothpaste, and the high level of fluoride and dental chemicals can make the dog sick.
If you notice your dog is having trouble eating, refuses to chew and play with toys, or is avoiding using their mouth, take them to the vet as soon as possible as their teeth may have grown improperly, or there is an infection.
Regular vet visits are highly encouraged, but if you have routinely brushed your dog’s teeth and made sure the teeth grew in correctly, costly vet visits can be avoided.
The VOHC is an independent group who verifies claims about dental health safety for dogs, so one can be sure that foods bought with VOHC approval are pet safe and beneficial for good dental health.