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Comprehensive Guide to Dog Dental Health and Tooth Care

Understanding Dog Teeth

Dogs have a unique dental structure that changes as they grow from puppies to adults. Knowing about the different types of teeth, their functions, and how to care for them is essential for ensuring your dog’s overall health and well-being.

How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

Puppy Teeth:

  • Number: Puppies are born without teeth. By 3–4 weeks of age, they develop 28 baby teeth (deciduous teeth).

  • Development: All puppy teeth typically erupt by 3–5 months of age.

Adult Teeth:

  • Number: Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth. The upper jaw (maxilla) contains 20 teeth, while the lower jaw (mandible) contains 22 teeth.

  • Eruption Age: Permanent teeth erupt between 3–7 months of age.

Types of Dog Teeth and Their Functions


  • Location: Front of the mouth.

  • Function: Used for grabbing objects, nibbling food, and grooming.


  • Location: Just behind the incisors.

  • Function: Long, curved teeth used for tearing and puncturing food.


  • Location: Behind the canines.

  • Function: Chewing teeth used for shearing and grinding food.


  • Location: Back of the mouth.

  • Function: Grinding and chewing food into small pieces for easy swallowing and digestion.

Can Dogs Lose Teeth?

Puppy Tooth Loss:

  • Age: Puppies begin losing their baby teeth around 3–4 months old as their adult teeth grow in.

  • Process: This is a natural transition from puppy teeth to adult teeth.

Adult Tooth Loss:

  • Normal?: It is not normal for adult dogs to lose teeth. If an adult dog is losing teeth, it is often a sign of an underlying health issue.

  • Common Causes:

  • Periodontal Disease: Advanced dental disease can cause tooth loss. This results from inadequate dental care, leading to diseased gums and decaying teeth. Periodontal disease can cause pain and lead to systemic health issues affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys.

  • Trauma: Chewing on hard objects or sustaining an injury can cause teeth to break or fall out.

  • Tooth Decay: Dogs use their teeth for various activities, which can lead to wear and tear and decay over time. Regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential to prevent decay.

Preventing Tooth Loss in Dogs

Dental Hygiene:

  • Regular Brushing: Brush your dog’s teeth daily using pet-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste.

  • Dental Chews: Provide dental chews to help clean teeth and reduce plaque buildup.

  • Professional Cleanings: Schedule regular veterinary dental cleanings to maintain your dog’s oral health.

Diet and Chewing Habits:

  • Avoid Hard Objects: Do not give your dog hard bones or other items that could cause tooth fractures.

  • Balanced Diet: Ensure your dog’s diet supports dental health. Consult with your veterinarian for the best dietary recommendations.

Routine Veterinary Care:

  • Regular Checkups: Use your pet’s annual exam to discuss dental health with your veterinarian. Early detection and treatment of dental issues can prevent more serious problems.

Recognizing Dental Issues

Signs of Dental Problems:

  • Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath can indicate dental disease.

  • Loose or Missing Teeth: Any signs of loose or missing teeth should prompt a visit to the vet.

  • Difficulty Eating: If your dog is having trouble eating, it could be due to dental pain or discomfort.

Importance of Early Intervention:

  • Veterinary Consultation: Don’t wait until your dog stops eating or shows severe symptoms. Early intervention can prevent more serious health issues.


Do Dogs Have Wisdom Teeth?

  • Answer: No, dogs do not have wisdom teeth.

Are Dogs Born with Teeth?

  • Answer: No, puppies are born without visible teeth. Their baby teeth start to erupt at 3–4 weeks of age.

How Many Teeth Do Small Dogs Have?

  • Answer: Small dogs have 42 teeth, just like all adult dogs.

What Are Retained Teeth?

  • Answer: Retained deciduous teeth are baby teeth that do not fall out on their own. They can cause overcrowding and dental issues. Your veterinarian may recommend their surgical removal to prevent future problems.

By understanding the dental needs of your dog and ensuring proper care, you can help maintain their oral health and overall well-being. For more detailed information and expert advice, visit or call us at 800-658-5308. We are dedicated to providing the best care for your pets through expert advice and comprehensive veterinary services.

dog getting teeth brushed
dog getting teeth brushed


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