As a dog owner, watching your furry friend's teeth is crucial because problems are quite common in dogs older than three years. Our Douglasville vets are here to provide you with information about your dog's teeth count and reason for tooth loss.
How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?
A dog's teeth count changes as they grow from puppies to adults.
Puppies are born toothless, and their puppy teeth do not appear until they are 3 to 4 weeks old. By 3-5 months of age, they should have all 28 puppy teeth, including incisors, canines, and premolars.
dogs typically get their adult teeth between 3-7 months old. Unlike humans, who have 32 teeth, adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth.
Their upper jaw has 20 teeth, while their lower jaw has 22 teeth.
Types of Dog 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. They use them to scrape at meat and groom their coats.
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.
Inside a dog's mouth, there are wide teeth called premolars on the top and bottom. These teeth are used for shredding and chewing because they are quite sharp.
At the very back of a dog's mouth, above and below, are flat molars. He uses these to crunch on hard things, such as treats or kibble.
Why Dogs Lose Teeth
Usually, dogs don't lose their adult teeth except during the transition from puppy teeth. If you see your dog losing adult teeth, it's important to reach out to your vet and book a dental check.
Here are the main reasons dogs might lose their adult teeth.
- Periodontal Disease - The most common reason a dog loses teeth is 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 sustaining 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 them 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 much faster 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 throughout their lives.
How To Prevent Dogs From Losing Their Teeth
By the time your dog reaches 3 years old, over 80 percent of them will develop some dental issue, like gingivitis. To keep their teeth healthy, it's essential to brush them regularly. Giving your pup dental chews is a good idea, and you should also schedule occasional vet cleanings.
If you notice that your dog 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.
If your dog loses teeth, has loose ones, or has increasingly bad breath, don't wait. Make a vet appointment promptly. Even if it seems like just one tooth is lost, there might be more troubled teeth causing discomfort. Don't wait until your pet stops eating; discuss their dental health during their yearly check-up before any problems arise.
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.