As a pet parent, you should actively monitor your dog's teeth since oral health issues frequently affect dogs over the age of three. Our Clarksville vets are ready to provide you with valuable information on the ideal number of teeth your dog should possess and the reasons behind potential tooth loss.
How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?
As puppies grow into adult dogs, their mouths transform the number of teeth.
Puppies are toothless at birth and don't develop their puppy teeth until they reach 3 to 4 weeks of age. By the time they're 3-5 months old, they should have grown all 28 puppy teeth, which include incisors, canines, and premolars.
The eruption of adult teeth in dogs occurs between 3 and 7 months of age. Dogs typically have 42 permanent teeth, unlike humans, who possess 32 teeth. Their upper jaw houses 20 teeth, whereas their lower jaw accommodates 22 teeth.
Types of Dog Teeth
Each type of tooth in a dog's mouth—incisor, canine, premolar, and molar—serves a specific purpose. Let's explore what each type of tooth does and where these teeth are located in your dog's mouth:
What does your dog's smile reveal most prominently? The incisors of their teeth! These small teeth are located right in front of the upper and lower jaws, and dogs employ them for scraping meat and grooming 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, so understanding dog body language is critical.
Wide premolars, known as carnassials, are located on both the top and bottom of a dog's jaw. These teeth play a crucial role in shredding and chewing because they are relatively sharp.
At the very back of a dog's mouth, above and below, are flat molars. He uses these to crunch on hard things like treats or kibble.
Why Dogs Lose Teeth
Apart from transitioning from puppy teeth to adult teeth, dogs typically do not normally lose their teeth. If you observe your dog losing their adult teeth, you should promptly get in touch with your veterinarian to schedule a dental appointment.
Here are the most prevalent reasons for dogs losing 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 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 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 dogs reach the age of 3, they will have developed some form of periodontal condition, including gingivitis, in more than 80 percent of cases. Brushing your dog's teeth regularly is crucial to prevent dental disease. Additionally, providing dental chews for your pup is a good practice, and you should also schedule periodic visits to the vet for thorough cleanings.
If you observe any signs of difficulty chewing or have concerns about your dog's teeth or mouth, such as bad breath, don't hesitate to consult your vet to determine the appropriate steps for maintaining your pet's dental health.
If you notice your dog experiencing tooth loss, loose or wiggly teeth, or progressively worsening breath, please make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if it seems your pet has lost only one tooth, they likely have more diseased teeth causing discomfort that would benefit from removal. Don't wait until your pet stops eating; utilize your pet's annual exam to discuss their teeth and overall dental health before any issues 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.