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When do puppies lose their teeth?
Having a puppy can feel like having a baby, and you must keep your new fur friend under constant supervision as it explores its new home.
Another thing that human children and puppies have in common is that they lose their teeth to make room for adult teeth.
This can come as a surprise to first-time puppy owners. Here is a guide to teething and puppy tooth loss.
Why Puppies Lose Their Teeth
Young puppies can be incredibly bitey, and many dog owners jokingly refer to their young pups as land sharks.
Puppy teeth are small and razor-sharp, but you may have noticed that adult dogs don’t have teeth quite as sharp.
The reason is that puppies lose their puppy teeth, just like babies, and grow a new adult set.
Puppy teeth are also known as deciduous or primary teeth, and these are supposed to fall out.
If it has been a while since you had a puppy, or if this is your first time, you might find the concept a little strange.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself if your puppy will become completely toothless.
How will it eat? Don’t worry, that’s not how it works!
Adult teeth tend to come in quickly, and they usually come in one by one so that by the time your puppy has lost all its teeth, the adult pearly whites are already in place.
Signs of a Teething Puppy
Is your puppy teething? Here are some of the most common signs.
Biting and Chewing
One of the reasons why puppies bite so much is because they are experiencing teething-related discomfort.
Their gums itch and might even hurt as new teeth grow, just like with babies, and the instinct of many young dogs is to bite and chew for relief.
If your beloved fur ball is becoming extra bitey, you can almost be sure that the teething process has sped up its pace.
The best thing you can do is to provide suitable alternatives to prevent having your furniture, rugs, or hands chewed up.
The market is full of puppy chew toys often softer than adult chew dog toys and, therefore, suitable for sensitive mouths. You can also make your own puppy chew toys or freeze toys in the freezer for additional relief.
Blood on Toys
Finding blood on your puppy’s favorite toys can be scary, and you wouldn’t be the first to panic!
But, don’t worry, it is actually normal. When puppies are teething, their gums bleed.
It can get worse when they are chewing on something or when a tooth is about to fall out, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that chewing is bad.
You might not remember it, but your gums bled too when you lost your baby teeth as a child.
You’ll likely notice a foul smell coming from your puppy’s mouth at this stage.
Bad breath in puppies isn’t usually a cause for concern, especially when teething.
While it sounds unpleasant, dried (and fresh) blood smells, and it’s inevitable for a few weeks while your four-legged fur friend is going through the process.
Finding Puppy Teeth in Unexpected Places
Most lost puppy teeth go unnoticed, as puppies usually swallow them during play or out of surprise as they come loose.
This is not harmful or anything to worry about.
On occasion, you might find one lying on the floor!
Now that you know it’s supposed to happen, it hopefully won’t come as too much of a shock.
Some dog owners choose to save their puppy’s lost teeth, but it is also perfectly fine to throw them away.
Puppy Teething and Toothloss Timeline
Let’s look at when puppies lose their teeth and when you can expect the extra biting, bloody gums, and teeth showing up where you least expect it.
To give you a better overview, we will start already before most puppies move to their forever homes which are when their baby teeth come in.
Puppies, like most other animals, are born without teeth.
They spend the first couple of weeks nursing and relying on their mother, and their baby teeth usually start coming out when they are between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on the breed and individual puppy.
It is not until the puppy is 5-6 weeks old that the baby teeth are getting close to being fully developed, and most young dogs (except for a few breeds) have 28 tiny baby teeth split between the upper and the lower jaw.
They start getting used to eating solid puppy food instead of nursing at this age.
At this stage in a puppy’s life, it might have already moved in with you! It’s forever family.
Puppies start losing their puppy teeth again around the age of 12 weeks, and as you can see, they don’t keep their baby teeth for very long.
It can be a slow process in the beginning, and you might not see any lost teeth at all, but as the weeks go by, more and more will start coming out.
Be patient with your puppy here, and know that biting and chewing is normal.
It can be stressful and frustrating, but just know that your puppy is growing a whole new set of teeth.
6 Months +
Most puppies are almost done teething around the age of six months, while some may take slightly longer to regrow all of their teeth.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s mouth at this age to ensure they’ve all come out the way they should.
You will sometimes notice double teeth—where the new tooth has started growing before the old one has come out.
This is also normal, but there are times when the baby tooth doesn’t fall out on its own.
If your puppy still has double canines by the time it is over 6 months, you might want to double-check with a veterinarian to see what the best course of action is.
What Do Puppy Teeth Look Like When They Fall Out?
Puppy teeth look different than adult teeth.
They are smaller, especially on small breed dogs, and could be so small that you never find them.
There is also no visible root, and it’s essentially just a tiny white tooth.
This is good to know so that you don’t think it has broken off when you find it lying there—it’s supposed to look like that.
There can sometimes be blood at the base, which some dog owners may find unpleasant, but it’s nothing to worry about.
Caring for Your Puppy’s Teeth
It is a common belief that you don’t have to care for your puppy’s baby teeth as they will be falling out anyway, but this isn’t always in your dog’s best interest.
Take this opportunity to get your puppy used to having its mouth opened, teeth touched, and perhaps even brushed.
You can start by using your finger without any doggy toothpaste and just practice until the adult teeth come in.
This way, your puppy will be ready to have its permanent teeth properly cared for when the time comes.
Dental care is incredibly important when you have a dog, and while it’s true that puppy teeth will fall out, it’s the perfect moment to start prepping your pup for future dental care.
Once your puppy has its adult teeth, invest in quality dog toothpaste and a small toothbrush.
Keep in mind that you should never use human toothpaste when brushing a dog’s teeth, as Xylitol—a common ingredient—is toxic to dogs.
Making It Easier for a Teething Puppy
Most of the time, the puppy teeth come out on their own, and new teeth grow in, but it is always good to make it a habit to monitor your pup’s mouth regularly.
Some puppies may seem restless while teething or be reluctant to eat for a day or two. If this happens, try adding some water to your dog’s kibble to soften it up.
If your puppy seems to be very uncomfortable or not its regular, happy self, you might want to consider a visit to the vet.
Teething is normal, and so is finding blood on toys and furniture, a change in appetite, and even some stomach upset.
Still, puppies are sensitive, and any medical concern should be consulted with a licensed veterinarian.
Now you know! Teething usually starts around 12 weeks and ends when the puppy is 6-7 months old.
The smartest thing to do is to know what to expect, have plenty of puppy-safe chew toys available, be patient and follow up with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Every puppy loses its baby teeth, and while some appear completely unphased by it, other puppies may show some of the signs mentioned in this article.
Congratulations, your puppy is growing up!
Whether you find lost teeth, your puppy swallows them, choose to keep them, or throws them away—it is a big milestone in a young dog’s life.
Try making your pup some homemade, dog-friendly ice cream to celebrate (and to soothe those sore gums)!