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Dogs, like most mammals, are born without teeth. The first set of teeth usually begins to emerge when a puppy is around two weeks old. These teeth are called baby teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth.
As a responsible pet parent, it’s important to understand the various stages involved in the puppy teething process. You can then apply that knowledge in helping your cute, little pups go through this often-daunting phase in their early development.
Fortunately for you, we’ve prepared a comprehensive puppy teething timeline. The article will explore the different puppy teething stages, with a special focus on when and how puppies lose their deciduous teeth.
When Do Puppies Lose Their Baby Teeth?
Puppies begin to shed their baby teeth when they’re around twelve weeks old. This process will continue until the dog is about six months of age. By this time, all his deciduous teeth ought to have fallen off, giving way to adult or permanent teeth.
But to fully understand how puppies shed their milk teeth, it would be best to familiarize yourself with the whole puppy teething timeline.
0 to 2 Weeks
As we’ve already indicated, puppies are born without teeth. That’s for the simple reason that they depend exclusively on their mother’s milk, which requires no teeth to obtain. A puppy will stay toothless for the next two weeks.
2 – 5 Weeks
Most puppies will start to grow their milk teeth around this period. It’s not surprising that weaning also typically starts around the same time.
The first sets of teeth to emerge are the incisors. These are the smaller teeth located on a dog’s front jaws.
Incisors are used primarily for tearing meat from bones and for self-grooming. Puppies, as with adult dogs, have 12 incisors – 6 on the upper jaw and 6 on the lower jaw.
4 – 5 Weeks
A dog’s baby canine teeth will begin to erupt during this period. Canines are the long, fang-like teeth located right behind the incisors. They’re used for tearing and shredding flesh.
And just like incisors, puppies have the same number of canines as adult dogs. The teeth are 4 in total – 2 on the upper jaw and 2 on the lower jaw.
As you may have noticed, canines and incisors generally emerge around the same period. However, incisors are still normally the first to come out.
5 – 6 Weeks
Like most mammals, dogs do not have deciduous molars. So, pre-molars are the last category of puppy teeth to emerge.
Pre-molars are mainly used for shearing and crushing food. The teeth generally erupt between the fifth and sixth months.
A puppy’s baby pre-molars are 12 in number – 6 on the upper jaw and 6 on the lower jaw.
Collectively, puppies develop a total of 28 deciduous teeth. They include 12 incisors, 4 canines, and 12 pre-molars.
Puppies will stay with all their deciduous teeth for about six weeks. Around 12 weeks of age, the dog will start to lose their milk teeth.
A puppy’s baby teeth fall off a lot faster than they come in. Thereafter, the dog’s permanent teeth begin to erupt in a similar fashion as their milk teeth.
12 – 13 Weeks
A puppy may lose all his baby teeth in a week. However, some dogs can take up to three weeks to shed all their deciduous teeth.
2 – 4 Months
Adult incisors start to erupt during this period.
3 – 5 Months
Even before all the incisors have erupted, the canines will have already begun to emerge.
5 – 6 Months
Adult pre-molars emerge around this period.
6 – 7 Months
The last adult teeth to come out are the molars.
After the seventh month, you can examine your puppy’s dental formula to determine that all the teeth have formed alright. Any crooked teeth causing an overbite or underbite may have to be removed immediately.
How to Help a Teething Puppy
It doesn’t matter whether your puppy is growing his deciduous or permanent teeth. The whole teething process can be a painful experience to endure. Thankfully, there are several tips you can implement to help your pup cope with teething challenges.
First off, you’ll need to establish that your puppy is indeed in his teething phase. That largely entails watching out for certain tell-tale signs. Common puppy teething symptoms include;
• Red or swollen gums
• Signs of pain and discomfort, especially when chewing
• Increased biting and chewing activities
• Inaction and withdrawal
After observing the above symptoms, the next step is to apply the right interventions.
You can start by providing your dog with enough chew toys. Toys can help to manage the pain and discomfort in their gums, caused by the erupting teeth. They’re also instrumental in keeping the dog physically and mentally stimulated. Just ensure the toys are soft and chewable. Harder toys will only exacerbate teething pain instead of relieving it.
You might also consider frozen treats. Just like chew toys, frozen treats can help numb the pain caused as teeth break out of your puppy’s gums.
Most importantly, pay closer attention to a teething pup. This will ensure the dog doesn’t engage in self-destructive behavior. For instance, allowing your pup to chew metallic surfaces may cause the emerging adult teeth to become chipped or crooked.
Teething is one of the most challenging phases in a dog’s life. Therefore, every pet parent should actively involve themselves in their pup’s life during this period by showering the dog with chew toys, treats, and attention.
Also, this would be the ideal time to start training your dog in healthy dental practices. That’s how you get the animal to become receptive to tooth brushing, flossing, and other forms of dental hygiene.