When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth?
The Process Explained
Taking care of your first puppy is a learning process. Countless questions start to pop up, and one of them is the issue of puppy teeth. Do dogs lose their baby teeth? Yes, they do.
When do puppies lose their teeth? Well, there is no exact answer. The deciduous teeth might start falling as early as 2 months of age, and the process will last until the puppy is approximately 6 months old.
Puppy teething is a lengthy process because not all permanent teeth emerge at the same time. If you want to learn more about baby teeth in puppies and the process of losing them, keep reading. We’ll try to answer all the tricky questions that might be popping up in your head right now.
Puppy Teething Timeline
To help you get a better idea of the teething process during which puppies lose their teeth, here is a brief timeline that covers all the phases:
Weeks 2 - 4 - Puppy teeth start coming out
Puppies start growing their teeth very young. When they are only 2 weeks old and their eyes start opening, their teeth will start growing too. This might happen a bit later for some, and that’s ok.
Week 6 - 10 A Full Set of Puppy Teeth
By week 10, all of your puppy's baby teeth should be out. This most commonly happens already by week 6. The puppy will typically still be with its mother at this time. Once the baby teeth are out, it’s time for the puppy to transition from mother’s milk to puppy food and begin its independent life.
Weeks 12 - 16 - Puppy Teeth Start Falling Out
Typically, baby teeth will start falling out at 3 to 4 months of age, but vets say that it can happen even a month earlier for some dogs (1). So, if you start seeing tiny teeth around, don’t be alarmed. They look somewhat like grains of rice.
6 Months - All Deciduous Teeth Should Have Fallen Out
As soon as the deciduous teeth start falling out, the permanent set of teeth will start to emerge. This is a process that can last many months, but it is usually finished by the time the puppy turns 6 months of age.
The process, however, can begin already at about two months of age, although the 4 month mark is more common. The incisor teeth (the front teeth) are usually the ones that emerge first.
This is an approximate timeline of emerging adult teeth in dogs:
As you can see, losing the puppy teeth is not a big event that happens at a predetermined moment. Rather, the teeth will start falling out slowly over time. This is a very special time in a puppy’s life and yes, it can be a bit uncomfortable.
To do your best to help your puppy through the teething process, you need to have as much info as possible.
How Many Puppy Teeth Do Dogs Have?
Do you know how many teeth an adult dog has? Well, you might be surprised to learn that the number is 42 - which is about 10 more than humans! But, don’t get all worried because your puppy does not appear to have that many teeth. The number 42 refers to permanent teeth in adult dogs, and also includes the molars which do not appear as deciduous teeth.
The number of milk teeth most puppies have is 28. These will include 3 groups of teeth: the incisors, which are the front teeth; the canines, also called the wolf teeth or the claws, which are the two largest teeth in each jaw, and the premolars which are set behind the canine teeth. As mentioned, the fourth group are the molars. These are the last teeth to emerge and only appear in one, permanent, version, just like in humans (2).
Finally, some dogs will have more teeth than they should. This is a fairly rare occurrence in dogs, but ‘supernumerary teeth’ do exist. These are simply extra teeth that seem to pop up sometimes. This more commonly happens with permanent teeth than with baby teeth. The extra teeth can sometimes cause issues, but not always (3).
Are There Any Common Problems Involving Puppy Teeth?
It might feel good to know that dental issues involving puppy teeth are very rare. The first set of teeth usually doesn’t cause any problems. The first dental problem that might arise for your puppy is usually the issue of persistent teeth.
Related: Australian Dog Dental Care Guide.
Persistent teeth are simply baby teeth that don’t fall out in time. Sometimes, the permanent tooth will not ‘push out’ the baby tooth. Instead, it will emerge somewhere near it and both teeth will remain present. If not dealt with, this phenomenon can cause further dental issues (4).
“If the (baby) tooth remains in place while the adult tooth is coming in, this causes a disruption in the location of the adult tooth, causing an occlusion problem (a bad bite)” - Dr. Kris Bannon, PetMD (1)
It’s important to remember that a persistent baby tooth or a few of them is not a big deal. However, they do need attention from a vet as they can help get rid of the baby teeth that don’t need to be there (don’t try to do this yourself). Problems with persistent teeth are more common in small dogs than in larger dogs.
Is Losing Teeth Painful for Puppies?
It’s usually hard to tell whether it’s hurting them (dogs are tough), teething will almost certainly be at least a bit uncomfortable for your puppy. Their gums will be sore, but that’s normal (5).
When puppies start losing teeth, it’s not just the baby teeth that are falling out. Their permanent teeth are growing simultaneously and this can be a difficult process. When this happens, you might also notice excessive drooling, a bit of bleeding, and a bit of bad breath from your puppy. All of this is normal.
Teething puppies will always also have the urge to chew on things. During this time, it’s important to allow the puppies to satisfy their chewing urges. Do this by offering them safe chew toys. This will help relieve the pain of growing teeth and probably save your shoes and furniture.
Can Puppies Swallow Their Baby Teeth?
Sometimes, pet parents notice their puppies are losing teeth but the teeth are nowhere to be found. So what gives?
“You may find puppy teeth on the floor, although the puppy is likely to swallow most of the teeth.” - Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC Chief Veterinary Officer (5)
Yes, as bizarre as it sounds, puppies sometimes swallow their teeth. And that’s completely fine!
What To Do When a Puppy Starts Losing Teeth?
So, we figured out when do dogs lose their baby teeth. But is there anything we need to do when this happens? Well, not really. Most of the time puppies manage very well on their own. The best you can do is offer them some chewing toys that are suitable for teething puppies.
In fact, it’s best not to meddle too much with the process. The teeth should fall out on their own, so don’t be tempted to help the puppy by pulling it out. This can damage the root of the tooth which can lead to further problems. If there is a baby tooth that refuses to come out, always let your vet deal with it.
Finally, some vets recommend getting the puppy used to you touching their mouth during this period (1). You don’t need to brush your pup’s teeth at this stage, but this step can pave the way for better dental hygiene later on. You can try gently touching the puppy’s gums and teeth, and along the way, you can check how the teething process is going.
To recap our topic today: yes, puppies do lose their baby teeth. Every puppy grows a set of 28 small and sharp baby teeth. By the time they are 8 weeks old, the baby teeth should be out.
Around the time when the puppy is 4 months old, the baby teeth will start falling out, and by the 6th or 7th month, all of them will fall out and the adult teeth will be setting in.
- PetMD Editorial (Vet Reviewed by J. Coates). April 01, 2016. “When Do Puppies Lose Their Baby Teeth and Stop Teething?”. Retrieved March 29, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/puppy-teeth-everything-you-need-know
- Anastasio, A. “Dog Dental Care: How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?”. AKC. Retrieved March 30, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/how-many-teeth-do-dogs-have/
- Bellows, J. 2010. “The ABCs of veterinary dentistry: S is for supernumerary teeth”. DVM 360. Retrieved March 30, 2022. https://www.dvm360.com/view/abcs-veterinary-dentistry-s-supernumerary-teeth
- Hiscox, L. and Bellows, J. “ Persistent Deciduous Teeth (Baby Teeth) in Dogs”. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved March 30, 2022. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/retained-deciduous-teeth-baby-teeth-in-dogs
- Meyers, H. January 01, 2022. “Puppy Teething and Nipping: A Survival Guide”. AKC. Retrieved March 29, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-teething-and-nipping/