As pet owners, it’s essential to understand the importance of maintaining your dog’s dental health. Keeping your furry friends’ teeth clean and strong not only helps in preventing various dental issues but also contributes to their overall well-being. Dog teeth play a crucial role in their daily lives, from tearing food apart to breaking and grinding it down for proper digestion. Whether you’re a new pet parent or an experienced dog lover, knowing the ins and outs of canine dental care is vital in ensuring a happy and healthy pup!

Size and breed often affect the dental needs of dogs. Small dogs, such as Chihuahuas, may require special care and attention due to their unique dental structure. Aging dogs can also face dental challenges as their teeth weaken with time. Providing your dog with a balanced diet and regularly monitoring their oral health is a significant step towards ensuring your pet’s teeth remain strong and functional throughout their life. So, buckle up and join us in exploring everything you need to know about dog teeth and how to keep them in tip-top shape!

Dog Milk Teeth

Dogs are born without teeth, but by the time they reach around 3 weeks of age, their first milk teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, begin to emerge. Puppies have a total of 28 baby teeth, comprising 14 upper teeth and 14 lower teeth, which include 4 canines, 12 incisors, and 12 premolars. However, molars are not present in the puppy stage. The first tooth to show up is typically a canine tooth, often referred to as “fangs.” The remaining milk teeth generally surface when the puppy is between 3 to 5 months old.

During the teething period, when their milk teeth erupt and adult teeth eventually displace them, puppies undergo discomfort. This is due to the sharpness of their milk teeth, which can be painful. In order to alleviate the pain, puppies tend to chew on their toys or other objects they are not supposed to. It is not unusual for teething puppies to drool excessively, a natural response to pain in their gums and the increased chewing activity.

To help puppies during their teething phase, consider providing:

  • Treats: Soft and chewy treats can help alleviate teething discomfort.
  • Chew toys: Durable chew toys can provide relief, helping take their mind off the pain.
  • Dental chews: Dental chews are not only great for teething puppies but can also help promote oral health.

It is essential to be mindful of offering proper chewing options to your teething puppy to prevent them from developing a habit of nipping or biting inappropriately.

Dog Adult Teeth


Incisors are the teeth at the front of a dog’s mouth, with six in the upper jaw and six in the lower jaw. These teeth are used for grasping or scraping food, such as removing meat from a bone. Dogs also use their incisors to groom themselves, nibbling to eliminate parasites from their fur. Incisors are often some of the first permanent teeth to emerge.


Canine teeth are the long, pointed, and curved teeth often referred to as “fangs.” Dogs have two upper and two lower canine teeth, which are used for tearing food. Dogs also frequently use their canine teeth to hold toys or bones. These teeth typically appear between 5 and 6 months of age and have a single root.


Located behind the canines, premolars are used for chewing food. Dogs often chew bones or treats on the side of their mouth where these teeth are located. They have eight premolars on the top jaw and eight on the bottom. Premolars usually emerge between 4 and 6 months of age, each having one or two roots for stability.


Molars are also used for chewing and grinding food into smaller pieces, bearing a resemblance to premolars. These teeth are utilized by dogs for breaking down kibble and other tough, dry foods. Positioned behind the premolars and set furthest back in the jaw, dogs have six molars on their upper jaw and four on the bottom. Molars emerge between 4 and 7 months of age, with one to three roots per molar.

Dog Dental Problems

Dogs, just like humans, can experience dental issues due to plaque buildup. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth is crucial in preventing the development of gum disease, infections, or even tooth loss. Introducing brushing at a young age helps puppies maintain good oral hygiene as they grow older.

Sometimes, dogs face a condition called persistent teeth, wherein their milk tooth doesn’t fall out even when the adult tooth has started to emerge. This issue can cause overcrowding or push the adult tooth into an abnormal position. As a result, dogs may struggle with an abnormal bite, leading to difficulties in eating. Smaller breeds, such as Yorkshire terriers and Chihuahuas, are more prone to persistent teeth, and it’s recommended to consult a veterinarian for the possible removal of the milk tooth.

People often mistakenly use the term “retained teeth” for persistent teeth. Retained teeth refer to cases where the milk tooth remains present but the adult tooth hasn’t erupted as expected. Such cases are relatively rare.

Apart from brushing, managing your dog’s dental problems also includes:

  • Using enzymatic toothpaste specifically designed for dogs
  • Scheduling regular dental check-ups with a veterinarian
  • Providing dog-safe dental chews to promote oral hygiene
  • Considering professional teeth cleaning under anesthesia for scaling and polishing

Taking care of your dog’s dental health is a crucial aspect of their overall well-being. By keeping their teeth clean and monitoring for signs of dental disease, such as bad breath, swollen gums, drooling, or tooth loss, you can ensure they maintain a healthy smile and prevent long-term issues. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and using dental-care products specifically designed for dogs can significantly help in preventing plaque build-up and promoting good oral hygiene.

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