Do your dog's teeth fall out?
All your dog's dental care problems answered in one place
Yes dogs teeth do fall out. They fall out for two main reasons, "jaw development and growth" and "periodontal disease".
Jaw development and growth
Jaw development and growth is part of nature for all animals. When pups are born they have both deciduous and permanent teeth buds sitting in their gums. As pups grow, their deciduous teeth erupt first. Later, on their way to becoming adult dogs, the roots of their baby teeth are absorbed and they fall out. Absorption is triggered by permanent teeth growing underneath.
Puppies are born without teeth, just like human babies. Their baby teeth start to erupt around 4 weeks give or take a week either way.
At this young age puppies have very weak jaws and to compensate for this Mother Nature has given them razor sharp teeth. In the wild, razor sharp teeth have their advantages for learning to rip meat, but for suckling Mums, puppies' sharp teeth are very uncomfortable.
Owners need to be aware of this fact and assist the Mums to wean their pups by offering puppies soft puppy food and gradually increasing this to solid food.
Losing deciduous teeth (aka primary, baby, milk, or puppy teeth)
Pups loose their incisors or front teeth first, followed by their premolars. The last teeth to fall out are canines. Keeping their canines until last is designed by nature to perform 2 very important functions:
- Maintaining the arch of their jaws.
- Maintaining teeth spacing.
Depending on the breed of dog, most puppies start to lose their baby teeth at around 4 months. This is very much an individual thing, as some puppies can begin as early as 3 months and others may not begin to lose them until they're 6 months or even older.
Very occasionally, Mother Nature forgets to kick in and some dogs still have some deciduous teeth remaining by the time they reach maturity. In this case seek advice from your vet, who will most probably advise immediate extraction, because extra teeth floating around can put your dogs occlusion out of alignment and interrupt its ability to chew naturally.
Like human children the teething process for puppies continues on and off for several months. It is generally a painful and uncomfortable period and they will look for things to chew and gnaw at.
We recommend that you provide them with plenty of toys or hide chew bars to vent their feelings on, and to keep articles of value, e.g. new shoes tucked away safely in your wardrobe!
Fortunately the teething period does come to an end. Depending upon the breed, by the time puppies have reached 7 months old, give or take a month or two puppies should have a full set of adult teeth. Sometimes adult teeth are referred to as permanent teeth.
Dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. There are 28 deciduous teeth and 42 permanent teeth, also known as their adult teeth. The exception to the rule is the Chow Chow which has 44 permanenet teeth.
Periodontal disease is the main reason why adult dogs' teeth fall out, or are extracted by a veterinarian. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), a staggering 80 percent of dogs show oral disease by age three, making it one of the most common conditions afflicting our canine companions.
The condition starts with Gingivitis and progresses to periodontal disease and in many cases ends with abscesses, extractions and general anesthetics. The subject warrants separate web pages and is covered in Gingivitis, and Periodontal Disease and Anaesthetics in this website.