A quick guide to puppy teething
Just like us, dogs grow two sets of teeth in their lifetime. They’re born with no teeth, but soon grow puppy teeth which are eventually replaced with a full adult set. And just like human children, puppies go through various teething stages and can sometimes run into a few painful problems.
With our quick guide, discover what happens during puppy teething and find out how you can help make the process as painless as possible.
What are the stages of puppy teething?
- First two weeks after birth: Most puppies are born without teeth, and it’ll take at least a couple of weeks before their puppy teeth start to appear.
- Two to four weeks old: Puppy teeth emerge – first the incisors at the front, followed closely by the premolars and canines.
- Five to eight weeks old: A full set of puppy teeth should be in place by the end of this period, and they can start being weaned onto more solid food.
- Three months old: Puppy teeth start being pushed out by developing adult teeth.
- Six months old: Your dog should have a full set of adult teeth.
How many teeth does a dog have?
A dog will grow 28 puppy teeth, including 12 incisors, 4 canines and 12 premolars. These will all be replaced by 42 adult teeth, plus an extra 4 premolars and 10 molars.
What should you look out for during puppy teething?
If you think back to your own childhood, you may remember a certain degree of soreness and an aching jaw associated with your new teeth coming through. It’s quite likely your puppy will experience the same thing while their puppy teeth come through, followed by their adult teeth just a month or so later.
A common outward sign of this teething discomfort is the puppy’s desire to chew on anything they can find – furniture, shoes, even your hand. A certain amount of training and providing them with chew toys can help prevent your puppy targeting you or your possessions with its new gnashers.
For the most part, chewing like this is nothing to worry about, as it’s just a sign of mild soreness and your puppy experimenting with their new teeth. But it’s wise to keep an eye out for any behaviour or symptoms that might indicate a more serious problem – like facial swelling, your puppy rubbing its face on the ground or with its paws, and changes in eating habits.
You should also watch out for any baby teeth that don’t fall out. If this happens, the puppy may experience a ‘doubling-up’ of teeth as the adult ones appear, with the risk of new teeth being pushed out of alignment. If you spot this, your vet should be able to remove any stubborn baby teeth to give the new ones space to grow.
If you notice any blood on your puppy’s chew toys, a build-up of brown tartar on their teeth, or inflamed gums, it’s worth consulting your vet. These symptoms could be signs of periodontal disease – a frequent problem for dogs.
How can you help keep puppy teeth healthy?
Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly – at least once or twice a week – will help to keep their teeth and gums in good condition and their breath less offensive. You should use a soft toothbrush and special canine toothpaste, as toothpaste made for people can cause stomach upsets in dogs.
There are also dog treats on the market which are designed to help reduce plaque when your dog chews on them.
Please note: Your puppy will only be covered for dental treatment that’s a direct result of an accident or injury, depending on your level of cover. It’s also worth noting that teeth cleaning is not covered under our policies.