Crop owner showing teeth of purebred dog outdoors
Pet Health

How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have? Expert Guide 2024

As a loving dog enthusiast, ensuring the health and happiness of your dog is paramount. But amidst the wagging tails and playful barks, have you ever considered the health of their sparkling teeth? Since dental dilemmas often arise in dogs beyond their pup years, staying enlightened is crucial. This leaves us with the question, how many teeth do dogs have? Join us as we shed light on the count of teeth your canine should have and the underlying causes of any missing ones.

Owner showing how many teeth do dogs have

How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

As your furry friend transitions from a young pup to a full-grown adult, their dental structure changes significantly.

Teeth in Puppies

When born, puppies are without teeth. It’s not until they hit the 3 to 4-week mark that their first set of teeth begin to emerge. By the time they’re between 3-5 months old, they’ll be sporting a complete set of 28 baby teeth: incisors, canines, and premolars.

Teeth in Adult Dogs

Adult canines begin to get their permanent teeth when they are between 3-7 months old. Adult dogs have 42 teeth, a bit more than the 32 teeth found in humans. Specifically, their upper jaw holds 20 teeth, and the lower one accommodates 22.

Breaking Down Dog Teeth Types

Every tooth in a dog’s mouth has its specific role. Let’s break down the function and position of each type:

Incisors

These are the petite teeth at the very front of both the upper and lower jaws. Dogs utilize these to nibble off meat bits and for grooming purposes.

Canines

Recognized as “fangs,” these are sharp, long, and protruding teeth behind the incisors. Apart from tearing meat, dogs also use these teeth to display aggression or defense.

Pre-molars (or Carnassials)

These broad and relatively sharp teeth on both sides of the jaw play a vital role in chewing and shredding.

Molars

These flat teeth at the back of the mouth help dogs grind hard substances like kibble or treats.

Why Dogs Lose Their Teeth?

Only when transitioning from puppyhood to adulthood should a dog lose their teeth. If an adult dog starts shedding teeth, scheduling a dental check-up is essential. Here is why dogs might lose teeth:

  • Tooth Decay: A dog’s dental health can deteriorate faster than humans, given the many things they bite, chew, or lick, especially in certain breeds. Many small breed dogs and Greyhounds, in particular, experience rapid tooth decay, leading to veterinarians’ removal of several teeth throughout their lifespan.
  • Periodontal Disease: The leading cause of tooth loss, stemming from neglected dental hygiene and absence of dental check-ups. Providing your dog with proper dental care, such as brushing and veterinary dental cleanings, is essential to prevent tooth decay.
  • Trauma: Dogs might fracture or lose teeth due to trauma, commonly from chewing on hard items. Dense mineral or bone-based items are frequent culprits behind tooth fractures or loss. For your dog’s dental safety, steer clear of offerings like beef or pork bones, which are often excessively hard and a leading cause of tooth injuries.

Guarding Your Dog’s Dental Health

Did you know that by age 3, over 80% of dogs show signs of dental issues? To prevent these, regularly brushing their teeth is a must. Introducing dental chews and periodic vet check-ups is also beneficial.

If you notice any signs of dental distress in your pup, like difficulty chewing, wobbly teeth, or persistent bad breath, consult your vet immediately. Remember, proactive dental care during regular check-ups can prevent serious issues later. Your dog’s dental health is integral to their overall well-being, so it’s crucial not to neglect it.

Final Thoughts

From the innocent days of puppyhood to the mature stages of adulthood, a dog’s dental journey is fascinating and complex. Their set of 42 adult teeth plays multifaceted roles, from tearing meat to displaying emotions. However, like all treasures, these teeth demand protection. Regular check-ups, proactive care, and a vigilant eye for dental anomalies are essential. Ensuring our dog companions maintain a healthy set of teeth grants them comfort and preserves those endearing smiles we dearly cherish.