When Do Puppies Lose Their Puppy Teeth? A Complete Guide to Teething

9 views 8:58 am 0 Comments March 25, 2024

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting time filled with love, cuddles, and playtime. But as adorable as your furry friend is, it’s also important to be aware of the various developmental stages they’ll go through as they grow up.

One such milestone that may leave you with questions and concerns is teething. From losing their baby teeth to the growth of the adult set, the teething process is a critical phase in your puppy’s life. This comprehensive guide aims to answer the question, “When do puppies lose their teeth?” and provide you with the essential information needed to confidently navigate the teething process – because as a professional trainer, I recognise that teething is one of those phases that is really instrumental in your relationship with your puppy!

Not only will we cover timelines, but we’ll also discuss the signs of teething, how you can help your pup through this potentially uncomfortable time, and how to establish good dental health habits. So, let’s embark on the journey of puppy teeth together and ensure your furry companion is supported every step of the way.

When Do Puppies Lose Their Puppy Teeth
“Furry Rite of Passage: Navigating the Adorable Challenges of a Teething Puppy, Where Chew Toys Become Lifesavers and Patience Prevails.”

What is Puppy Teething?

Much like human babies, puppies also go through a teething process. Puppy teething is a developmental stage where puppies lose their first set of teeth, also known as ‘baby’ or ‘milk’ teeth, which are then replaced with permanent adult teeth.

Puppies are generally born with no teeth, and their milk teeth start to emerge when they are about two to four weeks old. These deciduous ‘needle-sharp’ teeth play an essential role in early development since they are needed to transition from mother’s milk to solid food. There are 28 milk teeth in total: 12 incisors, 4 canines, and 12 pre-molars. Personally? I thoroughly advise that you resolve puppy biting as much as you can at this stage.

By the time a puppy is around four months old, they will start to lose their milk teeth, which are replaced by stronger, bigger adult teeth. A full set of adult dog teeth consists of 42 teeth: 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 pre-molars, and 10 molars. These teeth are considerably more dull, which is a relief.

This teething phase can often be an uncomfortable time for a puppy, as the emerging adult teeth push out the smaller, deciduous teeth. Puppies may experience sore and sensitive gums, leading to increased chewing tendencies as a way to alleviate the discomfort.

Teething plays a critical role in a puppy’s health and development. The process allows puppies to have a stronger and more efficient set of teeth for their adult life.

When Do Puppies Lose Their Puppy Teeth (1)
“Milestone Moments: The Delicate Dance of Puppy Teeth Shedding, Signaling the Growth and Development of a Playful Canine Companion.”

When Do Puppies Start Teething?

The teething process in puppies takes place in stages and occurs within a predictable timeline. Although individual rates may vary slightly between breeds, the following timeline offers a general overview of when puppies typically begin teething:

Milk Teeth Eruption (2-4 weeks old):

Puppies are usually born without teeth, and the emergence of their milk teeth begins at around 2-4 weeks of age. These initial teeth include 12 incisors, 4 canines, and 12 premolars, making up a total of 28 sharp, needle-like baby teeth.

Coachi Tuggi Hide, Great for Interactive Play, Strong & Comfortable, Stretchy Bungee Handle, Reward

This is great for interacting with puppy who wants to play and wants to bite! It allows pup to really engage with you and is perfect for redirecting and even better? The bungee takes your pup’s yank out of it for your shoulders.

Fluff & Tuff Edsel Elephant

Edsel is a little pricey – but Edsel is the only toy that’s lasted 5 years in my home with 3 large dogs. I don’t let them sit and chomp on him like he’s a bone, but we do play tug and fetch all the time.

He’s the perfect intermediary for a puppy who’s learning what to bite if that puppy likes human skin.

This toy also doesn’t have an obnoxious squeaker! It’s got a squeaker with a much better tone.

ChuckIt Balls

Honestly, don’t even buy a different kind of ball, they’re not worth it. These are super bouncy, super durable and don’t get soggy in your pocket when it rains.

They do get drooly? But they make great, long lasting chews too, ironically!

Teething Phase (3-7 months old):

Whilst this phase can happen from 3-7 months, typically it’s right around the 4 month mark that most puppies find their teething stage. The actual teething process, when puppies start to lose their milk teeth and grow their permanent adult teeth, starts when a puppy is around 3 months old. The adult incisors (front teeth) are usually the first to emerge, followed by canine teeth, premolars, and finally molars.

Keep in mind that the exact timing may vary depending on factors such as breed size, individual growth rate, and genetics. Thus, some puppies may start the teething process a little earlier or later.

As your puppy navigates this period of growth, it’s essential to monitor their dental health, provide appropriate teething toys, and consult with your veterinarian regarding any concerns or uncertainties. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your puppy gets through this challenging but necessary stage as comfortably as possible.

When Do Puppies Lose Their Puppy Teeth (3)
“Navigating the Chewy Chapter: Recognizing Teething Symptoms in Dogs, from Gnawing Habits to Gentle Discomfort, as Puppies Grow into Their Paws.”

Recognizing the Signs of Puppy Teething

Deducing whether your puppy has begun the teething process can sometimes be a challenge. However, several tell-tale signs suggest your puppy may be losing their baby teeth and starting to grow their adult set. Here’s what to watch for:

  1. Increased Chewing: Puppies love to chew, but they chew even more when they’re teething. This behavior is your pup’s attempt to relieve the discomfort in their mouth. They will chew on anything they can get hold of: toys, furniture, and even your fingers. Investing in some durable teething toys can help save your valuables from destruction!
  2. Refusal to eat: This happens a lot when puppy is fed kibble or other harder food sources. This happens because (essentially) the pain eating causes is worse than the reward of nutrition – which is pretty significant (This is actually an example of positive punishment!). It’s a good idea if you’re seeing this to soak kibble.
  3. Swollen, Red Gums: Just like in human babies, you may observe swelling or redness in your puppy’s mouth during teething due to tooth eruption.
  4. Finding Tiny Teeth: If you’re lucky, you might come across small, sharp teeth around your home. These are your puppy’s baby teeth falling out to make way for their adult teeth.
  5. Drooling: Some puppies may drool more than usual when they are teething due to the increased saliva production.
  6. Bad Breath: Teething puppies often experience bad breath due to the bacteria present in their mouths caused by the teething process.
  7. Changes in Behavior: Your normally playful and happy puppy may become irritable or seem ‘out of sorts’. This change in behavior can be because the teething process can be quite uncomfortable and distressing for some puppies.

Never force your puppy to let you look inside their mouth if they’re showing signs of discomfort or resistance. If you’re concerned about your puppy’s teething or if they seem in extreme pain, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian for a professional evaluation. It’s crucial not to underestimate these signs, as severe discomfort may indicate problems that need medical attention, such as impacted teeth.dog’s gums during this period ensures a smooth progression in their dental development.

Teething boston Puppy chewing on a chair
Chairs are one of those things that can be just the right texture to satisfy your puppy’s chewing need

How Can You Help Your Teething Puppy?

Teething can be an uncomfortable and distressing time for puppies, but there are several ways you can help alleviate their discomfort and make the process more manageable for them. Here are some practical tips to help your teething puppy:

  1. Teething Toys: Provide safe, durable, and appropriate teething toys specifically designed for puppies. These toys can be made from various materials, such as rubber, rope, or nylon. Chewing on these toys will help soothe your puppy’s sore gums and provide a safe outlet for their chewing instincts. Be sure to supervise playtime to ensure they don’t accidentally swallow any parts of the toy.
  2. Cold Treats: Offer cold treats, such as ice cubes or frozen carrots, which can numb the gums and provide temporary relief from teething pain. Alternatively, you can wet a washcloth, freeze it, and let your puppy chew on it. The cold sensation will help relieve their discomfort.
  3. Puzzle Toys: Use puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys to keep your puppy occupied and mentally engaged, which can help distract them from the discomfort they’re experiencing.
  4. Puppy-Proof Your Home: Ensure that your home is puppy-proofed by removing access to potential hazards, such as electrical cords, shoes, or household items they may be tempted to chew on.
  5. Regular Checkups: Check your puppy’s mouth regularly to monitor their dental health and ensure that the teeth are erupting properly. If you notice any unusual swelling, signs of infection, or retained baby teeth, consult your veterinarian.
  6. Gentle Play: Avoid rough play or tug-of-war games during the teething phase, as these could potentially damage your puppy’s developing teeth or aggravate their sore gums.
  7. Patience and Comfort: Provide your puppy with a safe and comfortable environment during the teething process. Be patient with them, as they might exhibit unusual behavior due to the discomfort. Offer gentle reassurance and lots of love to help them feel secure.
  8. Consult Your Vet: If your puppy seems to be experiencing extreme pain or discomfort, or if you have concerns about their oral health, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian. They may be able to offer further guidance and advice or prescribe medications to alleviate pain, if necessary.

By following these practical tips and providing proper care, you can help your teething puppy navigate this challenging stage of their life with greater ease and comfort. It’s important to monitor your pup’s dental health while ensuring that they have a safe and nurturing environment during this critical growth period.

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Potential Complications During the Teething Process

While teething is a natural and essential process in your puppy’s life, it can sometimes lead to complications or concerns. Here are some potential issues that may arise during teething, and how to handle them:

When Do Puppies Lose Their Puppy Teeth (2)
“Tiny Teeth, Big Adventures: Celebrating the Exciting Phase of Puppy Tooth Growth, Where Every Glimpse Reveals the Promise of Playful Journeys Ahead.”
  1. Retained Deciduous Teeth: This condition occurs especially in small breed dogs where the milk teeth do not fall out, and the permanent teeth start to erupt. It becomes an issue as the crowded teeth may cause spacing problems, incorrect bite, and increases tartar buildup, leading to gum disease. If you notice any retained baby teeth, it’s important to contact your veterinarian. They may need to be extracted professionally to avoid further complications.
  2. Broken Teeth: Puppies love to explore and chew on anything and everything, which can sometimes lead to broken teeth, especially if they are chewing on inappropriate objects that are too hard for their teeth. Broken teeth are painful and can lead to infections, so ideally, these should be treated or extracted by your vet to avoid any complications.
  3. Gum Disease or Infection: Your puppy’s gums may get inflamed, irritated, or even infected during the teething process, mainly if bacteria get access to the bloodstream. Regular checking of your puppy’s mouth for any signs of infection or inflammation is key. If you notice anything unusual such as excessive redness, swelling, or bad smell, contact your vet immediately.
  4. Poor Diet or Weight Loss: If your puppy is in pain due to the teething process, they may lose their appetite which can sometimes lead to weight loss. It’s essential to keep a check on their weight during this period, and if your puppy is refusing to eat, consult your vet for guidance.
  5. Chewing Issues: Extreme chewing could potentially become a behavioral issue if not managed appropriately. Provide appropriate toys and discourage inappropriate chewing as early as possible to prevent this from becoming a problem.

Every puppy experiences teething differently, so some may experience these issues while others may not. Regularly inspect your puppy’s mouth, ensure they have access to the right chew toys, provide proper dental care, and consult your veterinarian about any concerns or problems to ensure that your puppy’s teething process goes as smoothly and comfortably as possible. It’s also important to note that your puppy’s adult teeth need to be properly maintained with regular brushing and professional dental cleanings.

puppy biting common puppies (3)
some breeds – particularly those who’ve been bred from bitework dogs – can be extra extra bitey as puppies.

When Should You Be Concerned?

While teething is a normal part of puppy development, certain signs warrant prompt attention from a veterinarian. Here are situations in which you should contact your vet:

  1. Persistent Discomfort or Pain: It’s normal for teething puppies to experience some discomfort, but if your puppy is in persistent pain, cries out, seems excessively irritable, or refuses to eat for more than a day, it’s time to consult the vet.
  2. Excessive Drooling or Bad Breath: While some drooling is normal, if it’s excessive or accompanied by particularly foul-smelling breath, it could indicate gum disease or an abscess that needs veterinary attention.
  3. Signs of Infection: Symptoms such as swollen, bleeding gums, an oral discharge, or a reluctance to allow their mouth to be touched suggest possible infection or deeper issues. These symptoms should be quickly addressed by your vet.
  4. Retained Baby Teeth: If baby teeth remain while adult teeth are erupting, it’s crucial to get your vet’s opinion. In many cases, retained teeth will need to be extracted to prevent malocclusion (a misalignment of the teeth) and other dental problems.
  5. Loss of Appetite or Weight Loss: If your puppy stops eating, eats significantly less for more than 1-2 days, or is losing weight, they may find chewing too painful. A vet can recommend solutions to ease the discomfort or rule out other health issues.
  6. Abnormal Teething Pattern: If you notice that your puppy’s teeth are not following the typical teething pattern or there seems to be an issue with the alignment of the already erupted teeth, it’s best to reach out to a vet. Usuaully this will be when an adult tooth erupts slightly wonky, and doesn’t push out the deciduous tooth.
  7. Swelling or Lumps: Any unusual swelling or lumps in or around the mouth and jaw area should be checked out, as these can indicate cysts or other abnormalities.
  8. Behavior Changes: If you find your puppy to be unusually aggressive or withdrawn, it may be a sign of pain, and such behavioral changes often require veterinary assessment.

In summary, the rule of thumb is: when in doubt, check it out. It’s always better to be preventive and consult with your veterinarian, even if it’s just for peace of mind. They can provide guidance tailored specifically to your puppy’s needs and ensure a healthy oral development.

puppy biting common puppies (6)
puppies choose all sorts of things to bite… in this instance, i’d grab a rope toy!

Teething Troubles

Teething is a natural phase in a puppy’s life that, although sometimes challenging and uncomfortable for them, is also essential for their development. By understanding the teething process, monitoring their dental health, and providing appropriate care and support, you can help your furry friend transition smoothly into adulthood.

Remember to provide safe, appropriate toys and treats, maintain a comfortable environment, and regularly check their teeth and gums for any signs of abnormalities. Always consult with your veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms or if you’re unsure about your puppy’s teething progression. Through patience, love, and understanding, you can be a guiding force in your puppy’s journey towards a healthy and happy life with a strong set of adult teeth.

grow out of puppy biting 2
management is phenomenal! But most of the time, we really want to make sure that they get something appropriate to chew as opposed to a rusty play pen…

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: When does teething start and end in puppies?
The process starts when your puppy begins losing their baby teeth, and ends when they grow in their adult teeth, typically this takes a couple of weeks and happens around 4 months of age.

Q2: How many teeth do puppies have?
Puppies have 28 temporary teeth (also known as deciduous or baby teeth) that start to erupt at around 3-4 weeks of age.

Q3: How to clean my puppy’s teeth during the teething process?
While brushing a teething puppy’s teeth can be difficult due to their sore gums, you can try using a soft, wet cloth to gently clean their teeth. Dental chews or toys designed to promote dental hygiene can also help keep their teeth clean.

Q4: My puppy is teething and not eating properly. What should I do?
If a puppy is refusing to eat due to teething discomfort, you can try offering softer foods. Alternatively, soak their kibble in warm water to make it easier for them to chew. If this behavior continues, or if your puppy refuses to eat for more than a day, consult with a veterinarian.

Q5: How can I stop my puppy from chewing on furniture while teething?
Providing plenty of safe, puppy-friendly chew toys is a great way to deter your puppy from chewing on furniture. Additionally, puppy-proofing your home by removing or protecting items your puppy may be tempted to chew can make a significant difference. Positive reinforcement for chewing on their toys instead of furniture is also crucial.

Q6: What should I do if my puppy swallows a deciduous tooth?
Puppies often end up swallowing their deciduous teeth while eating or playing, and in most cases, this isn’t a cause for concern. The tooth usually passes through their system without any issues. However, if you notice any changes in your puppy’s behavior, eating habits, or bowel movements after swallowing a tooth, consult with a veterinarian.

Q7: Can I use human toothpaste to brush my puppy’s teeth?
No. Human toothpaste often contains ingredients that can be harmful to dogs, including xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. It’s best to use a pet-friendly toothpaste. Always consult your vet for advice on choosing the right toothpaste for your dog.

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a professional, qualified, and multi-award winning trainer is the founder of rebarkable. She has always believed animals deserve kindness and champions force free methods. Believing that dog guardians will all choose the kindest options if proper information is provided, she aims to help all dog guardians who need it and make dog training as accessible as possible

Ali lives win Maryland, US with her husband and her three dogs.

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