When do dogs lose their baby teeth?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 10, 2024

An Overview of Canine Dental Development

Dogs, much like humans, undergo a process of dental development that involves the shedding of baby teeth and the subsequent emergence of adult teeth. This process is essential for their overall health and well-being. Understanding when dogs lose their baby teeth can help pet owners provide the necessary care during this transitional phase.

Stages of Puppy Teething

Neonatal Period (Birth to 2 Weeks)

During the neonatal period, puppies are born without teeth. Their primary focus is on nursing and relying on their mother for nutrition. At this stage, their gums are soft, and there is no sign of tooth eruption.

Transitional Period (2 to 4 Weeks)

Around the age of 2 to 4 weeks, puppies begin to develop their first set of teeth, commonly known as deciduous or baby teeth. These teeth start to erupt through the gums, and by the end of this period, most puppies will have a full set of baby teeth.

Socialization Period (4 to 12 Weeks)

Between 4 to 12 weeks of age, puppies will usually have all 28 of their baby teeth. This includes incisors, canines, and premolars. During this period, puppies often start exploring solid foods and begin the process of weaning off their mother's milk.

The Timing of Baby Teeth Loss

Incisors (3 to 4 Months)

The first baby teeth that puppies typically lose are the incisors, which are the small teeth located at the front of the mouth. This process usually begins around 3 to 4 months of age. The adult incisors will start to push through the gums, causing the baby incisors to loosen and eventually fall out.

Canines (4 to 6 Months)

Following the loss of the incisors, the canine teeth, or the pointed teeth located just behind the incisors, will begin to fall out. This usually occurs between 4 to 6 months of age. The adult canine teeth are larger and stronger, designed to help with gripping and tearing food.

Premolars (4 to 6 Months)

The premolars, which are located behind the canines, will also start to fall out around the same time as the canines. By 6 months of age, most puppies will have lost all their baby premolars, making way for the adult premolars to emerge.

Molars (5 to 7 Months)

Unlike baby teeth, puppies do not have molars. Molars are part of the adult dentition and begin to appear around 5 to 7 months of age. These teeth are essential for grinding and chewing food.

Signs of Teething in Puppies

During the teething process, puppies may exhibit several signs that indicate they are losing their baby teeth. Recognizing these signs can help pet owners provide appropriate care and comfort.

Increased Chewing

One of the most common signs of teething is increased chewing behavior. Puppies may chew on various objects, including toys, furniture, and even their owner's hands, to alleviate the discomfort associated with teething.


Excessive drooling is another indicator of teething. As the new teeth push through the gums, puppies may produce more saliva than usual, leading to drooling.

Bleeding Gums

It is not uncommon for puppies to experience minor bleeding from the gums as their baby teeth fall out. This usually occurs when the adult teeth start to erupt and push the baby teeth out of the way.

Loss of Appetite

The discomfort of teething can sometimes lead to a temporary loss of appetite. Puppies may be reluctant to eat hard kibble and may prefer softer foods during this time.

Supporting Your Puppy Through Teething

Teething can be an uncomfortable experience for puppies, but there are several ways pet owners can support their furry friends during this transitional period.

Provide Appropriate Chew Toys

Offering a variety of chew toys can help alleviate the discomfort of teething. Look for toys specifically designed for teething puppies, as these are typically softer and gentler on their gums.

Cold Treats

Cold treats, such as frozen carrots or specially designed teething toys that can be chilled, can provide relief for sore gums. The cold temperature helps to numb the gums and reduce inflammation.

Maintain Dental Hygiene

Even though puppies are losing their baby teeth, it is essential to maintain good dental hygiene. Regular brushing of their teeth can help prevent infections and promote overall oral health.

Monitor for Complications

While most puppies go through the teething process without issues, it is crucial to monitor for any complications. If a baby tooth does not fall out and the adult tooth starts to emerge, it can cause overcrowding and potential dental problems. In such cases, consulting a veterinarian is recommended.

Unique Aspects of Different Dog Breeds

The timing and experience of teething can vary based on the breed of the dog. Smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, may lose their baby teeth earlier than larger breeds like Labrador Retrievers or German Shepherds. This variation is due to differences in growth rates and developmental timelines.

Rarely Known Facts About Puppy Teething

There are several lesser-known aspects of puppy teething that can be fascinating for pet owners to learn.

Double Teeth Phenomenon

In some cases, puppies may experience a phenomenon known as "double teeth," where both the baby tooth and the adult tooth are present simultaneously. This can occur when the baby tooth does not fall out in time for the adult tooth to take its place. It is usually a temporary condition but may require veterinary intervention if it persists.

Teething and Behavioral Changes

Teething can sometimes lead to temporary behavioral changes in puppies. They may become more irritable or restless due to the discomfort. Providing extra attention and comfort during this period can help ease their distress.

Genetic Factors

Genetics can play a significant role in the timing and experience of teething. Some breeds or individual dogs may have genetic predispositions that affect the eruption and shedding of teeth. Breeders often consider these factors when planning breeding programs to ensure healthy dental development.

The journey of puppy teething is a critical phase in a dog's life, marked by the loss of baby teeth and the emergence of adult dentition. Understanding the stages and signs of teething, along with providing appropriate care and support, can make this process smoother for both puppies and their owners. Each dog is unique, and their teething experience can vary, reflecting the intricate balance of nature and nurture in their development.

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