Every pet parent is curious about their dog’s teeth and will do everything to ensure their pets remain healthy. Among the most frequent questions that come up whenever dog teeth are mentioned is—how many teeth do dogs have? Getting it right is key to understanding your adult dog or puppy better.
Dogs have baby teeth at a young age, and as they develop to maturity, they lose the baby teeth and grow the adult teeth. The number of temporary baby teeth in puppies is 28. An adult dog has 42 teeth compared to 32 teeth in adult humans. The permanent teeth last longer when cared for appropriately.
In this article, we review in detail the popular inquiries that revolve around dog’s teeth like: How many teeth do dogs have? How do dog’s teeth develop? And more so, touch on dog dental care and everything in between.
How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?
Every time that question comes to most dog owners’ minds, there is a possibility of not getting it right. Many only know that dogs have many teeth that appear in two sets (baby and adult teeth).
Note that the number of teeth in dogs also vary based on the breed and as they grow from puppies to adult dogs. Adult dogs have 42 teeth known as the secondary teeth—twenty on the upper jaw and twenty-two on the lower jaw. If you checked your adult dog and realized it has fewer teeth, know that some were broken or lost.
Puppies possess only 28 baby teeth known as deciduous, milk, or primary teeth (fourteen teeth on the upper side and fourteen on the lower side). All these teeth are of different types.
The Four Types of Dog Teeth
Like humans, dogs have different teeth that perform various functions. Here are the different types of teeth you’ll find in every dog:
Incisors are the teeth you see in the front of the upper and lower jaw in your dog. The incisors total twelve (12), with each jaw having six incisor teeth. With small size and sharp ending, dogs use incisors to pull something, scratch, or pick items.
Canines are the most known teeth in dogs (they are also called fangs). Most people recognize them due to their shape and size. They appear long with sharp pointed ends. In the dog’s dentition, canines come next after incisors. They are only four—two on the upper jaw and the other two on the lower jaw. Dogs use canines to grab and tear items.
Premolars in the dog’s jaw appear next to canines. What characterizes the premolars is their flat, broad, and pointed look. Their formation helps to bite, tear, and chew various foods that you feed your dog. All the premolars total to 16 with eight on the upper and lower jaw.
Molars are unique and appear at the back of the dog’s mouth. They appear big and sharper than premolars.
Dogs use them for chewing all foods—even hard foods like bones. It’s because they make it possible to masticate food. The upper jaw has four molars, and the lower jaw consists of six molars.
Canine Teeth Anatomy
The dog’s anatomy is quite interesting. If you closely look at your dog, you’ll appreciate every body part, including the teeth. Though we domesticate dogs and take them as part of our family members, the reality is that they’re meant for wild oriented life, and their teeth vary from humans.
The dog’s teeth anatomy varies based on age. That’s why an adult dog has 12 incisors, four canines, 16 premolars, and ten molars. There are only 12 incisors, four canines, 12 premolars, and no molars in puppies. That tells you that your puppy doesn’t need hard food as they’re yet to develop permanent teeth.
Adult dog’s teeth suit their carnivorous and omnivorous state. That’s why they can comfortably feed on dog-friendly meals that humans also enjoy. More so, they can chew even bones that humans can’t masticate.
Dog Teeth Development
The growth of a dog’s teeth is a gradual process. It all starts with the deciduous teeth that later shed off to give room for permanent teeth growth.
Puppies are not born with teeth, although their tooth gums appear to develop pretty fast with tooth buds showing up. As puppies suckle milk at a young age, they stimulate their gums, pushing the tooth buds at the surface. That’s when deciduous teeth come into being. From 3 to 6 weeks, your puppy will have developed incisors, canines, and premolars, totaling 28 teeth.
Transitioning from puppy to adult teeth later commences. Below the deciduous teeth, permanent teeth are slowly growing, pushing the roots of deciduous teeth. Your dog sheds all the deciduous teeth from incisors to canines, and permanent teeth grow after a while. From 4 to 7 months, most dogs will have a complete set of 42 teeth.
Understanding Baby Dog Teeth
To help you understand teething in puppies, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions below.
When Do Puppies Start Teething?
Teething is a mandatory stage for all mammals, and puppies are not exceptional. Puppies will begin to teeth at around four months (16 weeks). As a dog owner, you might notice some weird behaviors like chewing everything on-site when your dog starts teething. That’s normal, and chew toys will play a significant role in helping relieve the teething pain.
Why Are Puppies Teeth so Sharp?
The main reason is to make it easier for them to gnaw on food and play items. According to the American Kennel Club, puppies’ sharp razor-like teeth play a significant role when chewing. Since their jaws are not much strong, the sharp teeth help to hold the solid food tightly, allowing easy chewing.
When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth?
The teething process might take around four months in puppies. At around 7 to 8 months, expect your dog to have grown even the adult teeth. While that’s not the case in some dogs, you don’t have to panic. Give it time, and by the ninth month, they’ll have developed. If not, take your dog to the vet for some assessment.
Understanding Adult Dog Teeth
You already know that adult dogs have 42 teeth. The major question here is, when do dogs get their adult teeth? Permanent teeth in dogs start erupting at different times. The central, intermediate, and corner incisors will all show up at five months. The same applies to canines. The first to fourth premolars show from four to six months. By the seventh month, your dog will have all the molars.
Let’s answer a few questions on adult dog teeth to help you understand this topic better.
Does the Dog’s Age and Number of Teeth Relate?
Well, it depends. It’s not challenging to estimate the age in puppies because you can observe the erupted teeth. In adult dogs, it’s a different case. Many tend to check the wear and general tooth condition, which may give wrong results. Estimation goes beyond the dog’s teeth state.
Can Adult Dogs Regrow Their Teeth?
Well, just like humans, once a permanent tooth is lost, it goes forever. That’s why you must give your dog’s teeth, proper care. Teeth initiate digestion, and ignoring them affects the well-being of your dog.
What’s the Big Tooth in the Dog’s Upper Jaw?
The big tooth is known as a carnassial tooth. It’s the upper premolar in the fourth position. It helps your dog to crush, shear, or hold items. Any time you’re angry about your dog destroying the chew toys, blame the carnassial tooth instead.
Dog Dental Care
Your dog’s dental care is a priority, and it extends beyond the teething process. Like humans, dog’s teeth become exposed to dental problems when not attended with care. Some instances might even result in your dog losing teeth.
For instance, advanced periodontal disease, trauma from mouth injury, and tooth decay due to extensive wear risk your dog’s dentition. While small dogs are opportunistic to teeth issues, every dog can lose their teeth.
So, how do you tell if your dog has unhealthy teeth?
- Check for plaque and tartar or food build-up.
- Monitor the gum color.
- Check the possibilities of sores and bumps.
- Note the puppy breath.
- Let your veterinarian know about the state of your dog.
Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth during Teething
The dog teething process is natural, and the best way is to make sure your dog doesn’t strain much during the process. Here’s what you do:
- Have quality chew toys for your dog
- Learn and start brushing the dog’s teeth regularly
- Monitor their teeth and inform your vet in case of anything suspicious
- Don’t pull the dog teeth by yourself.
Keep reading: Retained Puppy Teeth, Time To Call The Vet?
How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have? Our Summary
Adult and ‘baby’ dog teeth vary in number. Adults have 42 teeth, while puppies have 28 teeth. Teething in dogs starts at or before four weeks, and the baby teeth are grown by the sixth week. Permanent teeth replace the baby teeth anytime from 4 months. Around six months, your dog will have 48 adult teeth.
Have you counted your dog’s teeth before? What did you notice? Again, how was your dog’s teething experience? Let’s hear from you in the comments.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.