If you’ve ever owned a puppy or an adolescent dog that still mouths, you may think that your dog is nothing but teeth. But how many teeth does a dog actually have?
From the tiny needle like nips you get from a pup to the vice like grip of an older dog tugging on a toy, dogs teeth are powerful.
In fact, the 42 permanent teeth in an adult dog and 28 baby teeth in puppies are one of the most important tools our dogs have.
By comparison, most human adults have 32 teeth (not counting wisdom teeth) and babies have 20 milk teeth. It’s not surprising that ours seem a little inadequate when compared to our dogs’ fantastic fangs.
How many different types of teeth does my dog have?
Once your dog is fully grown he will have four different types of teeth;
At the front of your dog’s mouth, set in between the four large, pointed teeth are the incisors. They are relatively small and don’t look too dissimilar to our own teeth. There are six on the top and six on the bottom. These are the teeth that your dog would use to groom himself with and are also useful for pulling meat from bones.
The four big pointy teeth slightly to the side of your dog’s mouth are the canines. Two on the top and two on the bottom. Also called fangs, these are the teeth used for holding onto something and are the culprits when things (like footballs) get punctured.
Located just behind the canine teeth, dogs have four premolars on each side; both on the top and the bottom of their mouth. This makes a total of sixteen sharp-edged teeth designed for chewing and shearing. The fourth upper premolar tooth is the largest in your dog’s mouth and is also called the carnassial tooth. Its special shape and surface make it a perfect design to hold and tear at food.
These big teeth at the back of your dog’s mouth are the ones designed to crush things. Ten teeth, three each side on the bottom and two each side one the top. With a flat surface, they are perfect for grinding meat and bone.
When do puppies get their adult teeth?
Puppies start to develop their baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth at around three to four weeks old.
Their teeth develop quickly, starting with their incisors, then their canine teeth and eventually the premolars.
They will grow 28 teeth in total, which doesn’t include molars as these are only present in adult dogs, and they will lose most of these by the time they are 6 months old. During this time puppies will most likely go through a teething stage so it’s best to hide anything that you don’t want to be chewed!
Can dog’s teeth re-grow?
I’m not sure where this myth came from although it seems to have been around for a long time. Dogs can’t re-grow their adult teeth if they lose one. Just like us, dogs have two sets of teeth in their life, baby teeth and adult teeth.
Once a dog has its full set of adult teeth, then that’s it. If he cracks a tooth or loses one through bad hygiene then it’s gone for good.
That’s why brushing your dog’s teeth is a great idea.
Can I tell how old my dog is by looking at his teeth?
Once your dog has all his adult teeth, it’s very difficult to tell how old he is just by looking at them. With most owners aware of the need to look after their friends’ fangs, a lot of dogs have very white and healthy teeth even into old age.
After six to seven months your dog will be in possession of a full set of permanent teeth. As tooth condition varies a lot depending on diet and care it’s unlikely that you will be able to guess their age based on the condition alone .
If your dog is young however then it is possible to estimate their age based on a timeline of when dog’s teeth typically erupt:
|Tooth Eruption||Baby Teeth||Adult Teeth|
|Incisors||3-6 weeks||3-5 months|
|Canine||5-6 weeks||4-6 months|
|Premolar||6 weeks||4-5 months|
Do dogs get cavities?
Tooth cavities are rare in dogs. Their tooth shape, lack of sugar in their diet and different mouth bacteria generally means that their teeth do not suffer in the same way that ours do.
However food debris can gather around the gum line and this may lead to problems with infections causing the gums to recede and ultimately leading to the loss of teeth.
If a cavity is identified, it can be filled in much the same way as a cavity in our own mouth is, although for the safety of the vet our dogs will be anaesthetized!
How many teeth does a dog have?
When you have 42 teeth, dental hygiene is important. Dog’s teeth should be brushed regularly, but despite this most dogs don’t get their teeth brushed at all.
One of the reasons that our dog’s teeth go untouched by brush or paste is that a high number of them just don’t enjoy the experience. If you do have a puppy it’s a good idea to get it used to a daily brushing as early as possible.
If you have an adult dog that you are struggling to persuade to open their mouths, then there are other ways that you can help to manage their oral hygiene – although brushing is best.
If you are really concerned about the state of your dog’s teeth you can get them professionally cleaned. Ask your vet for details and they can either do it themselves or recommend someone that can.
You will be spoiled for choice if you look for tasty chew treats that fight plaque and tartar. We are spoiled for choice with the different varieties available, with lots of brands to choose from. There are also additives that can be added to your dog’s water bowl that are said to manage bad breath as well as reducing plaque and tartar.
If you have never attempted to brush your dog’s teeth before then here is a great video that shows you how. With the right technique and encouragement, you may be surprised that it is good for your dog’s dental hygiene as well as the bond you have with your dog. Why not give it a go?