Do dogs' teeth fall out?
All your dog's dental care problems
answered in one place
Yes dogs teeth do fall out. They fall out for two main reasons, "jaw development and growth" and "Periodontal disease".
Jaw development and growth
Jaw development and growth is part of nature for all animals. When pups are born they have both deciduous and permanent teeth buds sitting in their gums.
As pups grow, their deciduous teeth erupt first. Later, on their way to becoming adult dogs, the roots of their deciduous teeth are absorbed and they fall out. Absorption is triggered by the permanent teeth growing underneath.
Puppies are born without teeth, just like human babies. Their baby teeth start to erupt around 4 weeks give or take a week either way.
At this young age puppies have very weak jaws and to compensate for this Mother Nature has given them razor sharp teeth. In the wild, razor sharp teeth have their advantages for learning to rip meat, but for suckling Mums, puppies' sharp teeth are obviously very painful and uncomfortable.
Owners need to be aware of this fact and assist the Mamma dogs to wean their pups by offering the puppies soft food and gradually increasing this to solid foods.
Whatever diet you choose to feed your dog, do bare in mind there is a direct correlation between what he or she eats and their oral and general health.
On a personal note, and to digress for a moment from "Do dogs teeth fall out", when my girls were pups I started them off on Farex baby food and gradually added cooked mashed veggies to the mix, e.g. pumpkin and various greens. A week or so later I started adding raw ground or minced meat. From there on in it was easy to get them to play with and start chewing on soft raw Bones.
Chewing is so important for the correct development of jaw alignment in dogs and helps keep their gums and teeth in tip top condition. As adult dogs I feed Molly and Rosie my version of the BARF Diet together with locally made Pigs Ears and Steer Sticks.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst and the creator of the BARF Diet
A few years ago I had the plesure of reading three books written by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, they are:
- Give a Dog a Bone, published 1993
- Grow Your Pups with Bones, published 1998
- The BARF Diet, published 2001
Dr. Ian Billinghurst is an advocate for feeding companion pets biologically appropriate Raw Foods with the intent to:
- promote maximum health and wellbeing benefits in dogs
- defeat disease in dogs
- eliminate skeletal disease in dogs
Losing deciduous teeth (aka primary, baby, milk, or puppy teeth)
Pups loose their incisors or front teeth first, followed by their premolars. The last teeth to fall out are canines. Keeping their canines until last is designed by nature to perform 2 very important functions:
- maintaining the arch of their jaws.
- maintaining teeth spacing.
Depending on the breed of dog, most puppies start to lose their baby teeth at around 4 months. This is very much an individual thing, as some puppies can begin as early as 3 months and others may not begin to lose them until they're 6 months or even older.
Very occasionally, Mother Nature forgets to kick in and some dogs still have some deciduous teeth remaining by the time they reach maturity. In this case seek advice from your vet, who will most probably advise immediate extraction, because extra teeth floating around can put your dog's occlusion out of alignment and interrupt his or her ability to chew naturally.
Like human children the teething process for puppies continues on and off for several months. It is generally a painful and uncomfortable period and they will look for things to chew and gnaw at to relieve their pain.
Stressed puppies will look for things with your smell on them, so if there are things you don't want chewed, put them away!
We recommend that you provide them with plenty of soft raw bones, e.g. chicken necks or brisket bones or locally made Pigs' Ears or Chew Sticks to vent their feelings on, and to keep articles of value, e.g. your new shoes tucked away safely in your wardrobe!
A word of warning, do not give your new little darling Rawhide toys made in China or Thailand. This is because as the chemicals used by the manufacturers who make them are extremely dangerous for your puppy and could end up being fatal if he or she were to swallow part of the Rawhide.
Fortunately the teething period does come to an end. Depending upon the breed, by the time puppies have reached 7 months old, give or take a month or two puppies should have a full set of adult teeth. Sometimes permanent teeth are referred to as adult teeth.
Dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. There are 28 deciduous teeth and 42 permanent teeth, also known as their adult teeth. The exception to the rule is the Chow Chow which has 44 permanent teeth.
Periodontal disease is the main reason why adult dogs' teeth fall out, or are extracted by a vet. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), a staggering 80 percent of dogs show oral disease by age three, making it one of the most common conditions afflicting our canine companions.
The condition starts with Gingivitis and progresses to Periodontal disease and in many cases ends with abscesses. Abscessed teeth need to be extracted under a general anesthetic. All of these conditions warrant separate web pages and are covered in Gingivitis, and Periodontal Disease and Anaesthetics in this website.
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Holistic Library and is presented for informational purposes only.The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local vet. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com