Care for Canine Puppy Teeth

By Tess Thompson

A puppy’s teeth start appearing when he is about four weeks old. These are deciduous (temporary) or baby teeth that do not have roots. By the time the young dog is about six weeks old, most of the deciduous canine, incisive, and molar teeth are in place. As puppies are liable to bite their mother’s nipples, puppies are generally weaned as soon as the first set of teeth start appearing.

Being deciduous teeth, these teeth start falling off as the roots of the permanent teeth start pushing upwards. The process of replacement is usually complete by the time the dog is about eight months old. The incisors are the first deciduous teeth to fall off and the molars are generally the last.

When the deciduous teeth are being replaced by permanent ones, is when dog owners start observing the first signs of canine bad breath. Bad dog breath in puppies during this time is normal and can be easily addressed with a dog oral breath spray.

The exact timing when the temporary teeth are shed varies from breed to breed and in most cases, the owners are not even aware of the process that is taking place. This is mainly because of the fact that the temporary teeth are swallowed with food and do not really fall out.

In rare cases, a temporary baby tooth may be pushed aside by the emerging permanent one. This tooth may be retained along with the permanent one. Deciduous teeth that do not fall off should be removed by a veterinarian as they cause a bad bite or malocclusion, a condition where the upper and lower teeth do not mesh properly. A bad bite can later lead to tooth decay, problems with eating and other dental problems.

Although dogs do not develop cavities, dental care is as important for dogs as it is for humans. The right time to train dogs to accept brushing of teeth and cleaning is when they are young. Make sure that you use toothpaste that is meant specifically for dogs. The most recommended is a paste that has a chicken flavor. This can be applied with some type of thimble.

It may take some time for you also to get used to the process of cleaning your puppy’s teeth. Hold his head with your hand on the neck. Ensure that you slide the brush or thimble by the side of the jaw. If you try and insert the toothbrush directly, your puppy is most likely to bite it off. To prevent excessive salivation, use small quantities of toothpaste.

Dogs are prone to rapid build up of tartar if their teeth are not brushed regularly. Tartar build up is the first stage of a dental disease. If you train your puppy to accept teeth cleaning regularly you will be able to prevent tooth decay and dental diseases like tooth abscess, gingivitis and ultimately periodontitis.


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