How Many Teeth Do Adult Dogs Have?
Dogs share a lot in common with humans as regards to their dental formation. Let’s start with puppies. Did you know that puppies experience teething just like human babies? When they start biting everything they see, it’s most likely because they are growing new teeth which can be itchy. Also, at the right time, their baby teeth make way for the adult teeth by falling off, even though you might not see them lying around the house often as they tend to swallow them while eating.
We often catch a glimpse of what it’s like inside a dog’s mouth when they open their mouths but not long enough to count the array of teeth that seem to make up their dentition. Thus, dog owners often wonder how many dog teeth are there in their pet’s mouth. Just like the human dentition is made up of different types of teeth for different purposes, different kinds of dog teeth play specific roles like helping the dog break down food during the process of chewing. But how many teeth do dogs really have? Let’s find out.
How Many Teeth Do Puppies Have?
As a puppy, your dog should have 28 teeth – 14 in their upper jaw and 14 in their lower jaw. The cute pups start the teething process at around 3 weeks old. Don’t be surprised when they start chewing almost everything they see at this stage because it comes naturally while teething. The problem with excessive chewing can be curtailed by providing them with chewing toys but be sure to consult a professional to know the right ones to use for your dog.
By the time your puppy is at least six weeks old, it must have grown all the baby teeth, starting with the incisors and canine teeth. Many don’t know this but dogs don’t grow up with their milk teeth, they actually start falling off at around 12 weeks while the permanent teeth take over. By the time your dog is 6 months old, it has already grown into an adult and so would the teeth. At this stage, the number of teeth in your dog’s mouth would almost double up.
How Many Teeth Do Adult Dogs Have?
Human kids live with their milk teeth for years before they lose them but dogs mature faster than humans. A dog’s baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, milk teeth, temporary teeth or primary teeth, start falling off at around 12 weeks old after which the permanent set of teeth is grown. This process takes months to be completed but by six months of age, your dog should have a complete set of 42 teeth which a healthy adult dog usually has. The adult teeth of a dog comprise 20 on top of their jaw and 22 on the bottom but on rare occasions, you might discover that your dog has a missing tooth or more. This might be because they broke some teeth while chewing on something too hard like a stone. You might want to seek help from a vet for such cases.
Some breeds, however, might retain some of their baby teeth which should be removed through a simple process to ensure the dog’s dental safety. This problem is common with smaller breeds and short-nosed species of dogs. When this happens, the dog might end up with malocclusion, discomfort or any kind of dental problem. This is why retained deciduous teeth must not be ignored.
Types of Dog Teeth
Humans have different kinds of teeth for specific tasks, especially while eating and the same goes for the dog teeth. During the process of teething, the incisors are usually the first to fall off, followed by the canine teeth, premolars, and molars respectively. However, they grow right back to form adult dog teeth. Below are the types of dog teeth in your pet’s mouth and their functions.
These are the small teeth that align the front of your dog’s mouth. Dogs use this set of teeth – six on the top and six on the bottom, to tear meat from a bone. The shape of the incisors is perfect for scrapping meat from bones. These pets also use their incisors for self-grooming, as well as extract fleas and ticks from their coat while nibbling on it. The number of parasites on their coat drastically reduces through this process of nibbling on their coat with the incisors.
Right behind the incisors are the pointed teeth that are often called fangs. They are located on the top (two) and bottom (two) of both sides of your dog’s mouth. These four teeth are used to puncture and tear food like meat apart. The canines help the dog to hold on to something inside the mouth and are effective when a dog is playing tug-of-war. When a dog bite occurs, the canines make the first contact on the body of the victim because of its pointy nature.
Hot on the heels of the canine teeth is the premolars mostly used for shearing. Sixteen in number – eight on top and eight on the bottom – the sharp-edged pre-molars are used for shearing. The next time you see your dog chewing with the side of its mouth, its pre-molars are at work. These dog teeth help them to chew and shred food when the dog is eating. They often use them to chew meaty bones to separate the meat from the bone.
The last set on the list, the molars are found in the back of your dog’s mouth. Flat but heavy-duty, these teeth are strong enough for grinding and chewing on hard foods. Foods such as dry dog kibble and tough dog biscuits can be crushed with the molars. Unlike the other types of dog teeth that have the same number on the top and bottom of the jaws, the molars beg to differ. Four molars are located on the top of your dog’s mouth while the bottom side boasts six molar teeth.
In conclusion, since your dog has all these teeth, it only makes sense that you take care of its dental health. Regular brushing with dog-friendly toothpaste is required to keep your dog safe from mouth diseases. For dogs that don’t like brushing, hard chew toys aid in their oral hygiene.