Estimating Age by Observing Teeth
Puppies are born without teeth but baby canines (the longer teeth on each side in the front of the mouth) begin erupting at around 3 to 4 weeks of age, with incisors (the tiny teeth in the front) and premolars (larger side teeth) coming in at around 4 to 6 weeks of age. Puppies should have a total of 28 baby teeth by the age of 8 weeks.
Around the age of 4 to 5 months, puppies will begin shedding their baby teeth and by the age of 7 months all permanent incisors, canines, premolars and molars should be in. Adult dogs of most breeds have 42 teeth.
Dealing with Teething
Young puppies love to chew. Chewing serves to ease the discomfort of teething and sometimes relieves boredom. It is also a form of play as well as a puppy's way of exploring the big new world he's fascinated with. Puppy owners should accept a certain amount of chewing, even as the dog matures. However, in order for Puppy to live in harmony with the family, his urge to chew must be controlled and directed in positive ways.
- Provide your puppy with plenty of exercise and play time with you. This will help prevent boredom. Train your puppy not to nip or mouth your hands. If he does, give a loud, high-pitched ‘no’ and stop playing immediately. Totally ignore him for a few minutes. Over time, he will learn that playing too rough causes the fun to stop.
Don’t ever hit or slap a puppy as this can come back to haunt you in the form of aggressiveness or hand shyness.
- Provide plenty of chew toys for your puppy that don’t resemble items that are off limits to him. Make sure they are safe and not something he can choke on. Good choices may include rawhide chewies (the crumbly kind; not the leathery kind), toys that can be filled with treats, and rope toys. You may wet and freeze rope toys, or even a carrot, to help relieve sore teething gums. Rotate his toys so he doesn’t become bored. If you catch him chewing on your shoes or the tv remote, give him a stern ‘no’ and replace it with one of his chew toys.
- Remove temptation by keeping children’s toys, valuables, garbage, and hazardous items, such as electrical cords, out of Puppy’s reach.
- Make use of a baby gate or a crate when you have to be away but leave your puppy plenty of his own toys to occupy his time.
- To protect your puppy’s dental health, he should have regular
physical exams by the veterinarian.
- Ask the veterinarian about a diet that will enhance dental health.
- Regularly brushing your dog's teeth at home is very important. Dogs are more cooperative if this is started at a young age. Any soft toothbrush or a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger will work. Be sure to use toothpaste formulated specially for dogs as human toothpastes can upset their tummy. This should be done daily or at least several times a week. This, and periodic professional cleanings throughout your dog’s life, as recommended by your veterinarian, will help prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease which can lead to painful abscesses and damage to internal organs.
Dogs and Problem Chewing
Foundation for Easy Puppy Training
Solving Dog Problems
Puppy Training to Stop Playful Biting and Nipping