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How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

Not all dog owners are aware that puppies will lose their teeth and that this isn't a cause for concern. In this post, our South Salem vets share how many sets of teeth dogs have throughout their life, and what you can do to care for them.

Dental Changes As Your Puppy Grows

You will find that the number of teeth they have will increase as they transform from a puppy into an adult. So, if you are worried that your puppy doesn't appear to have as many teeth as they should, just give it time.

How many teeth do puppies have?

Puppies are born without teeth, and it’s around when they are 3 to 4 weeks old that their puppy teeth will begin to erupt. By 3 to 5 months of age, all 28 of their puppy teeth including incisors, canines, and premolars should have come in.

How many teeth do adult dogs have?

When your dog is 3 to 7 months of age, you should notice their adult teeth beginning to erupt. Adult dogs should have 42 permanent teeth, as compared to humans who have 32 teeth.  A dog's upper jaw has 20 teeth, while their lower jaw has 22 teeth. 

Types of Teeth Dogs Have

Just like humans, dogs have incisors, canines, premolars, and molars, and each serves a purpose. Here is what each type of tooth does and where these teeth are located in your dog's mouth:


The incisors are the teeth that are at the front of your dog's mouth, in between their canines. These are the small teeth directly in front of both the upper and lower parts of the jaw. Dogs will use these teeth to tear apart their food and also to groom their coat.


Behind the incisors are the canines, or "fangs." These are the long, pointed, and extra sharp teeth on the top and bottom set of teeth. Canine teeth tear into the meat and hold objects in their mouth. If a dog feels threatened or defensive, they will display these teeth with a bit of a snarl to show that they mean business.


On either side of a dog's jaw on both the top and bottom are wide pre-molars, or carnassials. These teeth tend to do a majority of their chewing, which is why they need to be relatively sharp. 


At the very back of a dog's mouth, above and below, are flat molars. He uses these to crunch on hard things, such as treats, kibble, and toys.

Why Your Dog May Lose Teeth

Aside from the transition from puppy teeth to adult teeth, your dog shouldn't be losing any teeth. If you notice that your dog is losing their adult teeth, you should contact your vet and schedule a dental appointment.

Some of the more common reasons why an adult dog would lose their teeth include:

  • Periodontal Disease - The most common reason for a dog to lose teeth is because of advanced dental disease in their mouth. Without proper dental care—like brushing and veterinary dental cleanings—periodontal disease can lead to diseased gums and decaying teeth.
  • Trauma - Your dog’s teeth can be lost through the process of trauma—whether it’s caused by chewing something or sustaining another injury to their mouth. Some of the most common items that can cause fractures or loss of teeth are made from dense mineral or bone material. To protect your dog’s teeth, it is best to avoid giving your dog things such as beef bones or pork bones, as these materials can be too hard and commonly result in fractures and tooth damage.
  • Tooth Decay - Dogs’ teeth are prone to decay and wear and tear at a much faster rate than our own. They use their teeth to pick things up, carry things and chew things. In addition, a lot of things pass through a dog’s mouth, like slobbery toys, hair, dirt, feces, and food. All of this can take a toll on the health of their teeth. Some dogs (especially small breed dogs and Greyhounds) experience tooth decay at an extraordinarily fast rate, requiring many teeth to be extracted by a vet throughout their lifetime.

Caring for Your Dog's Oral Health

By the time they're 3 years old, more than 80 percent of dogs will develop some type of periodontal condition, including gingivitis. With that being said, you should brush your dog's teeth regularly to avoid forms of dental disease. Giving your pup dental chews is a good idea, and taking them to the vet for dental checkups and cleanings is a must.

You should take your dog to the vet as soon as you can if you notice they are having trouble chewing their food or toys. If your pup is refraining from eating, that could be a side that they are experiencing tooth pain.

If you notice that your dog is losing teeth, has loose or wiggly teeth, or has progressively worsening breath, don't hesitate to bring them to the vet. Even if your dog has just lost one of their adult teeth, it could be a sign that their are more diseased teeth in their mouth. This could mean they are in a great deal of pain, so consult with your veterinarian right away. Use your pet’s routine exam as an opportunity to discuss your dog’s teeth and overall dental health before there is a problem.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of dental pain or disease? Don't wait and hope it goes away on its own. Contact our South Salem vets to get your pup the care they need.

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