What Does It Mean When Your Puppy Has Double Milk Fangs?

by Jane Meggitt Google
    It's not "the more the merrier" when it comes to fangs.

    It's not "the more the merrier" when it comes to fangs.

    David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    If your puppy's fangs have you seeing double, it's likely because the baby teeth didn't fall out on schedule as the permanent tooth erupted. While puppies might retain other teeth, the deciduous upper canines, or fangs, are most likely to stay put. Take your pet to the vet for extraction of retained baby fangs.

    Your puppy was born toothless, but by the time he was 3 weeks old his deciduous teeth, also known as milk teeth or baby teeth, started erupting. First come the incisors, followed by the fangs and then others. Dogs use their fangs to grab food or objects and to puncture the item. All of his baby teeth, 28 of them, should be in place by the time he's 6 weeks old.

    Around 3 months of age, adult teeth begin erupting. That's when that terrible teething stage begins -- when puppies chew on anything and everything and no shoes are safe. As the adult teeth come through the gums, the deciduous teeth should fall out. If a baby tooth doesn't fall out, the adult tooth may come in at a strange angle or an odd position. When the entire process finishes, at the age of 6 or 7 months, the dog has 42 adult teeth. Puppies don't have molars, used for grinding.

    If retained teeth aren't removed, various problems ensue. Your dog might develop periodontal disease, since the presence of two teeth in the same spot causes food-particle collection. Retained teeth are more likely to develop painful abscesses. They also cause malocclusion or defective bite. This can result in jaw and tongue problems. While any dog might retain teeth, it appears to have a genetic component. Toy dogs and brachycephalic, or short-nosed breeds, are more likely to retain teeth. The latter include breeds such as the pug, bulldog and Pekingese.

    You've been taking your puppy to the vet regularly for checkups. At each visit, your vet checks your pup's mouth to make sure the teeth are coming in properly; once adult teeth erupt, the deciduous teeth aren't retained. If she spots a retained tooth, she can make arrangements to have it pulled. Since many vets wait until a dog is 6 months of age, after the full set of adult have emerged, before pulling retained teeth, you might want to coordinate spaying or neutering -- and the need for anesthesia -- with tooth extraction.

    Photo Credits

    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, her work has appeared in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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