Puppies go through various teething stages between birth and the establishment of their full set of permanent teeth. Most dogs finish teething by the age of 7 to 8 months, although certain breeds take longer because of genetic characteristics. During the teething process, your puppy could experience some pain and bleeding gums, or might need help from your veterinarian to remove stubborn baby teeth and open the gum for adult teeth to erupt.
When puppies are born, their gums are toothless, just like a human baby’s gums. Within the first six to eight weeks of life, up to 28 baby teeth appear, starting with the incisors at the age of 2 to 4 weeks old. The canines and premolars appear next. The teething period for baby teeth is short because the teeth are small and don’t have the same root system as permanent teeth do. The baby teeth are very sharp, pointy little teeth that do significant damage to everything they chew, especially when they get hold of your Jimmy Choos and Louboutins.
By the age of 3 months your puppy will begin to lose her baby teeth, starting with the incisors that appeared first. During the next four months, she will gradually drop baby teeth as the adult teeth push through, and by the age of 7 months old she should have a full mouth of permanent teeth. During the months while she is teething she could experience some pain. You might discover a baby tooth in her bed or on the floor, although dogs typically swallow loose teeth without noticing. While she is teething, your puppy will look for every opportunity to chew to relieve the pain.
By the end of the teething process your puppy should have 42 permanent teeth. Larger breeds of dogs tend to develop their permanent teeth faster than smaller breeds, while some breeds have a couple more teeth and others a couple fewer. Occasionally, a puppy might not lose all her baby teeth as the permanent teeth erupt. In these cases, she could end up with two teeth in the same position. This happens most often in the toy breeds and results in an overcrowded mouth and, if left untreated, an inaccurate bite. You may need to get remaining puppy teeth removed by the veterinarian to prevent dental problems later in your puppy’s life.
Care During Teething
You can help your puppy weather the teething process safely and comfortably by teaching her to chew on appropriate items for the duration. An iced carrot or an old towel soaked in water, wrung out and frozen provide good chew toys and help to numb a sore puppy mouth, while ice cubes or crushed ice in drinking water can also relieve pain. Massaging your puppy’s gums with your finger can help to soothe the ache and itch that goes along with teething, or you can purchase homeopathic products such as granules made from chamomilla.
Tracey Sandilands has written professionally since 1990, covering business, home ownership and pets. She holds a professional business management qualification, a bachelor's degree in communications and a diploma in public relations and journalism. Sandilands is the former editor of an international property news portal and an experienced dog breeder and trainer.