Caring for your puppy's teeth
By three to four weeks of age your puppy’s temporary teeth, or milk teeth, will start to come through. They have 28 milk teeth in total. At around 3-4 months the milk teeth will start to come loose and fall out. They will then be replaced by their permanent teeth.
Puppies should lose their milk teeth before their adult teeth emerge. If your puppy’s teeth are still in place when an adult tooth begins to show, you’ll need to get advice from your vet.
The first permanent teeth to come through are usually the two centre teeth on the top jaw, and the last are the big corner or canine teeth in the top and bottom jaw. Most puppies will feel very little discomfort but may salivate more when the permanent teeth come through.
The average dog's mouth has 44 teeth. There are usually 22 on the top and 22 on the bottom. These teeth are divided into 8 upper and 6 lower incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 4 upper and 6 lower molars.
Because bad teeth are very common in dogs, now's the time to start paying careful attention to them. Check your pet's teeth regularly, at least once a week, and look out for early warning signs; these include:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Build-up of tartar and plaque on the teeth
Brushing your dog's teeth every day will go a long way towards preventing dental problems, so it's a good idea to start straight away. Ask your vet to recommend a dog toothpaste (human toothpaste is not suitable) and toothbrush.
How To Brush Your Dogs Teeth
Firstly make sure their lead is secured.
Position yourself and your puppy, so that you can have easy access to your puppy's mouth.
Put some toothpaste on your finger and allow your puppy to lick it off and then start gently massaging it onto their teeth.
Once used to this you can start using a dog toothbrush.
Gently pull back lips and cheeks to gain access to the premolars and molars.
Brush in a circular motion, and be sure to brush where the tooth meets the gumline.
Try and get to the very back teeth, where teeth problems are most likely to develop.
It is important to keep your puppy calm and relaxed by praising throughout.
Although this task may initially seem daunting, it becomes easier with practice and if your puppy gets used to it early in life it will become a simple task for you both.
As well as toothbrushing, there are special foods available that you can use to help keep your puppy’s teeth and gums healthy when they become an adult. Hill’s Science Plan Oral Care is specially formulated with large dry kibbles designed to wipe the teeth clean, helping to keep your pet's teeth free from plaque.