When do puppies lose their teeth? What to expect from puppy teething
Written by Napo HQ
Reviewed by Dr. Oli Robinson MRCVS and The Finchley Vet team
10th Jul 2023
4 mins read
Puppies have two sets of teeth. Temporary baby teeth, and permanent adult teeth. They start to lose their baby teeth at about four months old, and should have all their adult teeth by the time they're six months old. For more on what to expect during puppy teething, and how to make your pup more comfortable, read on!
Puppy teething can be a challenge for both puppies and their owners. It's an uncomfortable experience for the pups, and frustrating for their humans who have to deal with excessive chewing and biting. (Not to mention all your stuff getting gnawed on!)
It can be a bit overwhelming, but don't worry, there are things you can do to make your puppy more comfortable, and make life easier for you.
Why do puppies lose their teeth?
Puppies, like human babies, are born without teeth. At three weeks old they develop their first set of teeth, their "deciduous teeth". You'll probably call them as "puppy teeth", "milk teeth", or "baby teeth".
Veterinary textbooks might tell you that at three weeks of age, puppies' front incisors start to emerge. These are followed by the canine teeth at four weeks. By six weeks, their premolars start coming in, and by eight weeks, their molars begin to emerge. This is a guideline though, and in fact, the variation in puppies is huge!
These puppy teeth are temporary. As they grow, they'll lose their baby teeth and replace them with permanent adult teeth.
When do puppies lose their teeth?
Puppies start losing their baby teeth at around three or four months of age. This is when their adult teeth start to come in and push out the baby teeth. The process usually starts with the incisors, which are the small teeth at the front of the mouth. Most dogs will have all of their adult teeth by 6 months old. But again, the variation in timings of this is huge between individual dogs.
What do puppy teeth look like when they fall out?
Puppy teeth can look like a big, sharp grain of rice. Or just like a tiny, hollow, white mountain. These lost teeth are less than 1cm long in most cases, so they’re tough to spot!
You might find the whole tooth, but more often than not you'll only find a piece of the tooth, or no tooth at all. That's because it's common for puppy teeth to fall out in pieces, or for your puppy to swallow them. Don't worry, it's normal for pups to swallow their baby teeth, and is harmless.
When do puppies stop teething?
Your puppy should stop teething when they're six to eight months old, because all their adult teeth should have come in.
What are the signs that my puppy is teething?
Often, you won’t actually see any signs that your puppy is teething, unless you find a bit of tooth on the floor. Most puppies act completely normally! Although teething pups tend to chew a lot, all puppies have a tendency to chew because it’s a natural behaviour and how they explore the world.
The teething process can be a challenging time for puppies, and it is essential to look out for signs that your furry friend is going through this process. Some of the signs of teething in puppies include:
- Finding teeth:One of the biggest giveaways is finding a tooth on the floor. You might not always find them though, puppies will often swallow them by accident.
- Chewing and biting:Puppies will chew on anything they can get their paws on, including your hands and furniture. Chewing relieves the discomfort of teething, so give them appropriate chew toys to satisfy their urge to chew, and save your furniture!
- Find appropriate chew toys.Many chews can be too hard and can cause tooth breakages. (Which can be very painful and mean expensive veterinary treatment!) So make sure you use chews especially designed for teething puppies from reputable companies.
- Drooling:Puppies may drool more than usual during teething because their gums are sore and painful.
- Bleeding gums:As their baby teeth fall out, you may notice a little bleeding in your puppy's gums or little streaks of blood on their toys.
- Bad breath:It's common for puppies to get bad breath when they're teething. However, bad breath in an older dog is a sign of periodontal disease.
My puppy is teething but seems tired, sore, or sick. Is this normal?
If your puppy shows any symptoms like sore gums, lethargy, loss of appetite, or reluctance to play or exercise, it’s a good idea to take them to a vet. Often if a puppy is showing symptoms, there is something else going on other than teething. And while teething might be the cause in some cases, it’s better to be safe than sorry and get any problems seen to early.
How can I help my puppy during teething?
Of course, you'll want to help keep your puppy comfortable and healthy during teething. There are lots of things you can do to make things easier for them (and easier for you to deal with them!)
- Provide appropriate chew toys:Ensure that you provide your puppy with appropriate chew toys to satisfy their urge to chew. Avoid objects that are too hard or small, as they may cause damage to their teeth or be a choking hazard.
- Use frozen treats and toys:Cold objects can help soothe your puppy's gums and reduce inflammation. You can freeze a wet washcloth, a carrot, or a filled kong to help relieve the pain. Just remember to let it defrost slightly first, so it’s not too hard!
- Offer easy-to-eat meals:During teething, your puppy may lose their appetite, or feel discomfort while eating. Offer them soft and easy-to-eat foods to try and help.
- Regular veterinary checkups:Regular veterinary checkups are essential to make sure your puppy's teeth are developing correctly and to spot any problems early.
When to visit the vet
While some discomfort and irritation are a normal part of puppy teething, sometimes a pup's teeth need some extra help. If your puppy's discomfort and pain become excessive, and they are showing symptoms that are beyond the norm, then take them for a check-up.
Some teething problems in puppies include gum inflammation, fractured teeth, and retained baby teeth. Your vet may recommend some over-the-counter medication, or prescribe painkillers as necessary. In the case of retained baby teeth, your pup may need surgical extractions.
If your puppy reaches six months old and you think they have some baby teeth left, you must get them checked.
Although puppy teething is completely normal, and all puppies go through it, it's still a challenging time for you and your pup. But with a bit of preparation, patience, and expert guidance, you can get through it as painlessly and smoothly as possible.
You can help keep your puppy's teeth healthy and strong by providing them with chewable and frozen toys. Additionally, maintain their dental hygiene.
Do you need help with puppy biting and chewing? Join the "Biting and Chewing" class at Puppy Academy. Get the extra guidance you need for your pup and personal advice from a behaviourist. All Puppy Academy classes are free with Napo puppy insurance.