Taking Care of Your Puppy’s Oral Health
Maintaining your puppy’s oral health is key to a long, happy, pain free life for your pet. This article is intended to give you general information about puppy oral care and dental disease.
Do Puppy Teeth Fall Out?
Puppies are generally born without teeth. After 3-4 weeks, 28 temporary teeth begin to emerge. These teeth are called milk teeth and their purpose is to allow the puppy to eat while it learns to consume a solid food diet. These teeth generally fall out between 14 and 30 weeks.
Some owners are concerned when their puppy’s teeth start falling out, especially because this can occur during play. The important thing to remember is that as long as your dog is between 14 and 30 weeks, these teeth are generally only milk teeth.
How Do a Puppy’s Adult Teeth Come In?
A puppy’s milk teeth first begin to appear between 3 and 6 weeks. The first teeth to appear are the incisors. There should be six on the bottom and six on the top of the mouth. Next come the canines, of which there are four in total, two on the bottom and two on the top. Finally, the puppy will grow premolars. These flatter teeth will form behind the canines, with three on the bottom of each side and three on the top of each side.
At around 16 weeks, the puppy’s adult teeth will begin to emerge and push out the milk teeth. These adult teeth erupt in the same pattern as the baby teeth, incisors, canines, premolars, and then molars. The puppy’s incisors generally erupt between 2 and 5 months of age. The canines form around 4-6 months. The premolars between 4 and 7 months, and the molars generally before 8 months. By the time your puppy is 8 months old, it should generally have 42 permanent adult teeth.
What Can I Do to Help Puppy Teething?
Most veterinarians agree that pain and discomfort during the teething period is generally dramatised. If your puppy is continuing with its normal activities, (eating, playing, drinking) then there is no reason to visit a vet unless further issues emerge.
You can aid in the teething process by supplying your puppy with safe chews and soft toys for the puppy to teeth on. Look out for toys that are easy to bend and flex, and toys that are soft to the touch. Other than that, there isn’t much for puppy owners need to do, other than allow nature to take its course.
Puppy Teeth Bleeding
Although losing teeth is quite normal for puppies, there are signs to look out which may indicate a larger issue, gum disease. More than 80% of dogs over the age of 4 experience gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection that builds up on your puppy’s teeth and gums. If left unchecked it can cause oral bleeding, bad breath, and loss of teeth.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
To prevent gum disease, owners should provide their puppies with ample chewing options such as toys, raw bones, and pig ear, etc. These products encourage your dog to chew. This in turn, stimulates saliva secretion, which helps fight plaque. In addition, owners can aid their pet’s dental health by maintaining a balanced, quality diet. If your dog doesn’t like chewing, brushing is an alternative.
What Should I Do If I Think My Puppy or Dog Has Gum Disease?
If you are concerned that your pet has gum disease, it’s important to act quickly to ensure that treatment begins before the onset of irreversible damage. Visit your veterinarian for a dental check-up. Your vet will assess the condition of your puppy’s mouth to decide what action needs to be taken.
From this point, the vet will most likely flush your puppy’s mouth, gums, and teeth, to remove any build-up of plaque and tartar. Following that, your vet may remove any teeth which have been severely damaged or infected to avoid further contamination. In extreme cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to safeguard from the spread of infection into your puppy’s bloodstream.
As with most diseases, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to dental health. Follow the guides in this article to maintain good dental hygiene and prevent the onset of gum disease.