When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth?

by DFS-Pet-Blog on September 23, 2010


One of the biggest challenges in raising a puppy is dealing with all of the chewing they do. It can be a bit less frustrating if you consider that for almost the first year of his life, your puppy is dealing with some big changes going on in his mouth.

Dogs have two sets of teeth: 28 deciduous (baby) teeth, which will eventually be replaced by 42 permanent (adult) teeth. When a puppy is two or three weeks old, the deciduous teeth begin to erupt through the gums, starting with the incisors, followed by the canine teeth, and finally the premolars. All of the deciduous teeth should be in place by about eight weeks of age. These first teeth are small, and painfully sharp, as owners of young puppies know. This is part of the reason most mother dogs begin to wean their pups at 5 or 6 weeks of age.

By eight to twelve weeks of age, the roots of the deciduous teeth are starting to resorb and the teeth begin to loosen and fall out. This makes room for the permanent teeth to erupt normally. As with the deciduous teeth, the permanent incisors are the first to come in, followed by the canine teeth, and the premolars. The last teeth to erupt in the adult set are the molars. Puppies do not have molars, which is why there are fewer deciduous teeth. In most breeds of dogs, all of the permanent teeth should be present by about 8 months of age.


Just as you should begin an at-home dental care program as soon as you get your new puppy, this is also the time we recommend you start observing his teeth to make sure they are coming in normally. Any baby teeth that don’t fall out to make way for the adult teeth are called retained deciduous teeth. Having two teeth crowded into a space meant for one can cause dental problems. Food can be caught between the teeth and cause periodontal disease. The pressure from the retained deciduous tooth can push the adult tooth into an abnormal position, where it may push against the lip or gum causing an ulcer, or prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming together properly, which may cause chewing problems.

Retained deciduous teeth need to be removed surgically. Ideally, this should be done as soon as they are noticed, so that the adult tooth has the best chance of coming in normally. At the time the dog is neutered, typically around 4-6 months of age, any retained deciduous teeth should definitely be removed.
Did this post answer your questions about puppy teeth? Leave us a comment with any additional questions you’d like us to answer!

By Marty R. Smith, DVM

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

VitaHound Staff October 4, 2010 at 2:41 am

Our staff at VitaHound have been researching deciduous teeth and effective methods for removal when necessary. Hopefully there will be some details on the best practices for this procedure in future posts. Or staff is constantly surfing quality sites to gain a broad spectrum of info. Research on dog health is growing but website such as Foster and Smith seem to be taking the lead. Our intention is to also provide a forum on very specific areas.

Anna B. November 18, 2010 at 8:57 am

This was a great article…and I saw it first in one of the recent catalogs. It has come in handy because my son just adopted a Staffordshire Bull Terrier pup who has been innocently puncturing his pant cuffs and hand. It helps to stay calm and not jerk away in pain…and the only way to do this is mentally prepare for the bite and understand this is how puppies learn about the world around them. Short time outs help curb the biting.

Calvin February 16, 2012 at 9:55 am

I have a puppy that’s almost 5 months that broke what i thought was its molar at least 2 weeks ago, he completely split it in 3 places. It was red inbetween the cracks of the 3 points, and later the 2 inner pieces fell out at some point. He has never acted as if he’s in pain, he chews on that side of his mouth, and I had taken him to the vet when I noticed (2wks ago) and he said to wait and see if theres any swelling. He still hasnt lost any of his baby teeth. Should I worry? Should I have my vet perform some procedure any way to extract the remainder of the teeth? Will this affect the following tooth coming in behind it..?

Holly Nash, DVM February 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

It would be a good idea to have that part of the mouth x-rayed to see if there is a part of the tooth or a root fragment present that could cause an infection or affect the health of the permanent tooth. The fragment could serve as a conduit for infection of the permanent tooth. Good luck!

Antoinette February 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

I have seven month old poodle with an overbite. When the vet looked at it a month ago, she said she didn’t think it would cause any problems. At this time Ruby still had her four baby canine teeth outside of her adult teeth which she said still need to come out. She recommended raw hides and chew toys to help loosen them. They still have not come out and I am worried. Ruby does not seem to be in any pain and there is no swelling or sores. Should I have these lingering baby teeth pulled? Can a regular vet do it or do I have to find a specialized vet/dentist?

Holly Nash, DVM February 21, 2012 at 9:02 am

In most cases it is recommended that the baby teeth be removed once the adult teeth have started to come it. It is a bit tricky, as it is important not to disrupt or damage the adult teeth as the baby teeth are being removed. I would certainly want someone well versed in canine dentistry to do it, and also examine the overbite. Your veterinarian could give you a referral, or you could contact the nearest veterinary college or your state veterinary medical association for possible names. This website may also be helpful: http://www.avdc-dms.org/dms/list/diplomates.cfm?CFID=12022180&CFTOKEN=93870559. Good luck!

Amber April 24, 2012 at 12:35 am

My puppy is 4 months almost 5 and has only lost one tooth

Patty April 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Is it normal for their mouths to bleed as this happens? My 3 month old pup (will be 4 mos on May 7th) and he was chewing his bone and there was blood on it and his bone is pure white? Also, he barely licks me right now because it seems like he’s in pain! He’s a normal licking machine so I’m kind of worried!

katrina August 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm

My 4 month old Mini Schnauzer has been getting his adult teeth but still has his baby teeth behind them..will they fall out or do I need to have them removed? they are loose.

Lori Morgan November 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I have a 13 month old pup (pit/terrier) He just started biting on the legs of my chairs and table. I have bought expensive chew toys for him and he uses them but still likes the chairs and table. I’m not sure why he does it or what I can do. Please help! !

carol August 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm

We have just got an American bull dog cross, not sure what she’s crossed with, Battersea dogs home say she is about 12months old, but her teeth are like needles, could these still be baby teeth, or could she be younger than first thought

jessica October 1, 2014 at 5:36 pm

My 3 month year old and i wear playing tug of war and i noticed a little bit of blood on his gums and freaked out. But then thought of witch tooth came out, it was one of his front tooth. Is this fine? There is no tooth coming out thought, just a hole. i gave him an ice just incase.

jessica October 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm

It was his baby tooth that came out.

Wanda gray September 15, 2015 at 8:57 am

My puppy is a Yorkie and I just noticed she has no bottom teeth except in back does this mean she list all her baby teet when will her per ante tech come in

Briana W. September 15, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Hi Wanda. Most puppies begin to lose their deciduous (baby) teeth at around 12 weeks of age, although there can be quite a bit of normal variation. In general, small breeds tend to begin losing teeth later than large breeds. Teeth are usually lost front to back, starting with the incisors and ending with the pre-molars. In most breeds of dogs, permanent teeth are in by about 8 months of age, but again, there can be variation.

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