How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

Have you ever admired your dog's smile and wondered how many teeth they have? Just as with humans, dogs have two sets of teeth during their lifetime and how many they have will depend on their age. You should expect your puppy to have 28 needle-sharp teeth and your adult dog to have 42 - this is the same no matter the breed of dog. 

Of course, for an adult dog, proper dental care or lack thereof can play a large role in how many teeth they retain in adulthood. In this guide, we’ll explain a little more about what to expect with your dog's teeth from puppyhood to adulthood and how to best care for them. 


Types Of Teeth

The 42 adult teeth your dog has in their jaw are made up of four different types of teeth with each type serving a specific purpose.  


Your dog has 12 incisors, six on the top and six on the bottom. These are used for tearing meat from bones and in self-grooming. 


Often referred to as ‘fangs’ your dog has four of these teeth, two at the top and two at the bottom. Due to their shape, they are used to puncture or grip items and are essential to a good game of tug of war. 


There are 16 premolar teeth in a healthy adult dog. These are split equally between the top and bottom jaw and are used for shearing and gnawing. 


Made for grinding and chewing, your dog has six molars on their bottom jaw and four on the upper jaw. 


When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth? 

Within two weeks of being born, a puppy’s milk teeth (also known as deciduous teeth) will begin to erupt and will be fully grown within eight to ten weeks. Unlike human children, puppies do not keep these teeth for long.

Due to the rapid maturation of a puppy, these milk teeth begin to fall out at just 4 months of age. By the age of six or seven months, most dogs will have lost all their deciduous teeth and all of their adult teeth will be present. 


Surviving Teething

Anyone with any experience with puppies will know that the chewing can get out of hand pretty quickly! This intense need to chew on just about anything is due to the natural process of teething that every puppy goes through.

As the adult teeth emerge, they put pressure on the deciduous teeth which stimulate the reabsorption of their roots. Once the roots have reabsorbed, the visible part of the deciduous tooth (crown) will fall out.  

During teething your puppy will seek out things to chew as this can help to ease the discomfort they are feeling as their adult teeth are coming through. Avoid anything that is too hard such as cooked bones, cow hooves or nylon chew toys as these can actually damage their adult teeth.  

It is important to give them plenty of safe things to chew on like rope toys, teddies and other easy-to-chew items and keep them away from clothing, shoes and furniture which could fall victim to their tiny but powerful jaws. 


What If A Deciduous Tooth Is Retained? 

Occasionally, a dog's deciduous teeth may not fall out before an adult tooth has begun to emerge. These are known as persistent teeth. 

Persistent teeth may eventually fall out, but if retained can cause issues with crowding, malpositioned adult teeth, tooth decay, infection of oral tissues and more. In some cases, it may even cause your dog to have difficulties eating. 

Your vet will need to extract these persistent teeth as early as possible to avoid these issues - this often means it cannot wait until your dog desexed. Removal is performed under anaesthesia and with great care to avoid damage to emerging adult teeth. 


Caring For Your Dogs Teeth

Ensuring your dog retains all their adult teeth for as long as possible is vital to their health and well-being. Brushing their teeth using specially formulated toothpaste, giving them bones, hard chews and dental treats can all contribute to retaining great oral health. 

At your dog’s annual check-up, your vet will perform a check of your dog's teeth. They look for signs of decay or plaque build-up and in some cases may recommend cleaning under anaesthesia or removal of a tooth that is decayed. 

Remember, healthy teeth support your dog to live a long and happy life so always follow your vet's advice in this area. 

For further information on how to keep your dog's teeth healthy, check out Dr Kate's Blog who are happy to help.

Want to watch more Bondi Vet content? Subscribe to our channel.

Back to blog