Puppy Teeth, and teething time.
Shhhh. If you are very quiet, you can hear 44 canine puppy teeth falling into the oblivion of time. Or maybe on the floor. But more than likely harmlessly swallowed where they partially digest, THEN fall into the oblivion of poop. Now in December, our 5 month old summer litters are rounding that milestone corner now. I thought I'd write a little about it.
Puppies , have two sets of teeth just like humans. Baby teeth (sometimes referred to as "milk teeth") and larger more solid adult teeth. The incisors (at the front of the mouth) and the canine teeth (the fangs) come out first, followed by the premolars. Dogs do not have any baby molars. At around 12 weeks, the milk teeth begin to fall out, and the permanent teeth begin to come out. Normally by 6 months of age, all permanent teeth have grown in, and all milk teeth have fallen out. It is normal to see a little blood that accompanies the loose tooth.
Problems with milk teeth are rare. It is unusual that a pup will have a dental problem that is serious enough to require advanced intervention or referral to a veterinary dentist. Bonnie Lee had one canine that didn't fall out until 7 months old. With some frozen toys and bones, she was able to work it out on her own. Sometimes this condition will need veterinary dental care, to extract the milk tooth that has not come out by 8 months old. Some breeds, like smaller breeds and brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds, have a tendency to retain some of their milk teeth. But, I don't breed those problem-riddled dogs. In our normal-mouthed Colorado Mountain Dogs, we usually don't have any issues.
The normal process of teething makes a puppy want to chew things. Soft things, hard things, warm things, cold things. It is best to supply your pup with a variety of chew things at this time. If you don't, they will find something to chew on. Chewing seems to relieve some of the discomfort of teething. Thousands of dogs have been chewing on things for thousands of years without incident. But recently the rule of thumb is "If it doesn't bend don't use it." Kongs and Nylabones have a full line appropriate for puppy teething. Thousands of dogs have been chewing on things for thousands of years without incident. Use your discretion and always supervise; one of my favorite "go-to's" for chewing are real bones. Frozen shank bones are a staple around here. (Bake the bone 350 for one hour then re-freeze) Raw bones can be beneficial, but the raw fat and marrow can cause loose stools. Also see Blog Post Companion Dog Enrichment for more mouth comforting ideas.
A few things can happen during teething time that are usually temporary, but can cause some concern none the less. Dog can "tear", their eyes running and causing tear stains. Sometimes an ear infection that was just brewing under the surface can be made viable during teething time.
Behavior can get tweaked during teething. Once the full set of adult teeth have come in, it marks the beginning of the "Fear Period". Fear periods are a normal part of puppyhood, but they also can be hard for dogs. During fear periods, puppies become more sensitive and aware of the world around them. They may be more concerned about new objects or experiences, and even things that they previously might have enjoyed can become worrisome. Your puppy will experience fear periods, which are a normal evolutionary part of puppy development. Please see "Fear Periods of Puppy Development" blog post for more info on that. (Publishing Dec 14th 2022).
Now is a good time to start a dental care routine for your puppy. Regular brushing and vet dental exams can save you lots of heartache and money later in your dog's life. The handling can help later in life, getting your dog used to having its mouth poked and prodded without risk of injury or behavior problems. Any pet supplier will have a full selection of dental care products. Use what works for you. Trust me....use it or lose it