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How many teeth do dogs have?

Did you know that caring for your pup's teeth and oral health is essential? But what should you know about their teeth? Here, our vets in Bedford share some important information about your dog's teeth, such as how many they have and how to prevent tooth loss.

How many sets of teeth do dogs have?

The actual number of teeth that your dog has will differ as they move from puppyhood to adulthood. They will have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. 

How many teeth do puppies have?

Puppies are born without teeth; their first teeth won't erupt until around three to four weeks. They should have all 28 puppy teeth by three to five months, including incisors, canines, and premolars.

How many teeth do adult dogs have?

The age of eruption of adult teeth in dogs is between three to seven months. Adult dogs should have 42 permanent teeth, compared to humans, who have 32. Their upper jaw has 20 teeth, while their lower jaw has 22 teeth. 

What are the different types of teeth dogs have?

Each type of tooth a dog has—incisor, canine, premolar, and molar—serves its purpose. Here is what each type of tooth does and where these teeth are located in your dog's mouth:


What is the most visible part of your dog's smile? The teeth's incisors! These are the small teeth in front of the upper and lower jaws. They use them to scrape at meat and groom their coats.


The canines, or 'fangs,' are a pair of long, pointed, and extremely sharp teeth located just behind your dog's incisors. Canine teeth tear into meat and grip objects. Dogs can also show these teeth if they feel threatened or defensive, so understanding dog body language is critical.


Wide pre-molars, or carnassials, on either side of a dog's jaw, on both the top and bottom. Shredding and chewing are done with these teeth, which is why they're relatively sharp. 


The teeth at the back of your dog's mouth, on the top and bottom jaws, are flat molars. Your dog uses these teeth to crunch through hard things such as treats and kibble.

What is the reason behind puppies losing teeth?

Aside from the transition from puppy teeth to adult teeth, it is not normal for a dog to lose teeth. If your dog is losing adult teeth, schedule a dental appointment with your vet.

Here are the most common reasons dogs lose their adult teeth.

  • Periodontal (Gum) Disease: The most common reason for tooth loss in dogs is advanced-stage periodontal disease. Your dog can develop dental disease and decaying teeth without adequate dental care at home and from the vet.
  • Trauma or Injury: Your dog’s teeth can be lost through trauma—whether it’s caused by chewing something or sustaining another injury to their mouth. Some of the most common items that can cause fractures or loss of teeth are made from dense mineral or bone material. To protect your dog’s teeth, avoiding giving them things like beef bones or pork bones is best, as these materials can be too hard and commonly result in fractures and tooth damage.
  • Tooth Decay: Dog teeth decay and wear and tear much faster than human teeth. Dogs use their teeth to pick up, carry, and chew objects. Furthermore, slobbery toys, hair, dirt, feces, and food all pass through a dog's mouth, impacting their dental health. Some dogs (particularly small breed dogs and Greyhounds) develop tooth decay at an alarming rate, necessitating the extraction of multiple teeth in some cases.

What can you do to prevent the loss of adult teeth in dogs?

The sad reality is that over 80 percent of dogs over the age of 3 will develop some level of dental disease, including gingivitis. For this reason, dogs must have their teeth brushed as often as possible to prevent disease development. Dental chews can also be helpful, especially for dogs struggling with toothbrushes. Your dog will also need regularly scheduled cleanings and evaluations with the vet. This is kind of like bringing your dog to the dentist.

If your pooch has trouble chewing or has other concerns about their teeth or mouth (including bad breath!), talk to your vet to find the right course of action to keep those chompers healthy.

If you've noticed loose teeth in your dog's mouth, or if they have bad breath that worsens, make sure to schedule an appointment with a vet as soon as possible. Even if your dog has only lost one of their teeth, they likely have more teeth affected that could benefit from removal to alleviate your dog's pain. Don't put off seeing your veterinarian until your pet isn't eating. Use your pet's annual exam to discuss your dog's teeth and overall dental health before a problem occurs.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to schedule your canine companion for a dental examination and cleaning? Contact our Bedford vets to schedule an appointment. 

We're accepting new patients! Book your pet's first appointment today.

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