Pet AgingPrevention

Can Dogs Lose Their Teeth?

dog smiling teeth purple background

Article Highlights

  • Puppies losing teeth is normal

  • Adult dogs losing teeth is not normal

  • Causes of dog tooth loss

Puppy teeth

Puppies are born without teeth, and develop them when they are about three to four weeks old. They continue to grow their puppy teeth for the next three to five months. Puppies have 28 teeth, most of which are sharp. Puppies do not have molar teeth, so they may not eat a lot of crunchy or hard food. Puppies lose their teeth similarly to humans as a natural part of growing up. Most puppies form their permanent teeth between three to seven months old.

Adult dog teeth

An adult dog will have 42 permanent teeth. The upper jaw has 22 teeth and the lower jaw has 20. While it is normal for puppies to lose their teeth, it is not normal for adult dogs to lose theirs.

Causes of tooth loss

The three most common reasons for dogs to lose their teeth are periodontal disease, trauma, and tooth decay.

Periodontal disease results from inflammation in the gums together with inflammation of the dog’s bone and tooth structure. It can lead to decaying gums and teeth. Periodontal disease is often the result of improper dental care.

Trauma to the teeth can cause your dog’s teeth to fall out. This could come from a head or mouth injury, or simply from chewing. Chewing on dense objects or bone mineral is one of the most common causes of fractures in dog teeth.

Tooth decay is common in dogs. Besides eating, dogs use their teeth to pick up things, chew things to soothe themselves, or carry items around. Smaller dogs may be more prone to tooth decay. Tooth decay is painful and decayed teeth may need to be removed.

If your dog is losing its adult teeth, you should contact your veterinarian. It is important to help them maintain proper dental hygiene and remove teeth if needed.