You probably have a good idea about the human mouth and the many teeth contained therein, but have you ever wondered “how many teeth do dogs have?” This article will seek to shed light on the realm of doggy dental work in order to bring you one step closer to your pets and also leave you better informed on how to care for your dog’s mouth.
So how many teeth do dogs have?
While there is some variety in the number due to the great variance in morphology among different breeds, i.e. the shape of their bodies, most breeds of dog have two sets of teeth, as confirmed by Lorraine Hiscox, DVM FAVD and Jan Bellows, DVM, Dipl. AVDC, ABVP:
- 28 baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth.
- 42 adult teeth, also known as permanent teeth or “secondary” teeth.
What about wolves?
While most people are aware that dogs are descended from wolves, you might be pleased to discover that dogs and wolves have the exact same number of teeth. Despite having the same quantity of chompers, the teeth of adult wolves are longer and stronger than those of adult dogs.
How do human teeth differ from a dog’s teeth?
Humans have fewer teeth than an adult dog: 20 baby teeth and 32 secondary teeth. Of these, the mouth of a normal adult human contains 12 molars, eight premolars, eight incisors, and four canines.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many teeth do dogs need to eat?
While each type of tooth in a dog’s mouth serves a purpose, the fact that a dog’s mouth contains more teeth than a human’s mouth affords them a bit of leeway in eating without having a complete smile. Your dog needs at least a few of each kind of tooth to properly break food down into portions small enough to swallow and it needs to have teeth on both sides of its jaws. In a situation where something tragically costs your dog most of the teeth on one side of his jaws, that another side is going to have to do extra work to tear, rip and chew his food which may very well take a toll on how long those teeth remain usable.
While another question on this list breaks down each of the types of teeth, and the roles for those teeth, in a dog’s mouth, here is a breakdown of how important each kind of tooth is to your dog’s bite.
- Dogs only have four canine teeth, one in each quadrant of their mouth, making their presence incredibly important, and losing even one can seriously influence how well they can bite.
- A dog should be alright if it has lost no more than two incisors.
- Molars are the second-most prevalent variety of teeth in a dog’s mouth and the loss of a few is less detrimental to your dog’s bite than a loss of some incisors or canines.
- Premolars are the most prominent variety of teeth in a dog’s bite, meaning that losing a few is the least detrimental to a dog’s ability to chew its food.
Can dogs survive without teeth?
While there is the old expression about how a dog’s bark is worse than its bite, some dogs run into the unfortunate situation of literally being all bark, what about these dogs? The short answer to this frequently asked question is “Yes.” In fact, toothless is how all dogs begin life; the baby teeth do not start to emerge until a few weeks of life. A toothless puppy can survive on either its mother’s milk or formula.
In the case of an adult dog, there will definitely be a bit of adjustment to feeding, but a dog whose teeth have suffered to the point of being useless can still live a full and joyous life. The biggest adjustment to feeding a toothless dog will likely be the food you give him; you need to give him the food he likes in a form that forgoes the need to be chewed. This means you may need to mush up his kibble or switch over to canned dog food; just be mindful of any sort of canned food that features gravy as the chunks will likely be just large enough to still require some chewing. One last option when it comes to feeding a toothless dog is to provide him a nutritionally balanced meal (like a protein, some rice, and cooked veggies), but all of those ingredients into a blender and pour the medley into his food dish.
If your dog has lost a lot of teeth and you cannot bear to change the way he enjoys his life, there is also the option of getting him dentures. Much like any other major medical procedure involving a pet, you should consult with your veterinarian in order to get an analysis of the viability of dentures for your dog.
What teeth do dogs have?
Much like humans, dogs have multiple types of teeth.
- Incisors are the frontal teeth. They are the smallest teeth in a dog’s mouth and are used to bite, tear meat from bones, and even groom. Most breeds have six incisors apiece along the top and bottom of their mouths.
- Canines are adjacent to the incisors and are long, pointy things. The main purpose of canines is to rip and tear away meat and to help keep their bite firm when clamping down on a bone or some chew toys. Most breeds of dogs have four canines, evenly distributed among the lower and upper jaw.
- Premolars are located past the canines. These teeth are sharp because they exist to chew and rip apart the dog’s food. Anytime you notice that your dog is noshing on something while holding it to the side of his head, that means he is using his premolars. Most adult breeds have 16 premolars, evenly distributed among the upper and lower jaws.
- Molars are found in the same general area of a dog’s mouth as they appear in the human mouth-the very back of the jaws. While premolars are nice and sharp to rip and tear at things, molars are flat, durable, and exist to chew sturdy things like kibble. Molars are the only type of teeth in a dog’s mouth that exist in different numbers between the upper and lower jaw; most breeds have 10 molars, with four along the top and six along the bottom.
How many teeth does a puppy lose?
Before you can count how many teeth a dog loses, you must first count how many teeth it gains; dogs enter this world without a single tooth to their name. Let’s take a closer look at the dental development of a dog from pup to adult.
- Two Weeks of Age to 30 Days: The teething process will begin at some point around this time, based on the breed. The order that a dog’s baby teeth begin to emerge is incisors, then premolars, then molars, and then canines. One final name for these baby teeth would be “milk teeth,” due to the fact that the dog is still nursing milk from its mother.
- 35 to 60 Days: All 28 baby teeth should emerge by now and the two-month mark signals the pint that your dog will start losing his baby teeth. Since the only natural reason for baby teeth to fall out of the gums is to make way for the adult teeth, it is very possible that your dog could be eating food with two sets of teeth at once.
- 3-4 Months of Age: This is the point when the baby teeth should start falling out left and right. Adult teeth will erupt from the gum line in the same pattern as their infantile predecessors:
- Half a Year Old: Your sweet little pup will have lost all 28 of their baby teeth by this point. Make sure to bring him in to the vet so you can have a good idea of how few dental care treatments you will need to worry about and to verify that everything is okay. Even beyond the dental issues, six months is a good period of time to go in for a full check-up on your dog’s vitals.
Now you know that dogs have two sets of teeth that break down into four categories and despite being called canines, canine teeth account for the fewest type of tooth in a dog’s mouth. While it is possible for a dog to enjoy a full and productive life and also eat with few teeth or even none at all, you should still have its teeth regularly cared for and watch for signs of oral problems.