A puppy’s teething journey is quite an interesting process. If you’re wondering, “What do puppy teeth look like”, we’re about to discuss some of the most important functions of this process, from them losing their milk teeth all the way to when their gums erupt with strong permanent teeth.
Why Are Puppy Teeth So Sharp?
Are puppies supposed to have teeth that seem like they were Photoshopped onto them from a poster of ‘Jaws’? Well, an obvious reason for their sharp teeth is because their puppy ancestors needed them to chomp on their first catch.
Of course, modern speculation into the matter helped discover that their teeth are sharp for two main purposes: for their weaning process and to aid puppies in naturally learning basic bite inhibition skills.
As puppies grow, their sharp teeth start to irritate their mother while she nurses them. This natural process, therefore, results in the mother resenting nursing and starts avoiding it altogether.
Since these puppies are deprived from their seemingly endless supply of milk, the puppies start getting drawn to other sources of food, which jump starts their weaning process.
Similarly, a growing puppy’s teeth also start to irritate their littermates. You may remember hearing a unique squeal or watching one of them to withdraw from their playtime to teach the other how to bite without hurting the other.
Eventually, through trial and error, the puppy masters bite inhibition, which may be interpreted by your mutt as, “Whenever I bite hard, bad things happen.” This perception should be continued by new pup parents as well, because it limits playtime to minor scrapes instead of major wounds.
Fortunately, even though dog teeth are sharp, their jaws are quite weak. So don’t expect them to use too much ‘bite force’ anyway.
Puppy Tooth Care
At this point, it is important to mention that your pup’s teeth are quite different from those of an adult dog. No matter how much of a pet expert someone claims to be, they require very different levels of care and therefore, you shouldn’t give either one random types of toys, bones or treats.
Instead, we’d recommend looking for dog bones and treats that were specifically manufactured for puppies. Try looking for relevant instructions on their labels in order to determine the appropriate age for each product.
Diphyodont: This word is used to describe any animal with 2-successive rows of teeth. The first set is called the ‘deciduous’ set whereas the other is known as the ‘permanent set’.
Just like humans and most other mammals, dogs have deciduous teeth, which are commonly referred to as ‘milk teeth’. This set of teeth start falling off pretty soon and are replaced with permanent teeth, which stay all throughout their adult life. Of course, most puppies are born without teeth and you shouldn’t be surprised at how helpless they are.
Still, at this stage, puppies don’t really need their teeth for suckling milk from their mother, which brings us to the next stage.
What do puppy’s teeth look like when they are 2-3 weeks old? Well, the first milk teeth to appear are the incisors, which are simply the middle teeth that can be found on both jaws. Based on varying time frames, your puppy should have 6 incisors on top and 6 incisors at the bottom, bringing the grand total to 12.
After approximately 4-weeks, you will also notice 4 canine teeth, which are the long and sharp teeth that are beside their incisors – both on the top and bottom. When these canines start erupting, it marks the time when their mother starts getting uncomfortable while nursing them.
When their mother stops nursing them in a domestic environment, puppies can now be introduced to ‘mush’ or the sloppy mix that is popular amongst most breeders. Now, the weaning process will finally begin and the puppies will slowly transition into more solid foods.
After about 3-6 weeks, your puppy will also grow premolars, which are visible behind their canines and are the farthermost teeth from, let’s say, their nose.
What Do Puppy Teeth Look Like After 6-8 weeks?
During this age, your puppy will have most likely erupted a complete set of 28 pointy milk teeth. This includes:
The Puppy Teething Cycle: Summarized
- Born without teeth (some breeds tend to have a few noticeable teeth)
- After 2-3 weeks, they start growing their first set of incisors
- They have 12-incisors shortly after 2-3 weeks
- At about 4 weeks, 4 canines start to appear
- Anywhere between 3-6 weeks, their premolars start to appear
- Puppies only have molars when they are adults
- After about 6-8 weeks, puppies should have a set of 28 milk teeth
The Different Functions of Puppy Teeth
In a domestic environment, your puppy’s fangs may seem quite intimidating and very uncalled for, however, they have an entirely different purpose as compared to what you may be getting paranoid about:
- Incisors are used by puppies to rip and scrape meat off its bones. Of course, they also help bite-off debris or burrs on their fur.
- Canine teeth help puppies inflict wounds on their prey.
- Premolars help puppies rip tough meat away from its bones
Our Final Thoughts
As it turns out, horses and goats aren’t the only mammals whose age can be confirmed by stealing a quick peek into their mouths. Oftentimes, you might even catch your local vet estimate the age of a puppy by determining how far along they are in terms of eruption of baby teeth or permanent teeth.
Similarly, if you shift your question from ‘What do puppy teeth look like?”, to “Why do puppy teeth look like that?” you might be able to make better grooming decisions. For instance, you can wet wash a clean rag and place it in your freezer for a couple of minutes and offer it to your puppy to bring relief to painful teething gums.
Finally, you can also determine the age of your puppy by estimating the wear and tear around their incisors. Of course, a prerequisite to this superpower would be to have spent a lot of years with numerous puppies and dogs.