Depending on your dog’s age, losing teeth can be perfectly normal. All puppies begin losing their baby teeth within the first few months. It’s a natural part of growing into an adult dog. But if your older dog’s teeth fall out, this can signal a health problem that needs investigation by a vet. Here’s why your dog might be losing their teeth and when you should seek help.
Do dog’s teeth fall out?
Just like humans, all puppies are born without teeth. But you may be wondering, do dogs have baby teeth? Well between three and six weeks of age, puppies start developing deciduous (baby) teeth. And it’s perfectly normal for puppies to lose all their baby teeth while their permanent teeth come in.
But if your dog is older and has all their permanent teeth, it’s not normal if they fall out randomly. This is a cause for concern and you should have your dog examined for any potential underlying problems.
When will my puppy lose his teeth?
So when do puppy teeth fall out? When baby teeth fall out often depends on the breed. In smaller breeds they tend to lose their teeth quicker because they mature faster than larger breeds. But as a rule of thumb, most puppies will start losing their teeth between 14-30 weeks of age.
Because these needle sharp-teeth are so tiny, you may not even notice they’re falling out. Many puppies swallow them while eating or they fall out while playing. Swallowing the teeth isn’t harmful to your puppy and a little bleeding isn’t anything to worry about.
Related blog: Your dog’s dental health
Why is my dog losing his teeth?
When an older dog loses teeth, it’s usually down to one of two reasons. They’ve either experienced trauma to the mouth or they’ve developed periodontal disease.
Sometimes when dogs chew on something too hard, like marrow bones or antlers, this can crack the tooth and cause them to fall out. A dog might also lose teeth by falling from a height or getting a knock to the mouth. If part of the damaged tooth stays in place, your dog will need veterinary attention to extract or repair the tooth with a root canal.
Unfortunately, periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs, with over 80% of dogs having early stages of gum disease by the age of three. The disease starts when food and bacteria build up along the gum line and turn into plaque and tartar. Over time this causes irritation and inflammation, and eventually affects the tooth’s entire support system deeper within the gums. When the teeth and tissue slowly deteriorate, this is when teeth start falling out.
Periodontal disease is irreversible and can lead to other complications and health problems if left untreated. Which is why it’s important to seek veterinary help as soon as you notice a problem. Here are the signs to watch out for:
- Bad breath
- Gum redness and inflammation
- Pawing at the mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Loose or missing teeth
- Loss of appetite
- Facial swelling
- Receding gums
Gum disease is a very uncomfortable and painful condition for any dog to live with. But there are ways you can prevent the plaque and tartar build up before gum disease takes hold. Daily brushing is the best prevention to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. While dental chews are a good addition to help slow down the rate of plaque and tartar buildup. This will go some way to helping you avoid any costly dental procedures and ensure Fido holds onto his pearly whites!
If periodontal disease has already kicked in, your vet can perform a dental scale and polish every couple of years to help prevent future tooth loss.