How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have? Complete Guide Dog Dental

Understanding the dental structure of dogs is integral to ensuring their overall health, hygiene and well-being.

Just like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth throughout their lives: the deciduous, or baby teeth, and the permanent teeth.

A dog with its mouth open, showing its teeth

Adult dogs have a variety of teeth types, each serving a specific purpose. These include the incisors, canines, premolars, and molars, arranged in both upper and lower jaws.

Regular dental care is crucial as it not only maintains the health and strength of these teeth but also contributes to a dog’s overall health.

Neglected dental hygiene can lead to a host of issues ranging from plaque buildup and gingivitis to more severe infections that can affect the heart, liver, and kidneys.

Key Takeaways

Basics of Canine Dental Anatomy

Deciduous and Permanent Teeth

By the time your dog reaches 6 to 7 months of age, they should have a complete set of 42 permanent teeth, which is indicated on any comprehensive canine dental chart.

Structure of Adult Dog Teeth

The structure of adult dog teeth is complex and specialized for various functions. Here is a breakdown of the teeth you’ll find in your dog’s mouth:

Each type of tooth plays an integral role in your dog’s ability to chew and digest their food properly.

Adult dogs have 20 teeth in their upper jaw and 22 in their lower jaw, comprising a total of 42 teeth that serve their carnivorous eating habits.

Puppy Teeth Development

A playful puppy with 28 baby teeth, including incisors, canines, and premolars, chewing on a chew toy or teething ring

The development of your puppy’s teeth is a critical aspect of their growth, which starts with deciduous (baby) teeth and progresses to a full set of adult teeth.

It is important for you to understand both the teething process and the transition stage during which puppies lose their baby teeth and gain their permanent ones.

Baby Teeth and Teething Process

Your puppy’s baby teeth, also known as milk teeth or primary teeth, will begin to erupt at about three to five weeks of age.

Typically, a puppy will have a full set of 28 baby teeth by the time they are six to eight weeks old.

The teething process can cause discomfort, and you might notice your puppy chewing more during this time.

During teething, it is not uncommon for puppies to experience sore gums, drooling, or mild irritability.

Transition to Adult Teeth

The transition from baby teeth to permanent adult teeth starts around four months of age.

You will observe that your puppy’s baby teeth begin to fall out to make way for their 42 adult teeth.

By the time they reach eight months, your puppy should have a full set of adult teeth, which includes additional molars that do not have baby precursors.

Monitoring your puppy’s dental development is essential as it can affect their eating habits and overall health.

If baby teeth do not fall out to make room for the permanent teeth, a condition known as retained baby teeth, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian.

Common Dental Issues in Dogs

A dog with visible dental issues, missing teeth, and inflamed gums

Dental health is a critical but often overlooked component of your dog’s overall well-being.

Issues such as periodontal disease, tartar buildup, and gingivitis can lead to more severe conditions, including tooth loss and difficulty eating.

Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis and Tartar Buildup

Signs of Dental Diseases

Dental Health and Overall Well-being

A happy dog with 42 teeth, a shiny coat, and a wagging tail

A dog’s mouth is more than just a place for eating; it’s a tool for exploration, communication, and play.

Neglecting dental care can lead to periodontal disease, which may increase the risk of heart and kidney issues. Therefore, maintaining clean teeth and healthy gums is vital to their longevity and quality of life.

Your dog’s canine teeth play a significant role in their oral health. These pointed teeth help your dog tear food apart, and if damaged or diseased, can affect their ability to eat properly.

Regular oral hygiene, including brushing and veterinary cleanings, can help prevent problems with canine teeth and other dental issues.

To support your dog’s dental health, consider the following:

Make sure to address dental concerns promptly with your veterinarian.

Dental Hygiene Practices

A dog with 42 teeth sits on a table while a person brushes its teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste

Maintaining optimal dental hygiene is crucial to your dog’s overall health.

Daily Brushing and Toothpaste

Dental Chews and Chew Toys

Professional Dental Cleanings

Choosing the Right Dental Products

A dog with its mouth open, showing its teeth. Various dental products scattered around, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental chews

It is important to select items that have been recognized for their safety and effectiveness.

Toothbrushes and Toothpaste for Dogs

Toothbrushes: Selecting the right toothbrush for your dog involves finding one that is the appropriate size and has soft bristles.

Options vary from traditional toothbrushes designed for dogs to finger brushes that can provide better control.

Toothpaste: Canine toothpaste is formulated to be safe for dogs, and it’s essential because human toothpaste can be toxic to your pet.

Look for enzymatic toothpaste that works to reduce plaque and freshen breath.

Veterinary Oral Health Council Recommendations

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) provides a list of dental products for dogs that meet preset standards of plaque and tartar control.

Seek products with the VOHC seal to ensure you are using items that have been tested and proven to benefit your dog’s dental health.

Using the right brushing tools and VOHC-approved dental solutions will significantly contribute to your dog’s overall oral care regimen.

Diet and Nutrition for Dental Health

A dog with 42 teeth eating a balanced diet of kibble and dental chews, with a water bowl nearby

A balanced diet is essential for maintaining your dog’s dental health.

The types of food your dog consumes can affect their oral hygiene. This can impact factors such as plaque build-up and bad breath.

Ingredients Matter: You should look for diets rich in fibers and low in sugars. High sugar content can contribute to decay, while fibers can stimulate saliva production and help clean the teeth.

Remember that while diet affects dental health, it should complement regular tooth brushing tailored to your dog’s needs. Remember to consult with a veterinarian to create a diet plan that best suits your dog’s dental and overall health.


The health of your dog’s teeth and gums is a critical component of their overall well-being.

Embracing daily brushing routines, utilizing appropriate dental hygiene products, and scheduling regular veterinary check-ups are key steps in preserving your dog’s oral health.

Additionally, incorporating the right diet and nutrition plays a significant role in supporting dental hygiene.

By prioritizing dental care, you not only prevent dental diseases but also contribute to the overall longevity and happiness of your canine companion.