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How many teeth do dogs have?

Monitoring your dog's oral health is an important aspect of being a pet parent. Here, our Turlock vets share some facts about the number of teeth your dog should have and why they might lose teeth.

Your Dog's Teeth

The precise number of teeth that your dog has will differ as they mature from a puppy into an adult dog.

Puppy Teeth

Puppies are born without any teeth, and their first teeth won't begin to erupt until they are about three or four weeks old. By the time they reach between three and five months of age, they should have all of their 28 puppy teeth, including incisors, canines, and premolars.

Adult Teeth

Your dog will likely be between three and seven months old before their adult teeth erupt. Adult dogs should have 42 permanent teeth, compared to humans, who typically have 32 teeth.

A dog's upper jaw as 20 teeth, while their lower jaw has 22 teeth.

Types of Teeth That Dogs Have

Incisors, canines, premolars, and molars each serve their own purpose. Here are more detailed explanations of what each type of tooth does and where these teeth are located in your dog's mouth:


Incisor teeth are the most visible part of your dog's smile. These small teeth sit directly in front of the upper and lower jaws. Your dog uses them to scrape at meat and groom their coat.


Sometimes called "fangs", the canines are a pair of long, pointed, and extremely sharp teeth located just behind your dog's incisors. Canine teeth tear into meat and clamp down on objects. Dogs may also bare these teeth if they feel threatened or that they must defend you or themselves, which it's critical to understand your dog's body language.


Wide pre-molars, or carnassials, sit on either side of your dog's jaw on both the top and bottom. These teeth do a lot of shredding and chewing, which is why they're relatively sharp.


Flat molars are the teeth at the very back of your dog's mouth, on the top and bottom. Your dog uses these teeth to crunch through hard food such as treats or kibble.

Why Dogs Lose Teeth

It is not normal for a dog to lose teeth other than when they are transitioning from puppy to adult teeth. If you notice that your dog is losing their adult teeth, you should contact your primary vet and schedule a dental appointment.

Here are the most common reasons for a dog to lose their adult teeth.

  • Periodontal Disease - The most commonly diagnosed reason for tooth loss in dogs is advanced-stage periodontal disease. Without adequate dental care both at home and from the vet, your dog can develop dental disease and tooth decay.
  • Trauma - Your dog’s teeth can be lost through the process of trauma – whether it’s caused by chewing something or they sustain another injury to their mouth. Some of the most common items that can cause fractures or loss of teeth are made from dense mineral or bone material. To protect your dog’s teeth and avoid dental emergencies, it is best to avoid giving your dog things such as beef bones or pork bones. These materials can be too hard and chewing them often results in fractures and tooth damage.
  • Tooth Decay - Dogs' teeth decay at a much faster rate than human teeth. They use their teeth to pick up, carry, and chew objects. Furthermore, slobbery toys, hair, dirt, feces, and food all pass through a dog's mouth. All of this can have an impact on their dental health. Some dogs (particularly small breed dogs and greyhounds) develop tooth decay at an alarming rate, necessitating the extraction of numerous teeth by a veterinarian over the course of their lives.

How To Prevent Dogs From Losing Their Teeth

The sad reality is that over 80 percent of dogs over the age of three will develop some level of dental disease, including gingivitis. For this reason, dogs need to have their teeth brushed as often as possible to prevent the development of disease. Dental chews can also be helpful, especially for dogs who struggle with the toothbrush. Your dog also needs to go to the vet regularly for thorough cleanings.

If you notice that your pooch seems to have trouble chewing or you have other concerns about their teeth or mouth (including bad breath!), talk to your vet to find the right course of action to keep those chompers healthy.

If you've noticed loose teeth in your dog's mouth, or if they have bad breath that continues to get worse, make sure that you schedule an appointment with a vet as soon as possible. Even if your dog has only lost one of their teeth, it is likely that they have more teeth that could benefit from removal to alleviate your dog's pain. Don't put off seeing your veterinarian until your pet isn't eating. Use your pet's annual exam to discuss your dog's teeth and overall dental health before there is a problem.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog is suffering from extreme pain due to dental trauma? Contact our vets in Turlock right away. 

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Taylor Veterinary Emergency is accepting new patients! Our experienced Turlock vets are passionate about the health of cats and dogs. Get in touch today to book your first appointment.

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