here is always so much to learn when you get a new puppy. Worming, vaccinations, flea control, toilet training and behaviour training. But one thing that we as vets often neglect to discuss is puppy teeth! This is probably because most of the time they just take care of themselves. Puppies need to learn to chew on things (the right things!!) from a young age as it helps to keep them to keep their teeth clean as they grown older.

Usually puppies will loose their ‘baby teeth’ or ‘deciduous teeth’ anywhere from four months to seven months of age and the permanent adult teeth erupt. There are fewer deciduous teeth than adult teeth as the mouth is too small to accommodate as many when they are just puppies.

Sometimes the process where the deciduous teeth will fall out and make space for the adult teeth fails. In this case the adult teeth, most commonly the canines, will grow in an abnormal position which is problematic. This incorrect position causes all the teeth to be squashed tightly together in the mouth forming a great environment for food to get stuck and cause dental decay and ultimately leading to severe dental disease. Also this abnormal position may cause malocclusion of the jaw.

If the adult tooth is erupting and the deciduous tooth is still in place and doesn’t appear to be coming out then extraction of the deciduous tooth is required. This is done by your veterinarian under general anaesthetic. It is important that the whole deciduous tooth including the root be removed as this will allow the adult tooth to move into the correct position allowing normal dental alignment.

“Puppies need to learn to chew on things – the right things – from a young age.”

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