How many teeth will your dog have?

Dogs are carnivorous, and their teeth show it. Regardless of whether a dog is domesticated or wild, all dogs have incisors, fangs (or canines), premolars, and molars.

How many teeth do dogs have?

Dogs are born without teeth, just like humans.

They then grow a set of baby teeth, and later on, permanent adult teeth.

Photo Credits

The total number of teeth may be different depending on the breed.

Generally, dogs have 28 baby teeth and 42 adult teeth.

Baby teeth

Dogs, like humans, are born without teeth.

When the puppy is three weeks old, baby teeth begin to grow out.

Photo Credits

By six weeks old, a puppy will have its full set of baby teeth (incisors, canines, and premolars).

A little later, when it reaches four months old, the puppy will begin to lose its baby teeth and grow its permanent set of adult teeth.

Adult teeth

If you have a puppy of around four months old, you need to know that it is going to lose its baby teeth and grow out its set of adult teeth.

In short, your puppy will just bite on anything and chew on everything.

It is not just a growing phase like some people may think, but the process of growing out of its teeth is making the puppies frustrated and anxious.

Imagine a human baby going through teething pains; it is similar, but possibly worse. Your puppy may suddenly be easily irritated, drool a lot, and lose its appetite.

At this stage, make sure you keep all your valuables out of their reach, especially footwear, and/or dog-proof your furniture to keep them from being chewed out.

They love you a lot, but they will not be able to control their behavior at this stage.

You must help them the best you can.

The adult teeth grow in the same order as shedding the baby teeth, from the front of the jaw to the back. The molars are the last to appear, usually when the dog is about seven months old. The molars may also cause the most discomfort. Be understanding if your dog gets irritated during that stage. Again, like humans, dogs only grow one set of adult teeth, and it is your job, human, to help your dog keep its teeth healthy to last its entire life.


A dog typically has six incisors on both upper and lower jaws (12 incisors in all).

Dogs use their incisors to nibble on their food as well as, believe it or not, groom itself.

Grooming is not just for looking good, but allows dogs to socialize and bond with other dogs.

Photo Credits

They also establish their positions in the pack through grooming.

If you own more than one dog, you will see that there will usually be one dog grooming the other more often than the other way round.

The dog which is being groomed more often is usually the dominant alpha.

You can learn a lot about your dog just from observing it!


Canines are also called fangs.

They are prominent in savage beasts in movies, from werewolves to wild predators and even vampires!

That said, all dogs, even the smallest meekest ones, will bare their fangs often.

It is just one of the traits passed down from the old days and does not necessarily mean your dog is wild.

A dog will have four canines and use them to grab hold of something and cut if necessary. Canines form a defense mechanism of a dog.


Next to the canines are premolars. Dogs have a total of 16 premolars, eight on the upper jaw, and eight on the lower.

That may look like a lot, but premolars help the dog cut and tear off chunks of meat during feeding.

These days, dogs no longer need to hunt like their predecessors, but they will still enjoy chewing on chew bones and chewable dog toys.

This is not just for fun, but helps the dog to keep up with their biting and tearing habits.

It’s also a good idea to give your dog chunks of meat on bones once in a while to help them maintain a healthy set of premolars.


Behind the premolars, right on the ends of the jaws are the molars.

Dogs have 10 molars in total. The molars crush and grind food for the dogs to swallow.

Your dog may not need to crush large bones for food any more compared to their ancestors, but it will be happy to use its molars to break the dog biscuits and treats that you give it.

Canine Tooth problems

Like humans, your dog needs proper care and maintenance for its teeth.

You will need to check its teeth regularly and help it exercise its jaws by giving it treats and chew toys.

Good habits like brushing the teeth every day helps a lot in keeping its set of teeth clean and healthy.

If dental hygiene is neglected, your dog will develop problems like tooth decay.

You will also need to pay extra attention to its teeth during the teething period as the baby teeth may not be fully-shed, but remain in the gums.

When the adult teeth grow over the roots of the baby teeth, your dog is going to have problems with teeth and jaw alignments.

This is known as malocclusion.

It is treatable with a visit to the vet, but if you leave it alone, the problem will grow worse. Your dog could suffer from an overbite or even lose its appetite since it would not be able to eat normally.

Dog bites

A dog’s bite refers to how its teeth line up when the jaw is closed, or simply put, whether the upper teeth touch the lower teeth when your dog closes its mouth.

Photo Credits

A normal alignment is also known as a level or normal bite. Sometimes, the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth, making the jaw look like a pair of scissors.

Doggie Tooth decay

It is easy to avoid tooth decay if your dog has proper dental care and a balanced diet.

Tooth decay begins when food gets stuck between the teeth, or in the gum pockets. Sounds familiar?

It is the exact same thing that happens to us humans too. While there is no need to floss your dog’s teeth (I would very much like to see anyone attempting that!), you can help a lot just by limiting the amount of soft foods in your dog’s diet and help brush its teeth every day.

Brushing also removes the buildup of tartar. You may need to take your dog to the vet if its breath smells particularly foul, as it may be a sign of the beginnings of a problem.

How to brush your dog’s teeth at home

You may be tempted to use children’s toothpastes for your dog, but do everyone a favor; don’t.

Human toothpaste contains fluoride, which might kill your dog!

I’m serious! Baking soda and salt, which help humans get their teeth extra clean, are also a no-go for dogs.

It’s best to buy toothpaste specially formulated for dogs.

Have fun trying out different flavors of toothpastes for your dog; I’ve heard raving reviews about classic flavors like chicken and peanut butter.

Not only does the taste help your dog stay calm during brushing, but it will also help get them into the habit of brushing their teeth daily!

If it’s your first time brushing your dog’s teeth, you’ll need three things: a soft-bristled toothbrush for dogs, a special toothpaste for dogs, and a ton of patience.

First, allow your dog to lick a little toothpaste so it can get to know the flavor (yum!)

Then, lift your dog’s lips gently and start brushing softly using a circular motion.

I cannot emphasize enough the word “gently”, you do not want to traumatize your dog!

Take your time and observe your dog to make sure it’s calm (and maybe take some breaths to calm yourself down too) and brush from the front to the back of the jaws.

Make sure you reach the back molars, as that is where most food particles settle.

Keep the first few brushing sessions short, and remember to praise your dog and be patient!

Photo Credits

Just keep this in mind: new habits do not form overnight.

There is no “best” time to brush your dog’s teeth, but I will recommend doing it after it’s finished some form of physical work like a walk, play, or run.

After working up a sweat, your dog should be more calm and relaxed to stay still while you brush its teeth.

The Final Word on Canine Teeth

Your dog, just like you, has only one set of adult teeth.

It is up to you to make sure it has a healthy diet and regular dental habits to make sure its teeth last its entire lifetime.

Leave a Comment