How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have? Let’s Find Out Together!

By Michael Tarran

September 27, 2016

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Sometimes we get a good glimpse at our dog’s teeth, and it sure seems to be a lot of them. 

A common question that runs through most dog owners' heads at some point is: “How many teeth do dogs have?” or  “How many teeth does an adult dog have?”

Have you wondered the same?

It’s not a complicated question, but you’d be surprised at the answer!Last Updated:

October 19th 2020

So, How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

You may have never thought about it - but the number of teeth can signal the dog’s age.

Puppy’s Teeth

You may have never thought about it - but the number of teeth can signal the dog’s age.

Naturally, puppies are born without teeth, and first, they develop their deciduous teeth that go away at the mature stages of their life, just like kids!

Surprised?

There are 28 puppy teeth, and your little pal will usually have them erupted by three to five months of age. However, this can vary with breeds, so take the following table as the standard.

Small breeds may take longer than this.

Type of tooth

Upper

Lower

Week of eruption

Incisors

6

6

5-6

Canines

2

2

3-5

Premolars

6

6

5-6

Again, puppies can develop the same condition as kids can when their deciduous teeth do not fall out in time. This is referred to as retained teeth, and it can lead to abnormal positioning of adult dog’s teeth (the same as human’s).

If you notice that it is becoming an issue, take your puppy to the vet, and they will determine whether they need to remove puppy teeth surgically so that there is enough room for the adult teeth.

Adult Dog’s Teeth

As a general rule, an adult dog with healthy dentition will have forty-two adult or permanent teeth. It might seem like quite a few to us since a human with all of their teeth has thirty-two, but adult dog’s teeth reflect their diet.

Most dogs will have fewer teeth (just like we do, coming in at twenty-eight on average).

The upper jaw - maxilla, should have twenty teeth, whereas the lower jaw - mandible - has twenty-two teeth.

The breakdown looks something like this:

Type of tooth

Upper

Lower

Week of eruption

Canines

2

2

5-6

Incisors

6

6

3-5

Molars

4

6

5-7

Premolars

8

8

4-6

Types of Dog’s Teeth and Their Uses

types of dog teeth and their uses

One, two, three, four… Forty-two!

Why so many teeth?

Many of us make the assumption that dogs are carnivores, owing mainly to the fierce reputation of the wolf that is generally considered to be the “proto-dog” from which our canine companions have descended.

That’s incorrect. In reality, few animals are pure carnivores. The only mammal that is actually entirely carnivorous are felines, and our dogs are actually omnivores like we are.

Incisors

The most commonly seen teeth, the curved ones that we see when our dogs snarl, are called incisors

They’re used to grip prey, food, and their favorite toys, but also for chewing and grooming.

They are relatively small and have just one root.

Canines

The long ones in the front are, appropriately enough, called canines, and are mostly used for tearing things apart after getting the grip, unlike the others that are mostly used to maintain that grip before the tearing.

They are what one thinks when they say “fangs”. Like incisors, they have one root.

Premolars

Just behind these will be sixteen short, sharp premolars - 8 on the upper jaw and 9 on the lower - which are used for ripping and tearing tough materials, like meat and your favorite pair of sandals. 

When engaging in carnivorous behavior, these teeth do most of the work. They function as a saw and allow the animal to rip off smaller chunks of meat from larger pieces.

Unlike previous types, these have 1 to 2 roots.

Molars

And, way in the back, your dog will have ten molars (4 on the upper, and 6 on the bottom jaw), which are used for grinding non-meat foods, like plants and kibble. 

They can also be used for some of the most serious damage around your home if you don’t keep your dog trained properly.

These are the most complex dog teeth, as they can have even three roots per tooth.

There’s a lot more to a dog’s dentition than what meets the eye - how many of us were even aware our dog had molars?

The Importance of Adult Dog’s Teeth

Some of us have a tendency to overlook the importance of our pet’s teeth, but it’s not something you want to do.

It’s very important to make sure that you take proper care of your dog’s teeth and dental health, and it’ll help to avoid problems later in life.

What Are Some Dental Issues With Dogs?

Toothache

Just like in humans, a toothache for a dog can be quite debilitating, and the root of the problem can almost always be traced back to improper hygiene. 

It’s pretty rare that a healthy tooth gets cracked or chipped from outside trauma, especially since most of our dogs aren’t exactly exposed to the kind of thing that would cause it in the wild.

Cavities, on the other hand, can rot a tooth from the inside out and prevention is definitely something that needs to be practiced. Fortunately, it’s a quite simple process.

Plaque

Again, the same condition that can happen to humans occurs with dogs - plaque can accumulate on the surface of the tooth.

It can damage the enamel of your dog’s tooth, and cause some further consequences, such as gingivitis or gum disease.

Gingivitis

This condition is actually very common and easily treatable. In its essence, it is the inflammation of your pet’s gums.

However, real problems can occur if it is left untreated. It can lead to advanced periodontal disease (otherwise known as gum disease), accompanied by chronic pain and teeth loss.

Taking Care Of Your Dog’s Teeth

caring for your dog's teeth

Your first line of defense should be the most obvious one: regularly brushing your dog’s teeth.

You wouldn’t let your own teeth get to such a bad point, so why let your pet’s?

The process itself is quite simple, although it might take some time, and if you begin the process with a dog that’s already an adult, you might be in for a difficult time for a little while. 

Set aside a chunk of time to get it done once every few days or even daily, eventually.

The important thing is to get into a routine with your dog!

As long as you approach things in a gentle manner, you’ll find it soon makes a good bonding experience and isn’t traumatic for your animal. Just be sure to keep things regular.

Here’s a little tutorial:

There are also toys and treats which can help to prevent tartar build-up. 

Unlike supposedly teeth-cleaning gum for humans, a lot of these actually have some studies behind them which show they work. 

Dentastix also comes highly recommended, both by vets and the anecdotal experience of pet owners.

Conclusion

If you’ve been asking yourself “How many teeth do dogs have?” I’ve given my best to answer the question for you. Hope that you liked my information on different kinds of dogs’ teeth and their uses. 

Your adult dog’s teeth are super important; they’re the best connection to the world around them that dogs have, so appropriate care should be taken.

Be mindful and take your dog to the vet regularly for a check-up of their teeth and gums. Improving your dog’s oral health is a big step to their long and happy life!

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Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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