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How many sets of teeth do adult dogs have?

As a pet parent, it is important to keep an eye on your dog's teeth because oral health issues are fairly common in dogs over the age of three. Our Tucson vets are here to give you the inside scoop about the number of teeth your dog should have and why they might be losing teeth.

How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

The number of teeth in a dog’s mouth will change as they grow from puppies into adult dogs.

Puppy Teeth

Puppies do not have teeth when they are born. Their puppy teeth start to show up when they are around 3 to 4 weeks old. By 3-5 months old, puppies should have a full set of 28 teeth, which includes incisors, canines, and premolars.

Adult Teeth

The age of eruption of adult teeth in dogs is between 3-7 months of age. Adult dogs should have 42 permanent teeth, as compared to humans who have 32 teeth. 

Their upper jaw has 20 teeth, while their lower jaw has 22 teeth. 

Types of Dog Teeth

Each type of tooth a dog has—incisor, canine, premolar, and molar—serves its own purpose. Here is what each type of tooth does and where these teeth are located in your dog's mouth:


Which part of your dog's smile stands out the most? The incisors of the teeth! These small teeth are located right at the front of the upper and lower jaws. They scrape at meat and groom their coats using them.


The canines, also known as "fangs," are a pair of teeth located behind the incisors. They are long, pointed, and extremely sharp. Canines teeth are designed to effortlessly tear into meat and firmly grip objects. Understanding dog body language is crucial because it helps us recognize when dogs feel threatened or defensive, as they may show their teeth in such situations.


On either side of a dog's jaw on both the top and bottom are wide pre-molars, or carnassials. A lot of shredding and chewing is done with these teeth, which is why they're relatively sharp. 


At the very back of a dog's mouth, above and below, are flat molars. He uses these to crunch on hard things, such as treats or kibble.

Why Dogs Lose Teeth

Aside from the transition from puppy teeth to adult teeth, it is not normal for a dog to lose teeth. If you notice that your dog is losing their adult teeth, you should contact your vet and schedule a dental appointment.

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

  • Periodontal Disease - The most common reason for a dog to lose teeth is because of advanced dental disease in its mouth. Without proper dental care—like brushing and veterinary dental cleanings—periodontal disease can lead to diseased gums and decaying teeth.
  • 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, it is best to avoid giving your dog things such as beef bones or pork bones, as these materials can be too hard and commonly results in fractures and tooth damage.
  • Tooth Decay - Dog teeth decay and wear and tear 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

Most dogs will develop some type of periodontal condition, including gingivitis, by the time they're 3 years old. Regularly brushing your dog's teeth is necessary to prevent dental disease. It's a good idea to give your pup dental chews, and taking him to the vet for a thorough cleaning every so often is necessary.

If you observe any difficulties in your dog's chewing or have any concerns regarding their teeth or mouth (including unpleasant breath!), it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian. They will guide you on the appropriate steps to maintain your dog's dental health.

If you observe any signs such as your dog losing teeth, having loose or wiggly teeth, or experiencing progressively worsening breath, it is crucial to promptly schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Your pet may have more diseased teeth in their mouth causing discomfort, even if it seems like they've only lost one tooth. Removing these teeth would be beneficial for their well-being. Make sure to see your veterinarian promptly if your pet stops eating. Take advantage of your pet's annual exam to address your dog's teeth and overall dental health proactively, preventing any potential issues.

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.

If you are concerned about your dog's dental health, contact our Tucson vets to book an examination for your canine companion.

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