Because puppies are so busy growing at superhuman rates during their first year, we tend to miss a few of their milestones. After all, aging seven years to our one means that all the developmental hurdles are usually crossed within the first nine months. Some of the milestones are quite obvious and difficult to miss. Sexual maturity, the loss of the sweet fuzzy puppy fuzz that is replaced with the dog hair that will clog up your vacuum for the rest of his life, and that beautiful day when he figures out once and for all exactly where the potty for puppies is makes a dog’s human proud and gives us the sense that our time and energy is being well spent. We can see these milestones as a reflection of our loving care. Not all milestones are quite so obvious, such as when do puppies lose their baby teeth?
Those little razor sharp baby teeth, while can help Fido look as cute as a button with his gaping grinning “cheese,” cut deeply into human flesh when accidental nips happen. God forbid you end up the receiving end of an intentional bite, it feels like those little razors are slicing through vital arteries, even if it is just a finger. Most humans are grateful when those tiny little dagger blades are finally replaced with their grown up version. Since the dog is the only member of the family lacking his own personal tooth fairy, humans often don’t recognize when this wonderful change over is occurring. Occasionally you might find one of the little lost pins with your bare foot on the way to the shower, which really doesn’t feel much better than that nip he gave you when you were playing ball with him.
It seems as though nature has given dogs a certain protection against the general discomfort of losing baby teeth. While most of the time, losing human baby teeth doesn’t actually hurt, it does cause a child to become careful in the way that they chew or the choices they make when deciding what to eat. Dogs do not have a choice and most owners are clueless to their puppy’s tooth issues. Thus, since dogs can not opt for the softer, more manageable apple sauce over their hard and crunchy dog food, nature has spared them any type of noticeable discomfort. At least, that’s what we as their humans believe.
It is rare to find a puppy’s baby tooth lounging about on the floor. It is more likely that what few baby teeth will be discovered will be seen clinging to a chew toy, stuck in the toy where the pressure had pushed it in but left there without the mouth it knew before. Most of the time, humans don’t find any baby teeth at all, as it is the nature of dogs to swallow it whole when it finally falls out. The first time a human is likely to notice this change in their puppy is when their front teeth are separated by a gaping hole in their mouth as though they were socked right in the kisser.
Puppies begin to lose their baby teeth at 4 months of age
Since puppies are so slick about dropping their teeth and growing in their more ferocious permanent fangs, it is hard to really be sure when do puppies lose their baby teeth. The average is about 4 month of age, that sweet and terrible age when puppies begin acting like petulant adolescents with all the knowledge in the world living with the world’s stupidest humans. The basic range, however depending on the dog’s size and breed, runs between 3 and 6 months of age, with a few stubborn breeds holding onto those baby teeth into the seventh and eighth months.
Once upon a time, right around the dawning of life on earth, mammals were only born with a single set of teeth. As teeth began to break, wear down, or were lost in fights or other stunts of survival, a new tooth grew in to replace the old tooth. Somewhere around 250 million years ago, mammals developed a two teeth system that has served puppies and humans alike. The sharper baby teeth make up for a lack of jaw strength while the stronger permanent teeth allow for better positioning and greater durability. Not a bad system really, until you or your dog starts wearing out or losing those adult teeth to decay.
Of course, oral hygiene for dogs has finally been recognized as one of those higher quality of life issues. A dog should have an annual cleaning (sometimes more frequently if the needs arise) and have oral care as part of their routine vet visits. Sometimes, a tooth can rot out in just a few months, leaving your dog with what appears to be finicky eating habits and undisclosed pain. Dogs can not go to their humans with a headache caused by their teeth nor can they discuss a sharp burning sensation that blinds them behind the eye every time they try to crunch down on something. They can not explain how much more they would appreciate that little chewy thing you gave them if it didn’t feel like they were chewing on glass with every bite.
So, when do puppies lose their baby teeth? Besides the obvious answer; when their permanent teeth are getting ready to pop up through the gums, it is basically safe to assume that a larger dog will start popping out his razor sharp canines right around three months while the smaller whippersnappers might hang on until the end of the sixth month. Of course, these are just guidelines and just like every other milestone, your puppy will achieve them as he is ready.