After about one month a puppy’s teeth begin to appear, this is also the time when a young dog begins to eat solid food. Dogs are similar to humans in that they also have milk teeth that are replaced by a permanent set at the age of four to six months old. This is also the time when puppies can be the most destructive around the house and providing plenty of toys to distract them during this teething period will prevent them from causing too much damage.
Puppies have 28 milk teeth and adult dogs have 42 teeth, including the most prominent four canines in the front. Once your dog has his permanent teeth, there will be no further replacements and you will need to look after his teeth to prevent damage or disease.
Good dental care is important and there are several things you can do to help look after your dog’s teeth. Similar to people, bacteria combines with saliva and food particles to form plaque to accumulate in the spaces between the teeth and gums and once this plaque combine with calcium salts it forms tartar. The bacteria, plaque and tartar irritate and inflame gums and can even cause gingivitis.
Brush your dog’s teeth regularly, beginning at an early age. Brush the outer surface for 30 seconds with dog toothpaste. If your dog is fussy you can try beef broth or chicken soup on the brush.
Commercial dog foods help to prevent bad breath and inflammation of the gums, alternatively you can feed your dog a homemade diet of 20% meat and eggs, 60% fresh cooked vegetables and 20% chopped greens.
Take extra care with small breeds as they often have more dental problems than larger breeds, due to the fact that their teeth are often too large for the size of their mouth.