Dogs and the Tooth Fairy

Do dogs have a tooth fairy? Well, no they don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep their pearlies white and clean, and well looked after. The yellow teeth you see on dogs are usually older dogs, or dogs that don’t chew enough to keep their teeth white.

Dogs do not have teeth when they are born, and won’t have until about 2 to 3 weeks. When they are about 8 weeks old, they should have a full set of 28 teeth (yes, there is some variation amongst breeds). Those would be the pre-molars, incisors and canines. Then at the age of 3 months old, they start to lose their teeth. (Ok, now you can bring in the Tooth Fairy).

Adult teeth actually start to appear within two to three days after the baby teeth fall out, and then, lucky you, comes several hairy weeks of your dog chewing everything that isn’t nailed down (and some things that ARE nailed down). And EVERYTHING is the operative word. They will chew, maul, mouth and chomp anything, and that includes: rubber boots, your shoes, underwear, the carpet, the wall paper, cat food, the cat, other dogs legs and ears, the furniture and – the list is endless. This is likely to be the most favorite part of your experience with your pup – yeah right!

When the adult set of teeth is finally grown in, your pup will have 42 teeth – 22 on the lower jaw and 20 on the upper, 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 pre-molars and 4 molars on the upper jaw and 6 on the lower. Kind of reminds you of a kitchen garbuerator doesn’t it, with all those teeth?

Great, they now have a full set of teeth on deck, and you want to keep them clean. Here are three methods:

Method One: the rubber hood finger brush works great and is easy to use. Use ONLY toothpaste formulated for dogs. Open mouth, insert finger (brush) and gently scrub. If you start them young enough, they will get used to it.

Method Two: The RAW knucklebone or marrowbone. Do NOT cook bones as they get soft and can splinter. If the splinters go somewhere they are not supposed to, you could wind up with a choking dog or one with a perforated bowel. Raw works well, as the gnawing motion scrapes the gunk off their teeth. When the bone gets smaller, toss it out to prevent them from swallowing the whole thing. Don’t think they would do that? It has actually happened.

Method Three: Have the Vet scale the teeth. This is pricey, but if necessary, have it done then follow up with at home care.

A word about bones! Yes you are right, there are a lot of people who will not let their dog have bones. That is why the recommendation is use RAW. They are soft, do not splinter and are a primo source of calcium – not to mention entertainment. They’re messy as heck, so use only under supervision and only in a place that’s easy to clean – like the kitchen.