As puppies grow up, they lose their baby teeth. If you’re here then you’re probably wondering what many puppy owners ask themselves at some stage – do puppies really swallow their baby teeth? It turns out that…
Puppies usually swallow about 14 of their 28 baby teeth. Loose baby teeth are often swallowed if they fall out while puppy is eating or drinking. If puppy is chewing on something, loose baby teeth may just get stuck in the chew toy or be spat out.
In this article, I’ll discuss what to expect when it comes to your puppy’s teething schedule. We’ll look at what happens to a puppy’s baby teeth when it loses them and how to know if your puppy is losing teeth. We’ll also go a little more in-depth into whether or not swallowing baby teeth is dangerous for your pup.
When do puppies start losing their baby teeth?
Puppies start growing their baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth or milk teeth, when they’re about three weeks old. By the time they reach six weeks of age, puppies usually have a complete set of 28 baby teeth.
When puppies are about three months old, their baby teeth start to loosen and fall out as part of the normal teething process, which usually ends when puppies reach six to seven months. By that time, they should have a complete set of 42 permanent adult teeth.
While teething, a puppy’s gums are achy and uncomfortable just like a human baby’s, so the puppy tries to soothe this pain and help the new teeth break through the gums by chewing on things.
What happens to a puppy’s baby teeth?
When puppies lose a baby tooth, one of three things usually happens:
- The tooth gets stuck in whatever the puppy is chewing
- Puppy feels the tooth in its mouth and spits it out
- Puppy swallows the tooth
Of the 28 baby teeth that puppies have, about half of them or more end up being swallowed when they come loose from the gums. These teeth often fall out when a puppy is eating dry food, and your puppy might not even notice that a tooth is mixed in with the kibble being swallowed.
Is it dangerous if a puppy swallows baby teeth?
It’s not dangerous if a puppy swallows its baby teeth. Many puppies swallow their own teeth by accident, making it quite a common and normal thing for puppies to do. A puppy’s baby teeth are very small, and, most of the time, the puppy won’t even realize it has swallowed a tooth.
Baby teeth pass through a puppy’s digestive system harmlessly and are excreted when the pup goes to poop several hours later.
Signs your puppy is teething
There will be times when your puppy loses teeth that you don’t know about because your pup can’t tell you what’s going on. But if you do want to know when your puppy starts teething, there are some things you can watch out for such as:
Your puppy’s age
Keeping track of your puppy’s age will give you a good idea of when your pup will start and stop teething.
Puppies lose their baby teeth between three and seven months of age. During this time, a puppy’s baby teeth will become loose and fall out, to be replaced by adult teeth.
Finding blood on chew toys
When a puppy loses a tooth, its mouth bleeds a little until the blood clots. If you notice some blood on your puppy’s favorite toys or anything your pup likes to chew on, this could be a sign that your puppy has loose or is missing teeth.
Finding teeth or seeing teeth missing
Sometimes puppies don’t swallow their teeth – they might spit the teeth out or leave them stuck in something they’ve been chewing on. If you start seeing sharp, tiny teeth lying around your house, your pup is definitely losing its teeth.
Even if you don’t find teeth lying around but you see a gap in your pup’s gums where a tooth used to be, it’s because your dog has lost a tooth and the adult replacement hasn’t grown out yet.
Despite what the cartoons and family comedies would have us believe, puppies aren’t naturally excessive droolers. If you notice your puppy drooling a lot more than usual, this is usually a sign your pup may have loose teeth.
Your puppy is drooling because its adult teeth are busy pushing out the baby teeth. This makes the gums and mouth sore to keep closed, so your pup keeps its mouth open and drool has a chance to come out.
Whining and pawing at the face
While your puppy can’t talk and tell you about the pain, it has other ways of showing you that it’s hurting.
Two of the most common of these is to whine a lot and paw at the face. Both of these are signs that something is hurting your puppy, and if your pup is between six weeks and six months old, that ‘something’ could very likely be related to teething.
Click here to read all the other ways dogs ask us humans for help.
A decreased appetite
If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know how bad it feels to eat when each bite causes you pain. Chances are you avoided eating anything other than soft foods until you felt better.
Puppies sometimes avoid eating when they’re losing teeth because eating hurts them, especially if all they get is dry food. If you notice a marked change in your puppy’s appetite that doesn’t seem to stem from digestive issues, check your puppy’s teeth and consider soaking your pup’s kibble or feeding wet food for a while.
How to help puppies through teething
Teething is a natural, healthy part of a puppy’s development, but there are things you can do to help a pup feel better while it’s going through this challenging time.
Never pull loose teeth
Many pet owners think they can help their puppies by pulling out obviously loose teeth, but this is never a good idea. It can be painful and traumatic for your puppy, and it can also increase the dog’s risk of infection.
It’s also risky for you: Your puppy won’t understand that you’re trying to help. It will only know that whatever you’re doing inside its mouth is causing pain. You’re putting yourself at risk of being bitten, and your dog will probably never let you near its mouth again.
Buy the right toys
Teething puppies need to sink their sore teeth into something. Giving your pup chew toys to chew on helps both of you.
It’s good for you because it helps keep your dog interested in chewing something other than your furniture, clothes, shoes, and other items around your home. If a puppy’s going to chew it’s good to give your puppy something to chew.
It’s good for the pup because chewing eases the pressure on its gums and makes its mouth hurt less. Chewing on the right kind of toys instead of whatever’s lying around is also safer and less likely to cause digestive issues or other health problems, such as pica.
I’m a huge fan of Kong products, and, luckily, Kong has a teething rubber chew toy available on Amazon. This is a great product because it’s durable, and will keep your pup busy and mentally stimulated when you put treats inside it.
Feed ice cubes
Ice numbs the skin. Giving your pup ice cubes to eat can help your dog with teething pain, and the hard texture of the ice can help loose teeth fall out.
If your puppy doesn’t want to eat ice made with plain water, add a little dog-friendly broth or the water after boiling chicken to the ice cube tray. My dogs can’t get enough of these tasty cubes and they are a regular treat on hot summer days.
Every puppy goes through the teething stage, and every puppy ends up swallowing a few teeth when baby teeth fall out.
Don’t worry, this is perfectly safe. If you notice a few new holes in your puppy’s mouth but don’t see any teeth lying around, they might turn up when your pup goes out for a bathroom break.