Do Dogs & Cats Have Deciduous Molars?

Only adult cats and dogs have molars.

Only adult cats and dogs have molars.

Very similarly to human babies and children, wee kittens and puppies also begin their lives with deciduous teeth, frequently known by the monikers of "baby teeth" or "milk teeth." The feline and canine teeth starter sets, however, don't come equipped with molars, unlike those of their tiny "people" counterparts.

No Deciduous Molars

Neither kittens nor puppies possess molars in their first sets of teeth. Kittens begin growing teeth when they're somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks of age, while puppies take slightly longer -- perhaps 3 to 4 weeks. Kittens and puppies, however, typically both have all of their baby teeth in by about 2 months. The teeth in both species consist of incisors, canines and molars.

Cat and Dog Deciduous Teeth Overview

Cats grow 26 deciduous teeth. The upper jaw has 14 teeth, while the lower has only 12. Dogs have a couple more deciduous teeth -- 28 in full. The upper and lower jaws have even distribution, as both feature 14 teeth. Before a cat or dog's adult permanant tooth begins to emerge, its deciduous predecessor usually has already fallen out.

Permanent Molar Growth

Although kittens and puppies indeed lack deciduous molars, they quickly grow permanent molars as they head out of the kitten stage and become young adults animals. The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association indicates that feline deciduous teeth usually begin falling out between 3 and 4 months old, similar to canines. When cats are 4 to 5 months in age, their adult molars will start growing in. In dogs, the molars usually emerge slightly later -- somewhere between 5 and 7 months, instead.

Cat and Dog Permanent Teeth Overview

Cats have 30 permanent teeth when they finish growing in around age 6 months. Dogs have a lot more adult teeth -- 42 exactly. Dogs usually have all of their adult teeth in by 7 months. Felines have 16 upper teeth and 14 lower teeth, while canines have 20 and the top and 22 below. Adult felines have 4 molar teeth in total, with a pair on the top and a pair below, each on opposing sides of the mouth. Adult canines, on the other hand, grow 10, with 4 on top and 6 below. In cats and dogs alike, the molar teeth serve one very useful purpose -- chopping and grinding up meat! The furry little cuties are serious carnivores, after all.

About the Author

Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

Photo Credits

  • Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images