That adorable little pup has cut his teeth on your shoes, designer bag and other things you left lying around. When will it stop? Relax, the puppy teething stage eventually ends. If you own a large dog, be glad: The process is faster than with smaller dogs.
Your little nipper's first teeth, commonly known as milk teeth or baby teeth, don't come in until he's nearly ready for weaning. The veterinary term for these is deciduous teeth, as they eventually fall out. Depending on the breed, these first 28 teeth begin coming in between the age of 6 and 8 weeks. His little mouth will hurt as the teeth come in, so he'll start chewing to relieve the pain. Give him plenty of suitable chew toys to ease him through this process.
These first 28 puppy teeth eventually fall out as the permanent teeth come in. The first baby teeth to fall out are the incisors, typically at the age of 3 months. The incisors number six on the lower jaw and six on the upper jaw.
When he's about 4 months old, the baby canines, or fangs, fall out and the permanent ones emerge. His molars, located behind the canines, also come out. At this stage, he should visit the vet for regular puppy shots. The vet will examine his mouth for any retained baby teeth. If a baby tooth didn't fall out, it'll be next to the permanent tooth that erupted to replace it.
By the time he's reached 6 months, you should see all of your dog's permanent molars. The vet should check his mouth for any dental misalignment. If his mouth is quite out of whack, veterinary dentistry may be recommended to correct the bite. If not done, your dog could suffer pain while eating. Veterinary dentistry can correct a puppy's mouth before permanent damage occurs.
By the time your dog reaches the 8-month milestone, all 42 of his permanent teeth should be in. Although actual teething may be finished, destructive chewing could be just hitting its stride. Your dog is now the equivalent of a teenager -- enough said. With some breeds, such as Labrador retrievers, the fun is just getting started. Continue giving your dog appropriate chew toys. Keep him crated when you are out of the house, or keep him in an area where he doesn't have access to things he shouldn't chew on.
- Puppy image by Ludmila Galchenkova from Fotolia.com