If you think adult dog teeth can do some damage, have you gone toe-to-toe with puppy teeth yet? While puppy teeth may not be able to rip up drywall or tear a door off its hinges, they sure can break the skin. You don’t typically associate sharp teeth with puppies, but trust us when we say pups of some breeds can have razor-sharp teeth.
Why do puppies need their teeth to be so sharp, and does sharp puppy teeth provide certain benefits for young dogs? Let’s find out!
Why are My Puppy’s Teeth So Sharp?
Razor-sharp puppy teeth aren’t meant for protection, although we will admit that the sharp teeth do hurt when puppies nip and sink their teeth into you. The main purpose of razor-sharp teeth is for weaning. Because the teeth are so sharp, they prompt the mother dog to stop feeding them, which weans them off the milk and onto a solid food diet.
The puppy teeth should come in at around 3 weeks of age. The sharp teeth will also help puppies get through solid kibble or any other type of solid food because they do not possess strong jaws.
The sharp puppy teeth have another purpose, and that is to teach your dog just how hard they can bite when playing to not hurt its siblings. If you welcome your dog home at a young age, it’s important to let it play with you and, unfortunately, bite you a little bit just to learn how hard it can go.
So, there you have it. Puppies have sharp teeth for weaning, making the transition to solid food, and learning their bite force when playing.
How to stop puppy biting when they teeth
Puppies will bite when they teeth and that is a fact. Instead of going for your fingers and hands, your puppy may turn its attention to furniture, walls, and other fixtures. No one wants their house destroyed by teething puppies, so your best bet is to get plenty of chew toys with a varying hardness to alleviate your pup’s pain.
Just like for human babies, teething for your pet can be uncomfortable, so we also recommend freezing a wet rag and letting your pup chew on that. The cold will help soothe the aching gums. Whenever your pup starts to clamp down on your hand or something you do not want it to chew on, divert its attention with something it can chew, like puppy toys.
Canine Baby Teeth VS Adult Teeth
Aside from the sharpness, another difference between puppy and adult teeth is the size. You may notice that puppy teeth are very small and widely spaced, but when the adult teeth come in the spaces will be filled in. You may also notice that adult teeth are much less sharp than puppy teeth.
Puppy teeth need to be extra sharp to make up for the lack of jaw strength. After all, puppies need something that can help them chew solid food without a strong jaw. But the needle-sharp teeth will no longer serve a purpose once the puppies become adult dogs, so adult teeth are a bit more rounded.
You can expect puppy teeth to come in at around 3 weeks of age, but you will have to wait for 8 months to see adult teeth rear their heads.
What else differentiates puppy teeth from adult teeth? Pups only have 28 puppy teeth (hence more spacing), and they grow to have a total of 42 adult teeth. You may also notice that your dog’s adult teeth seem more difficult to clean and have a yellow hue to them. Rest assured that you’re still doing a good job with dental hygiene, the yellow tint is natural.
Just as a friendly tip, caring for your dog’s teeth can be difficult and something that will take time for your pup to get used to, but it’s worth it. Canine dental procedures are very expensive, so the effort you put in will save you money in the long term.
Caring for puppy teeth and adult teeth
The care needed for puppy and adult teeth isn’t too far off. Both adults and puppies can benefit from a dental chew toy or two, which are designed to clean their teeth and brush off plaque and tartar buildup when they chew. Giving your puppies and adult dogs chew toys does not replace teeth brushing, so make sure you still brush their teeth at least 4 times a week.
Be careful of what chew toys you choose at different life stages. For example, Kong is a company that creates many chew toys for dogs at different hardness levels. For puppies, you have baby blue or pink chew toys. As your dog ages, you can graduate to harder toys, usually in red color, or the hardest versions in black.
Try not to give your dog anything that can splinter or crack, because your dog could ingest the pieces which can cause blockages and internal injuries. We also do not recommend giving your pup anything that is too hard to chew, such as deer antlers, because when the teeth go against bone, sometimes the antlers win and you will have a cracked tooth on your hands.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make my puppy’s teeth less sharp?
Puppy teeth are sharp for a reason, and there is no way to make them less sharp, nor should you. If it’s the biting and scratches that bother you, try to divert your dog with a chew toy when he comes at your fingers or to say “ow” loudly so he understands that he is biting too hard. Your dog is also learning how to control his bite, so letting him know that he’s hurting you will help him gauge his own strength.
How long do puppies’ teeth stay sharp?
Puppy teeth will stay sharp for the entire duration until they are replaced by adult teeth. Puppy teeth come in at around 3 weeks and are switched out by adult teeth at around 8 months old. During the teething period, make sure to give your dog appropriate chew toys to help alleviate the pain. Cold wet rags will also help soothe the discomfort.
Dagger-like teeth can be a nuisance, but they are only there for the first few months of your puppy’s life. When he gets stronger jaws and his adult teeth come in, the sharp baby teeth will be gone forever. In the meantime, we’d suggest coping with teething by giving your dog suitable chew toys.