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Just for Kids: Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth

Your Puppy's Teeth

Your puppy is born without teeth, but by the time he is 3 weeks old, he will start getting his baby teeth. Very quickly, when he is about 4 months old, the baby teeth will start to fall out – just like yours did – and be replaced by his adult permanent teeth. This might be a little uncomfortable for your pup and he may want to chew a lot more.

These are the teeth your dog has:

Puppies lose their teeth in the following order:

If your puppy's gums are hurting him, there are some things you can do to help.

Don't let your puppy bite on your arm or hand for comfort. He should chew on his chew toys. You may occasionally find one of his teeth, but he will swallow most of them as they come out.

Your Adult Dog's Teeth

Once your puppy is grown, he will have 42 teeth. Someone must help your pup take care of them if they are to stay healthy and clean. This includes brushing them every day, chewing on chew toys to keep them clean and strong, eating healthy food, and visiting the veterinarian for regular cleaning and checkups.

How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Brush your dog's teeth every day. A good time to brush them is when you brush your own. If your dog is young, get him used to it by putting some toothpaste on your finger and put your finger in his mouth between the teeth and the cheek. He will probably like the taste and lick it from your finger. When he does that, praise him. Say, "Good dog."

You can use a toothbrush made especially for dogs, or you can use a soft children's toothbrush. You should not use toothpaste made for people, because it will make him feel sick. Only use toothpaste that is made especially for dogs.

When he is used to that, put some toothpaste on a brush and do the same thing. Do this every day until he lets you do it longer and longer. Soon he will let you brush his teeth.

Chew Toys

Dogs love their chew toys. Not only do they give him something fun to do; they rub against his teeth and remove harmful plaque.

Healthy Food

A hard, crunchy healthy food will also scrape against his teeth and keep them clean.

Regular Checkups

When you take your dog to the veterinarian for his regular checkup, the doctor will clean his teeth, too. This cleaning is better than just brushing his teeth. It cleans beneath the gums, too.

When you take care of your dog's teeth, make it fun. Praise him a lot and give him lots of pats and hugs. Then when he smiles, his teeth will be nice and white like yours.