Say cheese!! It’s time to discover how to tell the age of a puppy based on their teeth. Yes, it’s all about teeth today. We will discuss how veterinarians determine dog age using a teeth chart and share how your puppy’s teeth are the key to predicting their age.
Often, adopted dogs are a mixture of multiple breeds, so it’s hard to use breed or predicted body size to estimate their age (of course you could use an Embark DNA test to find out his/her predicted adult weight and breed mix)! Teeth are a reliable measure of age whether your pup is a rescue or not. In fact, studying your dog’s teeth may be the most accurate resource when investigating how to tell the age of a puppy.
Teeth are a particularly reliable way to determine a puppy’s age because your dog will lose all baby teeth before he/she is about 6 months old. However, not all dogs follow this typical progression. Your vet is an expert in predicting dog age using a teeth chart and should be used as a resource. This is especially useful during the transitional time when your puppy is losing baby teeth and gaining adult teeth. After all of their adult teeth are in, it’s harder to determine an age range by studying their teeth.
If you’re generally interested in learning more about your pup’s teeth, the American College of Veterinary Dentists breaks down the nomenclature of teeth in your dog. Here is a summary of your dog’s teeth and when they erupt:
Deciduous Incisors – The deciduous (baby) incisors will most likely erupt when your pup is 3-4 weeks old.
Deciduous Canines – The deciduous canines erupt next starting at 3-5 weeks of age.
Deciduous Premolars – Then the deciduous premolars will erupt at 4-6 weeks old. Puppies have three baby premolars on the top and bottom of both sides.
You can find a deciduous canine dental chart here.
Permanent Incisors – Permanent incisors typically start to come in when your dog is about 3 months old. In total there are three pairs of incisors per jaw, and the final pair usually comes in at 5 months old.
Permanent Canines – The adult canine teeth are visible starting at 4-6 months of age.
Premolars – These are the teeth furthest back in your dog’s mouth before the adult molars erupt. The deciduous premolars are lost and four permanent premolars are added on the top and bottom of both sides. The permanent premolars come in between 4-6 months of age.
Molars – Dogs do not have baby molars, but there are two permanent molars on each side of the top jaw (maxilla) and three permanent molars on each side of the bottom jaw (mandible). All molars will erupt by 4-7 months of age.
Here is an image of an adult canine dental chart.
Vets use the amount of wear and tartar accumulation on your dog’s teeth to determine age when they are older. Dog teeth are typically less pointed after about 5-6 years of age. Your dog’s teeth will depend on their routine (how much they chew, what they chew, and food choice) and previous dental cleanings or at home care. This is why age is harder to determine after puppyhood.
To learn more about predicting age in dogs, check out our previous blog post about how veterinarians estimate dog age here. Also, don’t forget to connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more interesting stories and dog pics!