Sometimes we get a good glimpse at our dog’s teeth and there sure does seem to be a lot of them. A common question which runs through most dog owners head at some point is “how many teeth does an adult dog have?” It’s not a complicated question, but you’d be surprised at the answer.
So How Many?
As a general rule, an adult dog with healthy dentition will have forty-two teeth. It might seem like quite a few to us since a human with all of their teeth has thirty-two, but adult dog’s teeth reflect their diet.
As a puppy before stopping teething, most dogs will have fewer teeth, just like we do, coming in at twenty-eight on average. It’s a lot of teeth at the end of the day, so why do they have so many?
Adult Dog’s Teeth and Their Uses
Many of us make the assumption that dogs are carnivores, owing mainly to the fierce reputation of the wolf which is generally considered to be the “proto-dog” from which our canine companions have descended.
That’s incorrect, in actuality, few animals are pure carnivores. In actuality the only mammal which is actually entirely carnivorous are felines, our dogs are actually omnivores like we are.
The most commonly seen teeth, the curved ones that we see when our dogs snarl, are called incisors. They’re used to grip prey, and their favorite toys, in order to hold it down. The long ones in the front are, appropriately enough, called canines and are mostly used for tearing things apart after getting the grip. The others are used to maintain that grip before the tearing.
Just behind these will be sixteen short, sharp “premolars” which are used for ripping and tearing tough materials like meat and your favorite pair of sandals. When engaging in carnivorous behavior these teeth do most of the work, they function like a saw and allow the animal to rip off smaller chunks of meat from larger pieces.
And, way in the back, your dog will have ten molars which are used for grinding non-meat foods like plants and kibble. They can also be used for some of the most serious damage around your home if you don’t keep your dog trained properly.
There’s a lot more to a dog’s dentition than what meets the eye, how many of us were even aware our dog had molars?
The Importance of Adult Dog’s Teeth
Some of us have a tendency to overlook the importance of our pet’s teeth, but it’s not something you want to do. It’s very important to make sure that you take proper care of your dog’s teeth and it’ll help to avoid problems later in life.
Just like in humans, a toothache for a dog can be quite debilitating and the root of the problem can almost always be traced back to improper hygiene. It’s pretty rare that a healthy tooth gets cracked or chipped from outside trauma, especially since most of our dogs aren’t exactly exposed to the kind of thing that would cause it in the wild.
Cavities, on the other hand, can rot a tooth from the inside out and prevention is definitely something which needs to be practiced. Fortunately, it’s a quite simple process.
Taking Care of Them
Your first line of defense should be… well, regularly brushing your dog’s teeth. You wouldn’t let your own teeth get to such a bad point, so why let your pet’s?
The process itself is quite simple, although it might take some time and if you begin the process with a dog that’s already an adult you might be in for a difficult time for a little while. Set aside a chunk of time to get it done once every few days or even daily eventually.
The important thing is to get into a routine with your dog. As long as you approach things in a gentle manner you’ll find it soon makes a good bonding experience and isn’t traumatic for your animal. Just be sure to keep things regular.
There are also toys and treats which can help to prevent tartar build up. Unlike supposedly teeth-cleaning gum for humans, a lot of these actually have some studies behind them which show they work. Dentastix come highly recommended, both by vets and the anecdotal experience of pet owners.
If you’ve been asking yourself “how many teeth do adult dogs have?” then we hope that we’ve helped you get the answer to your question and given you some important information on their uses. Your adult dog’s teeth are super important, lacking hands they’re the best connection to the world around them that a canine has so care should be taken with them as well.