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How old is your dog?

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What’s better than puppies? That’s right: your own puppy. So, what do you need to know before you take the plunge into pet parenthood?

0-2 months
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0-2 months

Welcome to the world little one. It’s all grow-grow-grow for your puppy right now, so there’s many things to prepare.

2-3 months
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2-3 months

Your puppy is ready to come home and turn your world upside down. It’s time to put your preparation into practice – and remember to take it all in!

3-6 months
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3-6 months

You’re entering a period of immense growth, lots of learning and new adventures. Bring on the play date with the big wide world!

6-12 months
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6-12 months

Your fur-baby is nearing adulthood. Can you see their grown self coming through? Sigh…they grow up so fast, don’t they?

12-18 months
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12-18 months

Your puppy has turned one and they might not be so little anymore. Make sure to book their first annual check-up.

18 months - 3 years
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18 months - 3 years

Your dog is one an established family member now. Enjoy who they have become and the bond you now share at this special stage.

3 - 8 years
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3 - 8 years

Your dog is a full-grown adult now. They understand where their place is in your home and the wider world.

8+ years
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8+ years

Just like many senior citizens, senior dogs have some extra needs. Learn to look after your best friend and support their health as they grow older.

Puppy Teething

Dr Gretta Howard - Vet profile picture

Dr Gretta Howard - Vet

BVSc (Hons), MVS (Sm.Anim.Pract.), MANZCVS (Sm.Anim.Med.)

Dr Gretta Howard is an Australian veterinarian with over 20 years experience with a strong interest in growth and development, nutrition and small animal medicine of dogs and cats.

Puppy Teething

Just like human babies do, puppies have a set of primary teeth that fall out and are replaced with the adult set of teeth. The main difference in dogs though, is that the teething process in puppies occurs much faster and earlier, over just a few months for their secondary set of teeth!

Below is all you need to know about your puppy teeth stages.

Puppy Teeth Stages

Your puppy’s primary (deciduous) teeth erupt between 4-6 weeks of age so usually by the time you acquire your puppy, all 28 of the primary incisors, canines and premolars are present.

The primary teeth are then replaced with the secondary (adult) teeth in the order of incisors, canines, premolars and additional molars erupt so that the total number of adult teeth in your puppy’s mouth is 42 (with some individual variation). That’s a lot of teeth considering an adult human has just 32!

Puppy's Age Secondary Teeth
12-20 weeks Incisors erupt
12-16 weeks Canines erupt
16-24 weeks Premolars erupt
20-28 weeks Molars erupt


By the time your puppy is 7 months of age, he or she will usually have the entire set of adult teeth! So, teething in puppies is fast tracked over just 4 months compared to the slow process in humans.

Looking after your puppy’s teeth

At each puppy health examination, your vet can assess your puppy’s teeth and look for problems such as:

  • Malocclusions where teeth are in the wrong position causing problems
  • Tooth fractures which can lead to tooth root abscesses
  • Retained deciduous teeth leading to overcrowding
  • Unerupted teeth which can lead to large cysts forming in the jaw bones

Some of these problems may require a dental procedure to correct, particularly retained deciduous canine teeth. These should be extracted by your vet under an anaesthetic if they have not fallen out by 6 months of age, or your puppy risks permanent dental health problems. It is therefore important that your vet examined your puppy’s teeth at approximately 6 months of age to look for puppy teething problems.

Dental Care for Puppies


There is no doubt that diet plays a huge role in dental health care in puppies. In my experience, puppies fed an all wet food diet (no dry food) tend to develop tartar on their teeth and gum disease at a much earlier age than dogs offered dry food as a regular part of their diet. Black Hawk has an excellent range of suitably textured dry food diets balanced for growth in puppies.

Chews - Treats and Toys

Puppies naturally like to explore their environments with their mouths, particularly during their teething period, so it’s important to provide age appropriate chew toys for your puppy. Supervise your puppy while chewing so that there is no swallowing of chewed inedible items. For edible dental chews, take note of the manufacturer’s recommended age to start these as they can sometimes be too hard for the primary teeth to safely handle.

Bones can sometimes cause fractures in teeth so be sure to discuss these risks with your vet first.
Brushing Teeth

There is no doubt that the best way to care for your puppy’s teeth is to introduce tooth brushing into the routine.

In order to make it worthwhile, this needs to be at least every second day, preferably daily.

Make sure your puppy has a positive experience during this learning phase and use a finger brush or a small soft toddler’s tooth brush dipped in something tasty like beef stock to reward them every time the tooth brush is used. You can use a pet dental toothpaste once your puppy is comfortable with the tooth brush but the brushing action is the most of important part. Aim to clean the outsides of the teeth only as your puppy’s tongue will do a pretty good job of the insides.

Professional Dental Cleaning and Treatment

At each annual health exam, your vet can assess your dog’s teeth to determine whether it is time for a dental scale and polish, which is performed at the right time, can help avoid extractions later in life. Like humans, most dogs require this dental procedure multiple times in their lifetime to maintain a healthy mouth.

Teething is an important development stage in your puppy’s life so be sure help your puppy get used to oral exams by gently opening and closing the mouth as well as lifting up the gums regularly. By gradually getting your puppy used to oral exams early in life, this will make tooth brushing and veterinary exams much easier in the future.

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