Busselton Vet Hospital
20-Week Puppy Teething Exam
During your puppy’s 16-week puppy joint exam we examine your puppy’s joints from nose to tail.
20-Week Teething Exam
What To Expect
Puppies are much the same as people – they have a set of baby teeth that are lost and replaced by their permanent adult teeth. This process starts at about 12 weeks of age (although it can vary a bit with breed), and continues over the next 2 to 4 months. Usually, all teeth have erupted by 7 to 10 months of age
This is quite an uncomfortable time for your new puppy, so making sure they have plenty of appropriate things to chew is important. Rubber toys designed for dogs are significantly better and safer than sticks or bones (or shoes!) for allowing your puppy to relieve some of this discomfort without damaging their permanent teeth
Why Check At 20 Weeks?
At this stage most or all of the puppy teeth should be gone and the adult teeth starting to come through, which allows us to identify potential issues early. It is much easier for us, you, and your puppy to diagnose and treat the problems early while the teeth are still mobile, rather than dealing with potentially more complicated or even permanent issues later in life.
Some dogs do start teething a bit later in life, so if they’re not quite ready at 20 weeks old, we can just reschedule your teething visit and check again
What Are We Looking For?
There are a few common issues that we are looking for while doing a puppy teething check, and the impact they have on your puppy’s mouth and comfort can vary:
- Retained teeth – this is when the baby tooth has failed to fall out and is still present along with the adult tooth. This most commonly happens with the big canine teeth
- Base narrow canines – the big canine teeth don’t come out at the correct angle, and the tips are too close together
- Overcrowding – when your puppy’s mouth is not big enough for all of the teeth that they have, more commonly seen in smaller breeds or breeds with short faces
- Absent teeth – sometimes the adult teeth fail to erupt. This can either be because the adult tooth is missing entirely, or is still sitting within the jaw bone
- We are also assessing for other less common conditions, and just overall oral health.
What We Can Do
Some of the problems can be solved by encouraging chewing appropriate toys, playing with a ball, and other such activities at home. Other issues may require us taking dental x-rays of your puppy’s mouth to assess the teeth further, and some cases require surgical intervention. Every case is unique, and the best course of action for your puppy will be discussed with you by our vets.