Q & A: Baby teeth

Q: How does the teething process work in kittens and puppies?

A: Puppies and kittens develop sharp, needle-like teeth, at about the age of three to four weeks of age. By the age of six weeks or so, these emerging teeth often irritate the nursing mother, and the weaning process begins.

The start time and duration of the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth varies with each individual animal, but in general, the loss of baby teeth usually starts about three months of age and ends by the time the puppy or kitten is six to nine months of age. During this time, your puppy or kitten may increase chewing activity (especially in puppies). Shoes, sticks, play toys, and whatever they can get their mouths on are all fair game. This may be part exploration and in part an effort to reduce any discomfort they feel during the teething process.

You may occasionally find the baby teeth on the carpet, stuck in a play toy, or in your pet’s fur, but generally they are hard to find. Many animals swallow them, which is considered part of the normal process.

After loss of baby teeth your puppy or kitten’s gums should heal quickly. The adult teeth are more dense, bright white and much larger than the outgoing baby teeth. And now is the time to start taking care of those teeth! Getting your pet used to a dental care routine while young is the best way to ensure dental health later on.

Small animal veterinarian