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Whether nursing a litter of newborn Golden Retriever puppies or getting a new one definitely brings out the much-awaited excitement and fun for fur parents.
However, as a responsible pet owner, one must be aware of the certain physical and behavioral changes your puppy undergoes, and teething is one of them.
Just like any other dog breed, Golden Retrievers also experience losing their so-called “baby teeth” at a certain age. A series of chewing, nipping, and biting of different stuff can obviously be observed.
In general, dogs have 42 permanent teeth and 28 deciduous teeth (which fall off at a certain stage of development).
Teeth are usually identified by their anatomy: set (deciduous or permanent), side position (left or right), arch (maxillary and mandibular) position, and class (i.e. incisors or canines, etc).
Most mammals including dogs are diphyodont, which means they have 2 generations of teeth: deciduous teeth followed by a permanent set of teeth. Losing their deciduous (milk teeth or baby teeth) varies in dog breeds and the type of activity at this stage.
Now the question is, when do Golden Retrievers lose their baby teeth? To answer that, read along with this post and take as many insights as you start your journey with your Golden puppy.
Golden Retriever Dental Development
Apparently, puppies are born without teeth. As early as 3 weeks old, deciduous or milk teeth start to erupt from their gums. Then, at 6-8 weeks old, all milk teeth are visibly present.
Goldies have 28 deciduous teeth (12 Deciduous incisors, 4 Deciduous canines, 12 Deciduous premolars). Deciduous teeth start to fall off as early as 3 months depending on your puppy’s oral activity. Most puppies have a complete set of permanent teeth by 7 months, but some may take until a year old.
Unlike other dog breeds, Goldies love to chew more and hold objects in their mouths, promoting early deciduous tooth extraction, as early as 3-4 months. That is why most Goldies complete their permanent teeth as early as 7-8 months old.
But some Golden puppies may take until a year old to have complete permanent teeth due to some complications (which we will tackle later on).
Adult teeth start to form in the bud even before milk teeth are removed. Their development causes a forward push or exertion on the roots of the milk teeth, resulting in root resorption of the milk teeth. When the dental roots of the milk teeth are resorbed, the crown of the deciduous teeth starts to fall off.
Teething, or the eruption of permanent teeth in the gums may stimulate more chewing of kibbles or hard substances. It’s best to divert their urge to chew with allowable objects such as safe and non-toxic chew toys, larger kibbles, and dental sticks.
However, no matter how much we give our best to provide chewing materials for them, some puppies just chew and bite other stuff at home whenever they feel like it. Corner walls, feet of our couches and tables, shoes, slippers, and more are often the victims of their teething process.
Therefore, monitoring them at this stage is crucial for both the owners and their Goldies. Keeping an eye on them saves your things at home in good shape and prevents them from swallowing whatever they chew on.
Signs that Your Golden Retriever is Losing Baby Teeth
Unlike humans, root resorption and tooth extraction are both painful experiences. However, in dogs, it may seem like nothing has happened, as the pain is usually at a minimal level and is often tolerated by Golden Retrievers.
As a responsible owner, it is important to watch for physical and behavioral changes during this stage and provide assistance as necessary.
- Increased nipping, chewing, and biting on hard or rubber surfaces
- May or may not have reduced appetite due to gum pain
- Preference for kibbles over soft and wet food
- Some Golden Retrievers may become irritable and restless
- Fallen crowns of baby teeth may be seen in their food, on the floor, and in bedding, but they are often swallowed.
- May salivate or drool after milk teeth have fallen out.
- Minimal blood spots may be observed in the gums, tongue, food, or in items they chewed on, but this usually resolves within a day.
- Foul odor coming from their mouth (resolves after teething).
Indications of Complications
- Severe gum sores resulting in lethargy and total loss of appetite.
- Difficulty in chewing or biting.
- Gum bleeding that does not resolve within a few hours or a day.
Caring for Golden Retriever Teeth During Teething
As most veterinarians recommend, it is best to feed your Golden Retrievers’ formulated dental health-specific dry dog food during the teething stage.
Although it does not mean the total elimination of soft and wet dog food, the ratio of feeding dry dog food should be greater than wet food.
Soft and wet dog food promotes the retention of residues in their teeth and gums, resulting in plaque growth, which is not desirable for your Golden Retrievers
There are several formulated dry dog foods in the market that are specific for dental health, so it is best to ask your vet’s recommendation first before you decide on what to get for your dog.
It is best to incorporate safe and edible dental chew treats into their diet. Giving your Golden puppies a daily dose of dental chewing bones or sticks can keep their teeth and gums healthy and in good shape. Ingredients in kibbles reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar and teeth staining.
Safe Chew Toys
Providing chew toys is the best diversion for your teething Golden Retrievers if they start chewing and nipping on shoes and other things at home. It is also the best pain reliever for gum sores due to the eruption of adult teeth. However, choosing the right and safe chew toys depends on their size and activity level.
As most Golden Retrievers weigh and size the same, providing a bigger toy is recommended to avoid ingestion if you opt for a smaller chew toy.
Big, durable, and hard (not too hard) chew toys are good for your Goldies. Always seek your vet’s approval before purchasing any toys, as some toys may contain raw materials and substances that are toxic for your dogs and may cause untimely complications.
However, keep a close watch on your Golden Retrievers, as they are prone to ingesting objects and are often brought to vet clinics for foreign body removal (either through induced vomiting or surgery). As a responsible owner, try your best to divert their attention as they go through the teething stage.
Proper Dental Hygiene
Your Golden Retrievers require teeth brushing as much as humans do. Being a big dog with a big mouth, you may use a human toothbrush or brushes intended for dogs. However, using human-specific toothpaste is a big no-no.
Human toothpaste contains fluoride, which is highly toxic to dogs. Fluoride poisoning produces clinical signs and symptoms such as salivation, inflammation of the gut, abnormal breathing, and even skeletal and dental abnormalities in long-term exposure.
So as a responsible owner, you might want to take note of this and just skip human toothpaste altogether.
There are several formulations of dog toothpaste available that are vet-approved. Most of them contain flavors that are appealing to your Goldies’ taste, such as beef, chicken, and milk. You can also find mint-like flavors if you prefer a fresh scent.
If brushing your Goldies’ teeth is a constant battle, there are alternatives you might want to try. Dental powder and water additives can be incorporated into your dog’s meals and water to promote dental health.
Regular Vet Checkups
Dental prophylaxis is necessary to keep your Goldies’ teeth in good health. This procedure involves cleaning and polishing as well as radiographic scans to check for dental problems and other complications.
Prophylaxis should be done at least every 6 months if your dog’s dental hygiene is consistently maintained. However, for some Goldies’ who rapidly form plaque and tartar, you may need to visit the vet every 3 months.
Complications During Teething
Retained Baby Teeth
This common complication is also known as ‘Persistent deciduous teeth’. It occurs when a deciduous tooth remains present when the eruption of the permanent teeth, thus the term ‘persistent baby tooth’.
Any tooth can be persistent, but it most commonly occurs in the upper and lower canines and incisors. This results in overcrowding and abnormal positioning of both teeth, leading to an abnormal bite and scarring of the lips and other mucosal areas of the mouth.
Due to this condition, several periodontal conditions might arise such as inflammation of the gums, rapid plaque and tartar buildup, and infections. That is because malpositioned teeth promote the retention of food residuals.
This condition is often breed and genetically predisposed, commonly in brachycephalic breeds. It seldom occurs in Goldies, but chances are still there. If it does happen, you must consult your veterinarian as it requires immediate attention.
Prolonging the extraction of a persistent tooth will lead to other complications such as severe infections and malocclusion.
Oral infections are not a lovely condition to manage and can cause bad breath.
Unattended dental problems such as retained baby teeth and tartar formation, lead to serious infections. Severe tartar build-up causes the teeth to lose their integrity as bacteria constantly destroy them.
If the infection reaches the root, it will affect the nerves and the blood vessels, resulting in severe pain and a bad smell.
Infection also occurs when the gums and other oral mucosa are constantly scarred. It is important to provide immediate medical attention if this occurs, so as not to compromise the entire oral and dental health.
As mentioned, persistent baby teeth may lead to malocclusions. This condition results in misalignment of the upper (maxilla) and lower (mandible) arches when they meet as the jaw closes.
The presence of the persistent tooth forces the eruption of the permanent tooth in an abnormal position or misalignment, which means the upper and lower jaw do not align or fit well together when they close, resulting in a bad bite or malocclusion.
There are several types of malocclusions, the most common being an underbite and overbite. An underbite is where the lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth, while an overbite is where the upper teeth are far too far from the lower teeth.
Malocclusions may result in discomfort during chewing or biting, mouth breathing, and altered facial appearance. Then again, this condition is not common in Golden Retrievers but may still occur.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for Golden Retrievers to lose their baby teeth?
For Golden Retrievers, it may take as early as 3-4 months to lose all their baby teeth as they love to chew and bite as compared to other dog breeds.
What should I do if my Golden Retriever has retained baby teeth?
Do not attempt to perform the extraction yourself. It is best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as they are skilled at performing extractions for retained baby teeth.
Can I still brush my Golden Retriever’s teeth while they are teething?
Yes, you can. Keeping their teeth and gums clean during teething is important to keep them healthy and away from infections. You may reduce the intensity of the brushing as during this time, the gums might be sore.
If you happen to see a fallen tooth or blood spots, tell yourself not to panic, as this is normal. This reminds you that your Goldie is going through its teething process and will require your close attention to prevent complications.
Help them ease their gum pains by giving them appropriate dental treats and toys to chew and nip. This will save you and other valuables at home. Do not hesitate to reprimand them appropriately if they happen to chew outside of their allowable chew toys.
Remember, a healthy mouth means healthy teeth and fresh breath. Always provide the necessary oral hygiene for your dog through regular teeth brushing (if not, check for alternatives), use appropriate dental products, and schedule regular vet visits.
Christine is a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine. As the in-house vet and writer for Furs'n'Paws, Christine shares her extensive knowledge and expertise on all things pet-related, with a particular focus on small animals such as dogs and cats. In addition, she runs her own clinic in the Philippines and volunteers at a local organization to help stray pets. Her commitment to animal health is evident in her writing style, which makes her an invaluable resource for pet owners and animal lovers.