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How Many Teeth Do Shih Tzus Have?

Shih Tzus, like most dogs, have two sets of teeth in their lifetime: baby (deciduous) teeth and permanent (adult) teeth. Shih Tzu puppies are typically born without teeth. However, between the ages of three to six weeks, their baby teeth start to emerge. These deciduous teeth consist of a total of 28 teeth. As your Shih Tzu grows, these baby teeth are eventually replaced by their permanent set of teeth.

Types of Teeth

Shih Tzu teeth can be categorized into various types, each serving a specific purpose in the chewing and digestion process. By familiarizing yourself with these tooth types, you can better appreciate the importance of proper dental care for your Shih Tzu.

  • Incisors: These are the eight small, flat-front teeth located at the front of the mouth. Incisors are primarily used for grasping, grooming and nibbling.
  • Canines: Shih Tzus have four sharp, pointed canine teeth, also known as fangs. Canines are designed for tearing and puncturing food.
  • Premolars: Positioned behind the canines, Shih Tzus possess eight premolars on each side of their mouth. These teeth aid in slicing and crushing food.
  • Molars: Situated at the back of the mouth, Shih Tzus have six molars on each side. Molars are essential for grinding and chewing food.

Teething Stages

Shih Tzu puppies undergo several teething stages during their transition from baby teeth to adult teeth. Teething can be uncomfortable for them, leading to increased chewing behavior. Understanding these stages will help you support your Shih Tzu during this phase.

  • Stage 1: Around three to six weeks of age, the incisors (front teeth) begin to emerge.
  • Stage 2: At eight weeks, the canines (fangs) and premolars start to erupt.
  • Stage 3: By 12 weeks, the molars at the back of the mouth begin to appear.
  • Stage 4: At around six months, the teething process is usually complete, with all the permanent teeth in place.

Common Dental Issues in Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are prone to certain dental issues that can affect their oral health if not addressed properly. These issues may include:

  • Dental Plaque and Tartar Buildup: If left unchecked, plaque can accumulate on your Shih Tzu’s teeth, eventually hardening into tartar. This buildup can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Gum Disease: Shih Tzus are susceptible to periodontal disease, which can cause inflammation, gum recession and tooth loss if not treated promptly.
  • Tooth Decay: Poor dental hygiene can result in tooth decay, leading to pain, infection and potential tooth loss.
  • Tooth Loss: Dental problems can contribute to tooth loss in Shih Tzus, affecting their ability to chew and impacting their overall health.

What Should You Do When Your Shih Tzu is Teething?

Teething can be a challenging and uncomfortable time for Shih Tzu puppies as their baby teeth give way to their permanent adult teeth. Here’s what you should do when your Shih Tzu is teething:

  • Provide Appropriate Chew Toys: Offer safe, durable chew toys specifically designed for teething puppies. These toys can help soothe their sore gums and redirect their chewing behavior away from household items.
  • Use Teething Gels or Sprays: Consider using teething gels or sprays formulated for puppies to help ease their discomfort. Always follow the instructions provided and consult your veterinarian if needed.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Ensure your Shih Tzu is receiving a nutritionally balanced diet appropriate for their age and dental health. Consult your veterinarian for specific dietary recommendations.
  • Schedule Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Regular dental examinations by a veterinarian are essential for detecting any dental issues early on. Your veterinarian can provide professional cleaning and address any concerns you may have about your Shih Tzu’s dental health.

Tips for Preventing Dental Issues in Shih Tzus

Maintaining good dental health is essential for the overall well-being of your Shih Tzu. Here are some important strategies to consider:

  • Regular Toothbrushing: Brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and veterinarian-approved toothpaste formulated for dogs. Aim for daily brushing to remove plaque and maintain oral hygiene.
  • Dental-Friendly Treats and Toys: Offer dental chews and toys designed to promote dental health, such as those that help clean teeth or massage gums.
  • Avoid Sugary Foods: Limit your Shih Tzu’s consumption of sugary treats and human foods, as these can contribute to tooth decay and other dental problems.
  • Professional Dental Cleanings: Schedule professional dental cleanings for your Shih Tzu as recommended by your veterinarian. These cleanings involve scaling, polishing and addressing any dental issues under anesthesia.

Understanding the various aspects of Shih Tzu dental health, including the number of teeth, teething stages, types and size of teeth, common dental issues, teething signs, shedding of baby teeth, teething cessation and preventive measures, is crucial for providing optimal dental care for your Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzu Teeth – How Many, Teething Stages, Types & Size