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 3 months of age and ends by 6 to 9 months of age. During this time, you may notice increased chewing activity, especially in puppies. Shoes, sticks, play toys, and whatever they can get their mouths on. This may be part exploration and in part an effort to reduce any discomfort they feel during the teething process.
Animals that do not lose their baby teeth have a condition called retained deciduous teeth. It is often the canine teeth (the "fangs" in both dogs and cats) that are retained. Retained teeth should be removed, usually at the time of spay or neuter, to prevent other problems from developing. Removal of these retained teeth allows the adult teeth to grow in properly and prevents breakage or infection of the more fragile baby teeth.
You may find the baby teeth on the carpet, stuck in a play toy, or in your pet's fur. Most often, the lost teeth are hard to find. Many animals swallow them, which is considered part of the normal process.
The gums should heal quickly after the baby tooth loss. The adult teeth are more dense, bright white and much larger then the outgoing baby teeth. Now is the time to take 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. It is also much easier to start with a "clean slate" of nice white teeth and healthy gums.
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Image credit: "Kitten Yawn!" by Werwin15 on Flickr