Dental care for dogs is an essential but often overlooked aspect of their overall health. Purebred dogs, such as German Shepherds, are especially susceptible to health issues, and their dental health is no exception.
As an owner of a German Shepherd, I felt it was important to have a comprehensive understanding of my dog’s teeth and how to care for them, in order to avoid problems caused by decay as he got older.
In this article, we’ve broken down all you need to know about German Shepherd teeth, in order to help you care for your furry friend and his chompers too.
German Shepherd Dental Structure
German Shepherds have 42 teeth. 22 are on the top jaw and 20 are on the bottom. They have four different types of teeth, each with a different use.
In front they have incisors for scraping and removing meat from bones, and to nibble at ticks and fleas during grooming. Next, they have canines, long pointed teeth, which are used for tearing food apart, or carrying bones and chew toys. Behind those are the premolars which are used for chewing and shredding food. Finally, the molars in the back are used to break down harder foods.
Do German Shepherds Lose Their Baby Teeth?
Just like humans, dogs, German Shepherds included, lose their baby teeth when they are young and grow adult teeth. This process happens between 12 weeks and 6 months of age.
This period of growth is called teething, and it is very painful for puppies. This pain is often associated with nippy or bitey behaviour, especially in German Shepherds. Your puppy will turn into a little landshark during this phase.
In order to help your dog with the pain, it is important to provide him with appropriate chew toys that he can knaw on to help alleviate the discomfort.
The best chew toys for your German Shepherd at this stage are rubber toys that you can put in the freezer to make cold. The cold will help relieve pain in your puppy’s gums, and the rubber is hard enough to be satisfying when he chews, but soft enough not to hurt his teeth.
For young puppies, wetting a washcloth, putting it to freeze, and then giving it to your dog to chew can also help. Even if you can’t make them cold, make sure to provide your dog with a safe chew toy. This will prevent him from turning to your socks and ankles to help his pain. Giving him options to alleviate the pain will also prevent behavioural issues from popping up because of his frustration.
Common Dental Concerns
German Shepherds can be prone to gum and tooth disease, especially as they get older. Like humans, they can suffer from plaque, tartar, gingivitis, periodontal disease (tooth infection), pain, and discomfort in their mouths.
Some of these conditions can result from breakage, but most result from poor dental care throughout their lives. When the teeth are not cleaned properly, plaque, tartar, and bacteria can build up, eventually causing infection or tooth loss. This is painful for your dog, and infections have the danger of spreading to the heart, brain, and rest of the body.
Dental issues in German Shepherds are no joke. Luckily, with a little bit of care, you should be able to stave them off.
Dental Care For A German Shepherd
Dogs need dental care from the time they are puppies. The most important thing you can do for your dog’s oral health is make sure you take him for his scheduled vet visits, and ensure his oral health is examined at these visits. Your vet may recommend a full dental exam under general anaesthesia for a more thorough look at his teeth.
German Shepherd’s are very easily trainable, which is a good thing because training your dog to let you brush his teeth is no easy feat, but it’s a must. This process should start when he is a puppy, to get him comfortable with it. Your dog’s teeth should ideally be brushed daily, or at least a few times a week. Work on desensitizing your dog to the routine, with lots of positive reinforcement.
Your vet may also recommend a dental diet for your dog. Dental diets are foods which help clean dogs’ teeth as they eat. If your dog has extra problematic chompers, this could be key. Just make sure you pick one that fits the nutritional needs of a very active German Shepherd.
Finally, as mentioned above, you must be sure you give your dog safe toys such as rubbery toys and thin rawhides to chew on. Avoid anything too hard or which may splinter when chewed.
A German Shepherd’s teeth are an essential part of his body as a whole. Thus, it is essential that you properly care for them.
Your dog can be susceptible to oral health issues. By regularly cleaning his teeth, providing him with appropriate things to chew on, and not skipping out on best visits, you can be sure you’ll do the best you can for his teeth.
If you have any more questions about German Shepherd teeth, let us know in the comments below. We’ll help you out with anything we can!