In normal circumstances at about the age of 6 months, all of the baby teeth of your German Spitz puppy will have fallen out. Sometimes it happens, though, that your puppy’s permanent teeth will erupt while the baby teeth still remain steadily in place. Then, it is time to react.
But what in the world should you do then? How typical is this on a German Spitz and can it ruin your dog’s bite forever? Let’s take a look into our dogs’ mouths to discover what is going on there in this type of situation and what kind of actions you should take.
My first German Spitz puppy actually went through the scenario I described above, so I have some personal experience on the subject matter as well.
Baby teeth of a German Spitz – a normal situation
Puppies are born without any teeth at all. Typically their baby teeth start erupting at the age of 3 – 4 weeks. They are those little baby teeth that you probably know as sharp little needles. When your puppy is at the age when he is ready to move in with the new family, you, unfortunately, get the needles along with the puppy.
The puppy goes on exploring everything with his mouth and sometimes he bites those baby teeth into your flesh as well. If you’ve ever been around a puppy you know what I’m talking about. Puppies chew on everything because that is their way of getting to know the world around them, but also because of the teething process. Chewing alleviates the itchiness.
Little by little the baby teeth start to fall out. This process usually starts at around the age of 3 months and the first teeth that fall out are the little ones on the front. You probably won’t even notice this, or sometimes if you’re lucky, you might find a tooth on the floor somewhere. In most cases, the baby teeth probably end up in your puppy’s stomach. It’s nothing to be worried about.
Puppies have 28 baby teeth while an adult dog has 42. Puppies do not have molars but they only erupt as permanent teeth when the puppy is around 4 – 7 months old. Usually, dogs do not have any problems with the molars erupting.
Where the problem is, though, is with the upper canine teeth: the permanent teeth start to grow but they do not push the baby teeth out of the way as they should, but there remain two sets of canine teeth on each side.
Baby teeth of a German Spitz – abnormal situation
What you need to pay close attention to are the upper canine teeth because that is where this problem most usually occurs. German Spitz is not the only breed that has this problem, but many other small breeds have the same tendency. If your breeder hasn’t already told you to be aware of this, or you got your puppy from someplace else and you do not have anyone to ask advice from, let me now tell you:
Look closely at your puppy’s upper canine teeth. If you notice that the permanent teeth are already growing next to the deciduous teeth and the latter ones seem like they aren’t moving at all, then you’ve got a problem.
This usually occurs when your puppy is around 5 months old. This may happen with some other teeth as well, but with German Spitzes, the problem basically only occurs with the canines.
The good news is that it is easy to keep an eye on because the canine teeth can easily be seen if you open your dog’s mouth even a little bit – and the problem is relatively easy to fix. You just need to be aware of this so that you know what to do. If you do nothing it could do some permanent damage to your dog’s mouth, bite, and teeth.
What should you do if the baby teeth do not fall out?
When you see the permanent canine teeth growing while the baby teeth still remain in place, first of all, do not panic. In most cases, you will see 4 sets of canine teeth at some point, because in normal circumstances it is the growing permanent teeth that will eventually push the baby teeth out of the way.
However, if you see that the permanent teeth have already begun to grow on the side of the baby canines, then start paying close attention to them.
At this point, if you notice that the baby canines are moving slightly you probably have nothing to worry about. You could start playing some tug-of-war types of games with your dog and the odds are that the baby teeth will fall out on their own when your puppy starts pulling a toy with his teeth.
However, if you do not see any movement on the baby teeth and it looks like they are firmly in place even though the permanent canine teeth are growing fast on the side, then it is time to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. When you call and explain the situation they will know what it’s about and they will know what to do.
In this situation, the baby teeth will have to be removed in anesthesia, and it needs to be done fast. If you leave the two sets of teeth in place for too long the teeth will have no room to grow properly and this can result in an abnormal bite. Ultimately, this can severely damage the quality of life of your precious puppy.
My first German Spitz Mittel puppy had the baby canines removed when he was around 5.5 months old. I wondered whether I was overreacting and if the baby teeth would have eventually fallen out on their own, but after the operation, I was told that this wouldn’t have happened. The baby teeth were so firmly in place that they never would have fallen out in a natural way.
My puppy had the teeth removed just in time, too. We were so close to getting the bite damaged, but we were lucky and everything went just fine in the end.
How to help your German Spitz’s bite to correct itself?
In our situation, we were close to getting my dog’s bite damaged for good, but luckily nothing irreversible happened.
I was advised to buy a small ball from a pet shop, a ball that would perfectly fit in my puppy’s mouth. I managed to find one that was just the right size: it was small enough for my dog to place it in his mouth between the canines, but big enough so that he wasn’t able to swallow it.
Then we began to play, every day, several times a day, a few minutes at a time. We played in a way that my puppy kept on carrying the ball in his mouth as long as possible.
The idea was that the ball that would be just the right fit would eventually correct the position of the teeth.
As crazy as it sounds, it did the trick.
Our situation wasn’t very bad. Most likely the bite would have been just fine even without the ball, but this was our way (suggested by a licensed veterinarian) of making sure that it definitely would.
There are plenty of ways to ensure the health of our pets. You just need to get in touch with professionals who know what they are doing and can take care of our precious little German Spitzes. The only thing you need to do is to know when it is the right time to seek help, and this is what this article is all about.
A puppy’s life is full of dangers. They go on jumping all over the place totally unaware of the fact that something bad could happen to them. But it could, in so many ways. Even the simple thing of growing their teeth could possibly damage their bite for good.
This is especially common with toy and small dogs such as the German Spitz, so you should definitely pay close attention to this if you have a puppy of this breed. It usually affects the upper canine teeth, but as long as you are there examining your puppy’s mouth, you should make sure there isn’t anything else wrong with the teeth, either.
As soon as you notice that the baby canines are not moving and the permanent teeth are already growing, then get in touch with your veterinarian! This is really important. Getting the baby teeth removed is a common procedure and vets do it all the time. What’s dangerous is not getting those teeth removed if they do not fall out on their own.
As soon as you get your tiny puppy it is useful to start getting him used to brushing his teeth. In the beginning, it is not really important to brush the teeth but to teach your puppy to accept and even like the toothbrush.
Then when your puppy has got his permanent teeth, then it gets important to actually brush the teeth regularly. German Spitzes develop tartar very easily which again leads to all kinds of diseases. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly will greatly improve your dog’s health and oral hygiene.
You can read more about it in my article: What Are the Grooming Needs of a German Spitz?