Yorkie Puppy Teeth
Your need to brush your Toy dog teeth at the very least once per week. It would be even better if you brushed their teeth several times each week. I always do them at least at bath time. You can maintain nice teeth if brushing Yorkies teeth on a regular basis. They become accustomed to this quicker than you would think and it's for their own good health if you do this. I personally use a human toothbrush and it's surprising how fast brushing their teeth goes and how quick they adjust to the process.
One question I'm asked quite frequently is when to pull puppy teeth. I will outline some general guidelines as to the best time to have Yorkshire Terrier puppy teeth pulled by your vet.
The majority of puppies (and most other toy breeds) will be ready to have puppy teeth pulled generally around 7 months at the latest, although some can take up to 9 months. As a general rule the smaller the puppy, the longer it seems to take for the adult teeth to come in. If there is only one set of teeth, do not depend on your vet to know if they are puppy teeth or adult teeth. If there are double rows, it is very easy to determine puppy teeth from adult teeth and your vet should have no problem pulling the correct ones. It falls to you to know when it is right to take them to the vet, by checking the teeth frequently. I start checking mine weekly at 4 months and bi-weekly at 5 months to see when the new teeth are coming in. If you are watching more that one puppy, it is best to keep notes or you will have forgotten which one has done what.
The canines are the 4 largest teeth (2 upper and 2 lower), the incisors are the 6 front upper and 6 front lower between the canines. These are the teeth on each jaw you'll be most concerned with watching. When these teeth are ready with the new adult teeth starting through the gums, you'll pull the puppy teeth. When I see double canines, I give them a chance to come all the way in. If the puppy canines do not loosen than I pull the puppy canine teeth. Some canines come in at the exact spot of the puppy canines. Most adult canines come in next to the puppy canines. The ones you need to watch are the adult canines that come in either behind or in front of the puppy canines. If the adult canines don't come in quickly, it is most important to get the puppy canines pulled right away. Otherwise, the adult canines will grow either too far forward or too far behind.
One of mine's canines was pulled at 6 months, because the adult canines were coming in behind. I did not have my vet pull any incisors, because I wasn't positvie if they were puppy or adult teeth and there was only one set. At 11 months there was double incisors on each side of the lower canines which had to be pulled and at 13 months there was double incisors on each side of the upper canines that had to be pulled. This was very unusual but demonstrates that you need to watch the mouth.
For the ideal mouth and majority of mouths, the adult incisors come in about the same place and knock out the puppy incisors. The ones you have to worry about are the ones you see come in about 2 inches back from the puppy incisors, especially on the upper jaw. If the lower adult incisors grow out all the way, the upper adult incisors may not push past them in time and you end up with an undershot mouth. This is not frequent, but does occur.
I know a lot of people are pulling canines and incisors at 3 months of age if the puppies are undershot. Each person has to do their own thing, but I don't recommend doing this. This is genetically an ethical issue if you're not informing a potential buyer of the puppy or if you're not informing someone wanting to use your stud dog that has been corrected in this manner. A genetic undershot will still produce undershot mouths, as this is recessive and a dog exhibiting a recessive quality can only throw that recessive gene (as both genes are recessive to exhibit the quality). You will never correct the problem by breeding from a genetic undershot dog.
The other big problems with mouths are the lines that are producing only 4 or 5 incisors, either upper or lower. Bad teeth appear in some lines also, needing to be cleaned every year. Both these problems can be corrected by selection of dogs with all their teeth and nice sound teeth.
Article printed in TYT Magazine © 1999
by author Cher Hildebrand Goldenray Yorkies
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