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Pug Teeth and Dental Care

Overview

The 2 most important elements in regard to a Pug's teeth are:
  • The teething process
  • Proper dental care
Establishing good dental hygiene at an early age can save your Pug from years of discomfort and mouth problems. 
Toy breeds lose teeth easier than any other sized dog and the Pug breed, with his compacted facial structure, can develop infections and other issues rather easy due to overcrowding. Without much room between the teeth, proper brushing and care is so important.

Chews work to loosen plaque and only brushing can remove it. Tarter can only be removed via scraping...and this can be done at home or by a professional veterinarian. 

Let's see what you can do to keep your Pug's mug healthy and happy, from puppy-hood through the senior years.
Pug teeth and dental care
The Age of Pug Teething

Newborns are born without teeth. Most milk teeth will grow in before a pup reaches his or her new home, as this process is usually complete between the ages of 6 weeks old. By the time a family brings a new puppy into the household, he has all of his puppy teeth. 

Then, between the age of 3 and 4 months, the process of teething will begin in which those 28 deciduous teeth fall out and are replaced with permanent, adults. 

Most owners to not notice a tooth actually falling out; This is because they are so tiny and many loosen and fall out while the puppy is eating. It is often swallowed without an issue. 

The small root of that tooth is absorbed by the adult tooth that pushes up to take its place. Once in a while this does not happen and the lack of this absorption can lead to crooked or overlapping teeth.

The length of time for this to be complete varies quite a bit from dog to dog. In general, you can expect your Pug puppy to teeth up until the age of 8 months.

However, if a late bloomer does not begin until the age of 5 months, the process may not be done until 9 or even 10 months old. This can seem like a long time to cope with a teething puppy, but there are some steps that owners can take to make this easier on both the puppy and his potential chewing "victims".

Here are some tips:

1) It is important to promote good chewing habits. The types of things that a Pug puppy chews on while teething can become habits for the older dog. 
Have a good selection of teething toys. Most Pugs do well with chews made of various textures so that both the chewing urge and the craving to rub the gums is met.

2) Any time that your puppy is chewing on an un-approved item, bring over a toy and make a non-negotiable offer of exchange

3) Give praise when your Pug is chewing on approved toys

4) Keep water fresh and cold, changing it often and adding crushed ice to keep it chilled

5) Offer ice cubes (plain or flavored) - when placed on a linoleum floor, the ice can offer a lot of fun while a puppy chases it around and it offers a bit of relief to sore gums

6) Go over all the floors, on a regular basis, to remove any objects that can be swallowed or chewed. You'd be surprised what falls to the ground...keys, coins, paper clips....So be sure to keep the home "puppy-proofed".

7) Don't wait until after the teething phase to begin brushing your Pug's teeth. Establishing this grooming routine at an early age allows the Pug to become used to having his teeth brushed. A dog that sits nicely for grooming is the older version of the puppy that was slowly trained to do so
Why Brushing is Important

While chews help to keep teeth strong and some do a good job of loosening some plaque, without proper cleaning, teeth will quickly build up with tarter and plaque. That will then start to erode the enamel. As the teeth become weaken, infection can easily set in...And sometimes it sets in deep.

Infections, if not treated, can spread throughout the dog's entire body. This is a very serious issue that cannot be ignored. Dogs that do not receive regular care will would most likely end up experiencing a lot of pain and eventual tooth loss. Cleaning your Pug's teeth should be a normal part of every day grooming and care. Only 5-10 minutes a day is needed.

Even with these regular brushings, a "full dental" should be performed by a veterinarian. This is generally done 1 time per year. The mouth will be examined for proper bite and any signs of infection. Tarter will be scraped off and a rinse will be given.
Brush VS Wipes

Canine toothbrushes work best. Choosing a size small will be best for this breed. If an owner is struggling with this and the Pug is resisting, there are other options that can give you a bit more control. Alternatives are:
  • Finger brush - This is a small rubber appliance that slips over a finger. One then "scrubs" the teeth with this, using a dab of paste. It can be a good option for dogs that are intolerant to the larger brush and have been acclimated to having their mouths manipulated. 
  • Wipes - Not a 1st recommendation, but useful for dogs that show a high intolerance to dental brushes 
How Often to Brush Your Pug's Teeth

Unlike recommendations for humans, good dental hygiene for canines can be accomplished with 1 good brushing per day. This will keep bad smells away due to bacteria and will prevent tartar and plaque build-up.  It will be important to go over front, back and sides of all teeth. Using a timer can help and you'll want to do this cleaning for 3 to 4 minutes.

Nighttime is best; although we suggest any time that fits in with your schedule in order to make this task easier and in turn, not overlooked. 
How Do I Start?

Unless you are one of those lucky owners who has a dog that just lets you do what you please...you will need to train your dog to get used to this.

How do you brush your Pug's teeth if they run from the brush? 

You can begin by training your dog to get used to having something in his mouth (other than food and toys!)

1) Start by taking a week to rub your dog's teeth each day. Spend about 3 to 4 minutes per day. Do this in a relaxed setting. Try to touch all of the teeth.
Pug dog dental care
Start on one side and slowly work your way around the mouth. Repeat a key word such as "Teeth" or "Brush" as you do this, so that your dog can put the word to the action. During the moments that your Pug sits still for this, offer praise and finish the session off with a pat and a small healthy treat (a raw, baby carrot is a great healthy snack) See also: Feeding.

2)  After a week or so, work your way up to using a canine finger tooth brush or a toothbrush for small sized breeds (those sized for toy breeds will be too tiny for the Pug). During the first few days, do not apply paste but do wet the brush with water. Again, repeat the key word.

3)  Now, it will be time to use paste. Since dogs cannot spit the paste out, it will be very important to use a quality canine toothpaste since the human equivalent can be toxic if swallowed. Expect a bit of resistance, knowing that the goal is to allow your Pug to become accustomed to the feeling of the paste and the cleaning process. 

Remember to use the chosen word and remember to relax... Canines are fantastic at picking up on the mood of their owner. The tone in which a person speaks, as well as words used, send a message.
Pug dog showing teeth
Alignment, Bite and Other Elements 

Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth and adults have 42. Most canines have 42 (there are a couple exceptions, like the Chow-Chow that has 44). There is not a problem when those teeth need to fit in a medium length snout (know as mesocephalic), however with the brachycephalic snout that the Pug has, those same number of teeth need to fit into a much smaller area. 

The teeth do tend to be smaller than some other breeds and this is due to centuries of breeding...to have the flat brachycephalic snout, the tongue is relatively too big for the mouth, which lends to having smaller teeth and such issues as elongated palate that can cause breathing problems.  
 
With this said, overcrowding can be an issue and breakage can also result since the teeth can tend to be more brittle. With regular veterinarian check-ups, overcrowding can be detected early as deciduous give way to the adult set. 

In some cases, molars may need to be removed to keep middle and front teeth from slanting. 
Breakage can be prevented to some degree by keeping the teeth clean, with both at-home brushing practices and on-going professional cleanings.

The bite for this breed is an slight underbite, which means that the lower jaw extends out a bit further than the upper jaw. Some Pugs have a more severe underbite and this can cause problems with eating and tongue placement. 

It should be noted that the bite you see with a puppy will most likely change as the dog matures.

Many Pugs are born with a level bite and the slight underbite develops as the dog grows. Since the lower jaw often continues to grow after the upper jaw has reached it development, a noticeable under bite during the early puppy phase should be watched.
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