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LET'S TALK TEETH

A helpful article on a common problem in Pomeranian puppies: removing retained puppy teeth, or a double row of teeth.

BY MARY ROSENBAUM

Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that start erupting at 3 to 4 weeks of age in the toy breeds. They should have 42 permanent teeth by the time they are 6 to 8 months of age. Puppies should lose the puppy tooth before the adult tooth emerges, but toy breeds are well known for retaining puppy teeth, and often have what is called a 'double row of teeth'.

I start checking every pup's mouth once a week beginning when they are 5 months old, to see how the new permanent teeth are lining up and if they have any retained puppy teeth. Time is of great importance that puppy teeth be pulled at the right time or you could have a pup that has teeth out of line at maturity.

I am going to explain our technique of how to resolve the issue of a double row of teeth, but I should mention that this is not going to control an overbite or under bite - when the jaw itself out grows the length of the opposite jaw. I consider this a major problem, and so does AKC, when you plan to show you're Pomeranian in conformation classes.

Over the years I have been breeding, if any male or female produced overshot or under shot bites, I had them neutered or spayed and placed them in pet homes. This a genetic problem that will keep cropping up from generation to generation if you do not cull these animals from your breeding program. A genetic overshot or undershot dog will produce the same in its offspring as this is a recessive gene and both parents have to have this recessive gene to exhibit this problem. All the supplements you give can help improve the symptoms of a genetic problem but it will not eradicate it from the gene pool.

I haven't taken a pup to my veterinarian in years since I learned how to remove puppy teeth easily and safely. First of all, the baby teeth are like braces and the permanent teeth grow in behind them. The six puppy teeth between the canines (top & bottom) have three points on them. This is important to remember to make sure you do not pull a permanent tooth. If you have an even bite, pull the top six top baby teeth as soon as the permanent ones show up, leaving the bottom row of puppy teeth alone. If your puppy has bottom teeth that are protruding over the top ones, pull the bottom 6 teeth leaving the top puppy teeth alone.

Usually when the permanent teeth start protruding, the baby teeth will be easier to remove. I take a washcloth and push the tooth up and out; they will just pop out. Do not continue to wiggle a tooth as this will cause the puppy pain, and you will create a mouth shy dog that will not let a judge examine its bite in the ring. Now if your pup has both the puppy and permanent canine teeth showing, here is the trick you need to remove these.

Years ago I ordered from Jeffers Vet Supply a pair of baby pig teeth nippers. I am sure these are still available thought livestock magazines, or you can use regular toe nail clippers. Cut just the tip off the baby K9's (there will be no bleeding or pain to the puppy) and wait a few weeks, you will be able to just flick these canine teeth out with your finger. This is no different than when you trim a toe or finger nail.  You can also give your pup large knuckle bones and such that they can chew to help remove these teeth once the tip has been clipped off.  I have used this method for over 40 years and have had no infections or problems of any kind. There has been many toy breeds killed during surgery and especially when their puppy teeth are removed or adult teeth are cleaned from the anesthesia used.  The report is that 50,000 dogs and cats die every year from just having their teeth cleaned and 1,2000,00 are injured each year during the practice of cleaning or removing teeth.   The best product for your veterinarian to use is Isoflorine gas but even then there have been loses.  I refuse to put my little guys through any life threatening procedure when it is so safe to do it this way.  I am confident that this method of resolving the double row of teeth in puppies will work for you too if you follows my instructions.