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Dedicated to Bart, who had the Most Beautiful Tail

"It's very simple. Dogs and cats and other talented animals have tails; their tails, with their thousands of flourishes, provide them with a wonderfully complex language of arabesques, not only for what they think and feel and suffer, but for every mood and vibration in their feeling tone. We have no tails, and since the more lively among us need some form of expression, we make ourselves paintbrushes and pianos and violins..."

Hermann Hesse

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chompers for Life

Sage is 5 months old now. Right on schedule, he's teething - and the hole in our living room carpet is a testimonial to that fact. I'd been so careful, but it takes only a moment (seriously - 60 seconds) for a crafty puppy like this to wreak havoc on a carpet seam.

Here's a little bit of information on canine teeth, lifted from the Dog Owner's Guide:

Like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth in their lives. The 28 baby teeth erupt through the gums between the third and sixth weeks of age. Puppies do not have to grind much food, so they do not have molars. Puppy teeth begin to shed and be replaced by permanent adult teeth at about four months of age. Although there is some variation in breeds, most adult dogs have 42 teeth, with the molars coming last, at about six or seven months.

The order of tooth replacement is incisors first, then canines (fangs), and finally premolars. The teething period can be frustrating; the puppy clamps his mouth on everything he can reach, from body parts to Johnny's $80 sneakers, in an attempt to relieve the discomfort. Teething can be accompanied by drooling, irritability, and fluctuations in appetite.

I also found some good tips regarding teething and training for bite inhibition here. We started bite inhibition training on Day One and he learned not to chew on people, or our clothing right away- smart puppy!  At this point he's 90% good as far as chewing on things that are not his toys, but no puppy is trustworthy this early in life and he's MUCH more oral than Denali ever was. (Typical boy!)

During the course of the past week, Sage has presented us with three of his baby teeth. Unlike Denali, who swallowed all of hers, Sage isn't interested in keeping his old teeth, now that he's got some nice Big Boy teeth coming in.

Here are our "momentos" to date:

Sage doesn't look to be following the order as far as loosing teeth. It looks like we've got some molars here, but he's still got three of the four baby cuspids (canines). I thought perhaps I might be able to get a baby canine tooth tooth if one was loose. I checked his mouth and saw that the left lower one was already gone, but the right one was still there. I decided to test it.

So for a bit I wrestled with Squirmy Puppy, who did NOT want me messing with his mouth, and hasn't yet figured out that I always win. It is definitely difficult to hold a wriggling puppy with one hand, while attempting to pry open his mouth with the other. 

But I did manage to check things out and take some progress photos of his teeth. Indeed, the incisors have already been replaced by new adult teeth. He's still got three of the canines and it appears that there are stubs where some of the adult pre-molars are in process of coming in. This explains why he's been so restless during this past week and not always interested in eating all of his food.

Some of the angles on these are odd. It is difficult taking photos with one hand and holding the mouth with the other. Unfortunately, even though I did rotate these to get a proper view, Blogger refuses to recognize the edits when the photos are uploaded.

See the little pink hole on the lower left side of his mouth 
where the lower canine tooth used to be!

This is an upside-down view of the new bottom incisors.

Beautiful chompers! 


Moe Rubenzahl, said...

Caption these photos: "Arg!!! Can I hav a nap now?"

Alden said...

I'm sorry, but the carpet picture is too funny. I'll send you my rug pictures tomorrow. I have about a square foot missing. I haven't found baby teeth yet, but adult teeth are growing in. Just wait for the rug fiber poops. I thought they were worms.

And to think of the money my parents paid to give me a bite like Sage's. ;-)

starrynights said...

LOL. Greta has two pink holes on her bottom jaw where her fangs fell out. I have not found any loose teeth lying arounf yet, though. She's either swallowing them or losing them outside.

Greta has always been really good with her "bite inhibition." She nibbles a lot, but rarely bites hard. She likes to gently "chew" my socks (while I am wearing them mind you...) in the evenings when I am watching TV...Silly Girl!

Elbeepem said...

Sounds like the nibbling runs in the family. Sage always greets me enthusiastically by nibbling on my right ear - it is like flea biting, he doesn't really use his teeth. These are his "kisses." Very cute!