Accessibility View Close toolbar

How to Tell A Pet's Age from Its Teeth

How to Tell Your Pet's Age From Its Teeth

Do you know your pet's age? If you adopted your furry friend, his or her age may be a mystery. Fortunately, a quick look in your pet's mouth can help you narrow down a general age range.

Puppies and Kittens

Incisors, the pointed teeth used to tear food into bite-size pieces, usually appear at two to four weeks of age for cats and four to six weeks for dogs. These teeth are only temporary and will be replaced with permanent incisors very soon. At three to four weeks, baby canine teeth appear in both dogs and cats. Canines are the fang-like teeth that appear in the top of the mouth. At four to six weeks, baby incisors and premolars will appear in dogs, and baby premolars will appear in cats. Premolars are located at the back of the upper and lower mouth and are used to grind food.

By the time your puppy or kitten is just two months old, all of his or her baby teeth will have erupted. During the next 10 months, the baby teeth will gradually be replaced with permanent incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Don't be surprised if you find some of these baby teeth around your home. At age one, most puppies and kittens have white teeth with no signs of wear.

Adult Dogs and Cats

From age one to two, your cat or dog may begin to look a little yellow, and tartar may appear. Plaque turns into tartar, a hard brown deposit, when it remains on the teeth too long. Daily tooth brushing reduces plaque and prevents it from becoming tartar. Regular dental cleanings at the veterinarian's office will rid your pet's mouth of both plaque and tartar and reduce the risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.

Tartar may continue to build up during the next several years, and you may notice that your pet's teeth have begun to show a little wear. Wear and gum disease are more common when your dog or cat is between the ages of five and 10. Elderly pets may eventually lose teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease, and their teeth may show considerable wear.

Determining age by the condition of the teeth isn't an exact science. Some breeds - like pugs, Yorkshire terriers, greyhounds, poodles and Maltese dogs - are more likely to experience dental disease or may lose baby teeth later than normal.

Other Ways to Estimate Your Pet's Age

If you're not quite sure of your pet's age, paying attention to a few other signs may improve your estimate, such as:

  • Coat Color. Just like people, some pets turn gray as they age. Some dogs or cats may become gray as young as five years old, depending on the breed, while others will only have a few gray hairs at age 10 or older.
  • Physical Condition. Older dogs and cats are more likely to develop arthritis in their hips and legs as they get older. Although arthritis can also occur in younger pets, your cat or dog may be more likely to be a senior citizen if he or she walks stiffly (particularly first thing in the morning), limps, has difficulty jumping or managing stairs, no longer likes being touched or becomes tired easily.
  • Mental Function. Your pet's behavior may change if he or she develops dementia as a part of aging. Common symptoms include disorientation, a change in normal sleep/wake times, housetraining accidents, personality changes and increased fatigue.
  • Eye Changes. When your pet is middle-aged or older, you may notice that his or pupils are covered by a blue haze. The condition, called lenticular sclerosis, doesn't require treatment and doesn't interfere with your pet's vision. Age may also be a factor in cataracts, which occur when the lens in the center of the eye becomes clouded. Cataracts do interfere with vision and can be removed if they cause significant problems.

No matter what your pet's age, regular veterinary examinations are the key to ensuring your furry friend's good health. If it's time for pet's annual visit, or you're concerned about a health issue, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

PetMD: How Old Is My Dog? 5 Tips for Determining Your Dog’s Age

https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/how-old-my-dog-5-tips-determining-your-dogs-age

Animal Sheltering Magazine: How to Determine a Cat’s or Dog’s Age

https://www.animalsheltering.org/magazine/articles/determine-age

VetStreet: How Vets Determine a Puppy or Kitten’s Age, 9/14,16

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-vets-determine-a-puppy-or-kittens-age

Monday:

8:30 am-8:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

8:45 am-2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Feedback from our clients

  • "Words can not begin to express our gratitude for the care you had given Hunter over the years. When his time came, he watched for you to come through the door and his tail showed his affection towards you. That was most comforting having you there. Thank you.""
    ~R.H
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Maggie over the years. Y'all are the best and Dr. Johnson, you are the best vet in the world! God bless you all.""
    ~ J.D.
  • ""Your care for my beloved Mattie these last 10n years made her life, and mine much better….God bless each of you for all you did for us and I'm sure for all your other two and four legged patients.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""Thank you for saving my life." ~T.C."
    ~T.C.
  • ""I can not express how grateful I am for you and your staff… I appreciate everything you did in Beckham's treatment. He was so lucky to have such a wonderful doctor on his side. Thank you for all you do for the benefit of all our beloved pets.""
    ~L.B.
  • ""Dr. Johnson - There are no words that can truly capture your kindness.""
    ~G.B.
  • ""Thank you for the great care you took of Taco and the rest of our family. He is doing great now! He is enjoying running and playing with all four legs again.""
    ~W.C
  • ""People who avail themselves of your services at the clinic certainly are blessed to have such a caring staff....bless you and your devoted staff.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""A sincere thank you for taking such good care of Dulce. We are so thrilled that she is back to her normal self. You gave her the support and care she needed in her darkest hours and kept us confident in her recovery.""
  • ""Just to say how much we appreciate all of you. You all are wonderful people. We feel blessed to have our beloved furry children in your care when they need it. Your professional knowledge and your acts of kindness have a beautiful act all it's own. You are a great vet, compassionate and everything good all in one. You are in our daily prayers.""
    ~T.F.
  • ""Thank you and all of your staff for the excellent care you gave to my wonderful Abbey, who was so much a part of the family. Thank you for all the advice and support you gave to me these last few months. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without your constant support. I will, and I have highly recommended you to family and friends, as I feel you are the best!""
    ~P.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking care of my kitty, Slingshot. He is feeling better and better. My Paw-Paw said that you took extra special care of him and I really appreciate it. So, thank you again for taking care of my cat.""
    ~T.B. (age 6)
  • ""Dr. Johnson, I don't know why you decided to move here from your home in New Jersey, but I absolutely believe it was so you could help me and Mickey. I know coming to someone's home is not what a typical veterinarian would do, but you are obviously an extraordinary man in a world filled with ordinary men….On top of that, your sensitive and wonderful handwritten note arrived and touched my heart…You are one of those quiet, unheralded champions who make life easier for everyone you touch.""
    ~C.W.
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Lola when she had her reaction, and your office was already closed. I know you took time away from yourself and your family and I really appreciate it.""
    ~R.M.
  • ""Thank you for giving me more time with my best friend. We are all so grateful.""
    ~A.M.
  • ""Thank you for all of your support for Maxine during her illness. All was very much appreciated and will always be remembered. I have related to all my friends of what a great doctor and staff at Birdneck Animal Hospital.""
    ~O.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking such good care of me over the last 4 years. I am doing well and both legs and feet feel great. You sis an awesome job on me Dr. Johnson, and I'm gonna have a great year this year and I hope to see you only for my check up. You guys are the best!""
    ~Budkus
  • "We can't thank you enough for the wonderful and loving care you gave to"Budkus" while he was in your care. He was so little and so sick and we were so scared for him. Each and every one of the staff members made us feel like we had the only dog in the world. Like nothing else mattered except getting "Budkus" well again. Our deepest gratitude to all of you for the excellent care and attention we received, for your encouragement, comfort, and understanding, and most importantly for saving his life! Thank you so much.""
    ~ J.,B.,C.