Telling the age of an "Adult Dog" from it's permanent teeth that have replaced the baby teeth is not, I repeat "IS NOT" that easy to do. People doing so in Animal Shelters, even Veterinarians are often attempting the next to impossible. They can easily be out by 2 or more years in age. The dog could be a lot younger or a lot older. A LOT!!!

The reasons are many, Incorrect Bite (thus incorrect wear pattern of the teeth).

Hereditary/Congenital Type Of Breed the dog is, (some breeds are known for bad teeth and early onset of Periodontal Disease and Tooth Decay).

The Diet the dog has consumed for the majority of it's life, (feeding only dry, crunchy, "GOOD QUALITY" dog food is far superior for keeping a dogs teeth and gums in good shape). Soft dog food or Human Food is one of the main destroyers of good teeth/gums in a dog).

What it Chews On, (rawhide chew bones, dog dental bones, dogs chew toys/treats which are excellent for keeping a dogs teeth/gums clean), But sadly, even sometimes rocks, hard wood, their own dishes, etc. which can happen out of boredom and no available chew bones and/or lack of good old outside EXERCISE to relieve Boredom can cause aberrant chewing on unhealthy objects). Or nothing at all? The dog makes no attempt to chew on anything for relaxation or enjoyment! It all comes into play when attempting to read a dogs age from it's teeth.

Tooth and Gum disease, and/or Tartar Build-up can happen on any dog, depending on it's bite, it's breed, what it is fed, what it chews on, etc. and should not be used to determine age.

The reasons are many and I have only listed the main ones here above.

The best bite in a dog is called a "Scissors Bite" in which the Upper Incisors just overlap and touch the bottom Incisors. In an "Even or Level Bite" the top and bottom Incisors meet edge to edge. Although this is common, it is not an ideal bite as it causes wear to the teeth. Then of course, an "Undershot Jaw" or an "Overshot Jaw" seen in some Breeds is a wreck waiting to happen in consistent/normal wear of a dogs teeth in order to read that type of dogs teeth accurately. Such teeth simply cannot be read accurately by anyone in an Animal Shelter or even a Veterinarian. Not going to Happen!!!

The following display of dogs teeth is accurate in exact age of the dog as the birthdates are all known. And also accurate in the fact , only dogs with good "Scissors Bites" were used for this document. And still, IT CAN BE MISLEADING.......................... Explanations are shown for each dental display as to why people reading a dogs teeth to determine age can be greatly mislead................................

One Year Old.
Sharp points are still well defined on all 6 lower Incisors.

2 and 1/2 years old.
Points should be worn far more flat on center four of the six lower Incisors. They are not.
This dog could easily be judged a year younger by the best of people.

3 and 1/2 years old.
These teeth could easily be read that this dog is only 1 and 1/2 years old. That is 2 years younger than she really is!!!

6 and 1/2 years old.
Although now evidence of Tartar build-up on teeth, especially the canines, by now all points should be worn flat on the 6 lower Incisors before this age. They are not. The left number two Incisor has a chip out of it. This dog could easily be judged two years younger than she is.

Not yet a full 10 years old
Whoa!!! Easily judged as far older than 10 years old. Periodontal Disease and Tooth Decay is evident as is the loss of teeth. Although the points worn flat (Rounded Off) on both upper and lower Incisors says should be around 10 years old, such bad teeth/gums as this is often judged as the dog being far older. This dog has been fed a diet of "Soft Food" her entire life. She also has refused to ever chew on dog treats or bones to help keep her Teeth and Gums in good shape. This dog could easily be judged as 14 plus years old.

13 years old.
This dogs teeth point to far older. Some Gum Disease evident. For 13 years old and never having had her teeth cleaned, she has little Tartar build-up on her "MOLARS" which cannot be seen in this picture. She has always since young, rubbed and jiggled her teeth up and down on her front paws thus wearing off the enamel. It is believed that coupled with her breed type and her Neurosis of although not harming her paws but after them continually is the reason for her teeth being worn down to the gum line. Again, would be judged as Far Older than she really is.

17 years old. Easily miss read as young as 12 to 14 years old by many!!! Very little tartar build-up for that age when never having had his teeth cleaned. Not missing any teeth and no evidence of very severe gum disease. Fed dry, crunchy dog food his whole life! Always chewed on healthy type dog chews and bones which helped keep his teeth and gums in excellent shape for his age. NOTE: Swollen gum between lower right side 2nd and 3rd Incisors is from having a splinter of bone caught in there a few days before this photo was taken.


This document took extensive research for many weeks and many pictures to make for you. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you from

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