It’s difficult to be on the sharp end of dog bite insurance claims. At the crux of the matter is the physiology of a pet’s mouth–the oral cavity of the canine, which is a pretty interesting thing to behold. Consider these interesting facts about our furry friends:
On average, the adult pooch has 42 permanent teeth, which is 10 more than the average human. Just like humans, dogs get two sets of chompers during their lives. Puppies have 28 baby teeth, all the better to steal your socks with. But in basic terms, all of these teeth are put to work for eating, grooming, defending themselves, and greeting others.
Fangs (also known as canine teeth) are used to grab and puncture; they are the “scary” teeth, with their long, curved gleaming surfaces leading to fear when dogs show their fangs. These teeth are used to grab and rip prey in the wild; dogs use their canine teeth to hold and carry objects in their mouths, to defend themselves with, and yes, to bite when scared or antagonized.
Incisors are perfect for more delicate nibbling bits of meat from bones, and also to groom (both the dog himself and other dogs–a greeting and bonding behavior that is also used to maintain pack order). They shear meat from the bone from prey animals.
Although dogs have long been domesticated, they still eat much like wolves do, by grabbing meat with their premolars and tearing it from the bone. Premolars come in handy for major chewing on things like rawhide, bones, chew sticks and toys, and the occasional shoe.
The teeth in the back are the molars, which do the heavy bone-crushing work. While wolves use them to crush things like deer or caribou bones, the average pooch uses them to crush a big dog biscuit. All 42 teeth are housed in a mouth and skull that is adapted incredibly well over time to address the needs of what is considered one of nature’s most perfectly designed scavenging animals.