Just as it is for human babies, puppy teething can be a painful and challenging process for both the puppy and the caregiver.
Puppy teething is a natural part of a dog’s transition to adulthood and happens when puppy teeth are replaced with adult teeth. The discomfort associated with teething can lead your puppy to chew on anything in sight, which can result in a lot of frustration on the part of the owner without setting your puppy and home up for success.
What are the symptoms of teething in a puppy?
It is natural for a teething puppy to drool more than usual. You may also notice small spots of blood on your puppy’s toys as the new teeth break through the gums.
The most obvious sign, though, is that your puppy will want to chew on anything and everything. Puppies get about 10 more adult teeth than people do in only a few month’s time, so there can be quite a bit of discomfort all at once.
At what age does a puppy start teething?
Puppies usually start teething when they are about three months old. (4) You will probably find tiny rice-sized teeth around your house as they fall out.
How long does puppy teething last?
Your puppy should have lost all her puppy teeth by about six months old. (3) Any remaining puppy teeth after this time may need to be removed, so be sure to let your veterinarian know if any haven’t fallen out after 6 months of age.
Puppy Teething Tips
Puppy-proofing your home should be your first line of defense when it comes to keeping your teething puppy and your possessions safe. You will want to move or block off anything on the ground that your puppy might chew
Some things your puppy is likely to go after include:
- Children’s toys and stuffed animals
Some small adjustments in your home and lifestyle can go a long way in preventing your puppy from damaging household items or hurting himself while trying to ease the discomfort of teething.
- Make sure your puppy is supervised when allowed to roam freely so that potentially dangerous items can be taken away.
- Use baby gates (or gates made for dogs) to block off areas of the house that have a lot of things your puppy might chew.
- Have a variety of chew toys available to your puppy from the first day you bring her home. If you allow her to play with your kids’ toys or other objects, it will be even harder to keep her from chewing on household things when she’s teething.
- Prioritize good nutrition to help keep your puppy’s teeth (and the incoming new adult teeth) healthy and strong.
- Fill treat toys with water and freeze them, if you’re able, to give some extra relief. You can also freeze large carrots and give them to your puppy, but be sure that your puppy is always supervised with these to avoid choking.
- Check your puppy’s mouth regularly. This practice will get her used to you touching her mouth, which will help your dog tolerate having her teeth brushed while allowing you to check for teeth that haven’t fallen out by 6 months.
Best Puppy Teething Toys
All dog toys are not created equal. Look for chew toys that are especially made for puppies, since their teeth aren’t as strong and are more susceptible to fracture.
Toys made specifically for puppies are also the right size to get into the parts of their mouths that may be uncomfortable, so your puppy is more likely to enjoy these types of chew toys and avoid the things that he is not supposed to chew on.
There are a lot of puppy toys out there, but here are some great ones to check out:
- Puppy Kong: This dog toy staple is great for keeping your puppy busy, as its shape can make it bounce in unexpected directions. It is also a fillable, so treats or frozen water inside can make it more enjoyable.
- Nylabone Puppy Chew Dental Dyno: This flavored toy has the added benefit of cleaning your puppy’s teeth while she chews.
- NWK Freezable Pet Teether Cooling Chew Toy: This freezable toy has water inside, and reviewers report it stands up to aggressive chewing.
- Mammoth Flossy Chews: Rope toys like these are flexible as your dog chews and also tend to get between teeth to keep them clean. Rope toys also have the added benefit of being perfect for tug of war games, which provide comforting pressure to your puppy’s mouth along with some play and bonding time.
Make sure to supervise your puppy with any new toy until you are sure that he can’t break it and possibly choke. You will also want to check your puppy’s toys often for cracks or tears and get rid of toys that are broken to minimize choking risk.
What NOT to Do With a Teething Puppy
It’s important to remember that puppies are babies and are still learning about the world around them. So, especially when teething, puppies require a little more careful attention to some things that you will want to avoid.
- Don’t leave your puppy alone with a new toy.
- Don’t allow your puppy to play with toys that are cracked or torn.
- Don’t overdo it with the treat toys. Too many treats can lead to unhealthy teeth and weight.
- Don’t give puppies bones or food scraps to chew on. These can be a choking and nutrition hazard.
- Don’t hesitate to call your vet if you feel that anything is abnormal.
- Don’t be afraid to put your puppy in her crate for short periods of time when you are unable to supervise closely. This can help prevent her from getting into something dangerous or choking.
- Don’t expect perfection. Puppies are just learning, and even the best-trained ones will make mistakes every once in a while.
Thankfully, the teething period for a puppy is much shorter than it is for a human baby! With these tips, you’ll have the right expectations and preparation to minimize the challenges of puppy teething!
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- Donovan, L. (2015). Puppy Teething and Nipping: A Survival Guide. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-teething-and-nipping/
- Negron, V. (2014). 3 Puppy Teething Tips that Will Save Your Stuff. Retreived from https://www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/slideshows/puppy-teething-tips-to-save-stuff?view_all=1
- Notis, D. (2019). The Best Things for Teething Puppies, According to Dog Dentists and Trainers. Retrieved from https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-things-for-teething-puppies.html.
- Sullivan, C. (2020). 12 Puppy Teething Toys that are Basically Indestructible. Retrieved from https://www.womansday.com/life/pet-care/g31211959/puppy-teething-toys/