Puppy Tips - Teething
Updated: Jul 26, 2022
Did you know, puppy's will lose all their puppy teeth? Many first time puppy owners don't!
Read on for tips and tricks to get through puppy teething.
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Puppies begin to lose those sharp needle teeth around 12 weeks and their adult teeth are fully in by 6 months. During that time, they often bite and chew more. This is a time many people begin to get frustrated with their new puppy. For some, they have had their puppy a couple weeks, things have been going great and now the puppy is a hellion. Others just brought their puppy home and are already at their wits end. It gets better, I promise.
How to help? Offer your puppy plenty of appropriate chews and toys. Rubber toys seems to be a particular favorite for most puppies (mine included). Puppy teeth are not as strong as the adult teeth, softer chews are important. Offer frozen treats: carrots, celery, small ice cubes, damp washcloth, frozen Kong with puppy safe fillings. The cold is soothing. If they will let you, massage their swollen gums.
Bonus tip: Frozen Kongs are a great to keep adult dogs busy too!
Crate your puppy when you are not able to watch them this will keep them out of trouble! Crating is also great for helping with potty training. Don't think of the crate as a "cage". It is a safe, calm place for your puppy. Just like a pack and play for a toddler!
Keep items up and out of the puppy’s reach. They can, and will, try and chew on anything they can get their mouth on. If they get a hold of something, encourage them to bring it to you and trade for a more appropriate item. For items that you can’t put out of reach, bitter apple or a vinegar spray on the item can be a great deterrent.
Cords tend to be a favorite (it's the rubber). This can be a particularly dangerous, and expensive chew toy. Keeping cords tucked away or blocked will save you a lot of heartache.
Another great chew option to keep your puppy's mouth off inappropriate things, are these teething rings. They have a unique shape designed specifically to massage those sore gums. And they are edible!
Teething puppies are particularly bad about biting. *Usually* once the adult teeth are in, the biting goes away. When playing, encourage the puppy to bite toys, not you. A loud yip or no to startle the puppy and redirect them to something appropriate. If they are persistent, a short time-out in the crate can do wonders. It can help them calm down and gives you a break. Apart from teething, some puppies will become extra mouthy when they are tired and need a nap. Crating will also help them realize it's time to sleep for a bit!
You may or may not find any of the teeth. They get eaten by accident, lost outside or
vacuumed up. Don’t worry if you can’t find them! Some bleeding is to be expected for most puppies. Just like when kids lose baby teeth.
Something to watch for, particularly in small breeds, is double canines. This happens when the adult canine comes in, but the baby one does not fall out. It is vital that baby tooth comes out. If it doesn't, a vet will have to remove it. Typically a good game of tug will loosen it right up.
*Never pull out the puppy's tooth. It will come out when it is ready. Pulling out the tooth before it is ready risks breaking the tooth, requiring surgery to remove the remaining portion. A game of tug just helps loosen it to get there. If you are concerned, talk to your veterinarian.*
One last thing to keep in mind, if your puppy is particularly ornery or cranky they may be in pain. Check their gums, if they are red and swollen cut them a little slack (that doesn’t mean they get a free pass! Just patience and empathy). Think of how you feel if you have a toothache? It sucks!
All the things I suggest work with most puppies. But one size does not fit all. If you are still having issues, reach out and I can help you problem solve and find a solution that works.
Disclaimer: The above are based off my own opinions and experience and should be treated as such. I am not a licensed groomer, nutritionist or veterinarian.