Get help for your teething puppy right here. It's something that ALL puppies have to go through, but these practical tips & advice will get you through this challenging period unscathed!
Puppies usually have all of their 'baby' (aka 'deciduous' or 'milk' teeth) in place by the time they're approximately 8 weeks old.
They only have a full set of these tiny, razor-sharp teeth for about a month, after that they will begin to get loose and fall out, making way for adult teeth to take their place.
You'll most likely start to see this happening somewhere around the 12 - 14 week mark.
Sometimes a drop or smear of blood on a toy or bone is the first sign that you have a teething puppy. Other times you might find a tiny tooth embedded in a favorite toy, on the floor, or even in his food bowl.
There's no need to worry about this, it's perfectly normal :)
There are several months of your puppy's development where he's losing his baby teeth and growing in the adult ones. This is called the 'teething' phase. Just like with human babies.
Other than a little bleeding, or the occasional 'lost-and-found' tooth, the most noticeable sign that your puppy is teething is his increased compulsion to chew on everything he can find.
The pressure that chewing puts on his gums helps to make them feel
better, and it also encourages the baby teeth to fall out and leave room
for the adult ones to grow in.
This all means that chewing plays an important role in your pup's dental development. If you're interested in finding out more about your puppy's baby teeth, adult teeth, tooth identification and lots more, just click on the banner image below.....
We all know that a teething baby can be uncomfortable and cranky, and that soothing her gums and giving her the right kind of 'teething toys' can help make her feel better.
But did you know that it works in pretty much
the same way for puppies?
Now not ALL puppies get upset or distressed when they're teething. Some will find this stage painful, but most of these seem to be uncomfortable more than in real pain - although the occasional pup may whimper or seem to be actually hurting.
But many puppies have few
real problems.... and some seem totally oblivious! You don't need to do
anything to 'help' the loose or wobbly puppy teeth to come out, so don't
fiddle with them.
What you can do to help (and should do) is make sure your puppy has plenty of safe, sturdy chew toys to play with. These will help soothe his sore gums, satisfy his urge to chew, and help protect your furniture, shoes and home from his determined chewing efforts.
Of course, puppies are perfectly happy to chew anything that comes anywhere near their mouths, and often the forbidden items seem oh, so much more interesting than the ones in his toy box.
So, during these months you're going to need to be extra vigilant about discouraging 'inappropriate' chewing habits or you could find that your home furnishings will take a beating!
Although they will come through the puppy teething stage eventually - even without any assistance from their owners - most will benefit from a little extra puppy teething help.
Plus, if you want your home, furniture, hands, clothes (etc.) to be more or less intact at the end of this phase, you're going to need to be a little pro-active.
There are two main approaches to handling a teething puppy. The first is to give him the toys, treats and remedies he needs to soothe his gums and satisfy his urgent desire to chew and gnaw.
The second is to discourage him from sharpening his little teeth (or soothing his gums) on you or your possessions.
So, let's take a closer look at both of these areas......
There are all sorts of dog toys that have been especially designed to help with puppy teething, and can give him the satisfaction of some heavy-duty chewing and soothe his gums at the same time.
These include sturdy, durable rubber chew toys (Kong puppy teething toys are some of the most popular ones in this category); interesting multi-surface toys which combine fabric/s, rubber and even rope materials; flexible nylon/thermoplastic polymer toys in a huge variety of shapes and sizes (Nylabone puppy teething toys)and even 'edible' toys such as the popular Nylabone DuraChew and HealthyEdibles bones.
Some of these toys are specifically designed to be frozen or even refrigerated, and maintain that coolness for a period of time... the cold helps reduce swelling and inflammation in your puppy's little gums and also help to deaden the discomfort or pain.
Some of the fabric toys can be soaked in water and then frozen, others can be stuffed with peanut butter or a special tasty, 'treat-paste' and then frozen. Either way they make a great option.
Also any toys that provides a firm but flexible surface to chew on can help. Natural bones or antlers can be good - but watch your pup to make sure he's not biting or chewing TOO energetically on them. You don't want him to actually break those little teeth!
If you don't have any special puppy teething toys yet, or you want to try something different for a change, you can improvise with ice-cubes, or an old washcloth that's been soaked in water, wrung-out tightly and then frozen.
These are short-term solutions though. Ice cubes melt (very fast!) and can be messy, so keep them in the kitchen or at least off the carpets. Most dogs and puppies do LOVE these though and they provide excellent, if short-lived, play value.
A frozen wash-cloth 'un-freezes' very quickly, and those sharp little puppy teeth can destroy it almost as fast, so keep an eye on your pup if you try this - and take away the cloth before he starts to rip (or eat) it.
To learn more about the best toys for teething puppies, and find out which ones to avoid, check out my Puppy Teething Toys page.
As well as toys specifically designed for teething puppies, there are some treats that are also tailor-made for pups who have sore gums and a desperate urge to chew.
There's a the 'N-Bone' edible chew-toys including a ring, sticks, and chews. Nylabone also offer a range of toys that are also treats... including crunchy 'bones', rawhide treats, and long-lasting chews.
There are also assorted dental chew sticks, teething biscuits and more. Natural chew toys such as bully sticks can also help a teething puppy.
Once you've used the pre-packaged 'mix' that's provided you can buy refill mixes in a variety of flavors, or create your own if you're feeling inspired.
Then there are frozen smoothie treats from a number of different manufaturers. These don't have any play-value, but dogs and puppies love them and the coolness gives those hot little gums a bit of a break.
By now it's perfectly clear that a teething puppy just HAS to chew on stuff.. he literally can't help himself!
Making sure he has plenty of sturdy teething toys is the first step to dealing with this, but it's also important to be very consistent about discouraging him from chewing or biting on things that he shouldn't... and then re-directing his attention back to his own belongings.
All puppies nip, bite and chew, it's a normal puppy behavior. It seems to escalate during the teething stage, eventually slowing down and eventually disappearing as the pup becomes an adult dog - but there's a big 'IF' here, and that is.....
IF YOU WORK ON SHOWING YOUR PUPPY THAT NIPPING/BITING PEOPLE, AND CHEWING ON FURNITURE, CLOTHES ETC. IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!
Adolescent pups and adult dogs naturally bite, nip and chew less than puppies do, but unless they've been clearly shown that it's not okay to do these things, they will still do them - whenever they feel like it.
When it comes to the nipping and biting it can be serious, because this behavior can develop to become a way of expressing dominance, and an untrained dog will use it as a way to control people, or other dogs.
This can eventually lead to a dog who is bossy, unmanageable and even dangerous. So, it's very important to make it clear to your puppy that biting and nipping is not something that's going to be tolerated.
Because it's a natural and instinctive habit, nipping can be difficult to break especially in some very 'mouthy' breeds. But there ARE very effective methods and techniques that you can use to stop puppy biting, and I'd strongly recommend checking them out.
Chewing is another thing that all puppies do, although admittedly some are more vigorous, and stubborn, about it than others.
Although this won't lead to you having a pup who is dominant or at risk of biting someone, it WILL cause considerable destruction to your home if you don't deal with it early on.Regular consistent corrections will work wonders, but you will need to be patient.
Products such as Grannick's Bitter Apple Spray can also be a BIG help.