Is My Kitten Teething?
What happens to her itty bitty fangs 🦷
Noticing tiny little fangs on your floor?
Chances are, your kitten is probably teething.
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Julian Rivera, a veterinarian at West Village Veterinary Hospital in New York City, to find out everything you need to know about kitten teething.
What is kitten teething?
Remember when you were kid and all your baby teeth fell out?
Well it’s like that, except it’s happening to your kitten.
“Teething is the process of losing teeth and growing in new ones,” Dr. Rivera told The Dodo.
So if your kitten is losing a bunch of teeth, it’s usually because her adult teeth are growing and pushing her baby teeth, or deciduous teeth, out of the way.
“Deciduous teeth are usually shed as the adult teeth emerge,” Dr. Rivera explained. “Kitten teeth have relatively longer and thinner roots than adult teeth, but are in general much smaller than their adult counterparts.”
When you can expect teething to start for your kitten
For a kitten, teething actually happens twice in her life.
The first time is when she’s just itty bitty — 2 to 3 weeks old — and her baby teeth start coming in (so unless you’re raising a litter of kittens from birth you’ll probably miss this stage).
The second teething stage starts when she’s around 11 or 12 weeks old — so just when most kittens are ready to be adopted out.
“This process is usually complete by approximately 6 months of age,” Dr. Rivera said.
So don’t be surprised if you’re finding those tiny teeth in your carpet for a couple months.
Is teething painful for your kitten?
According to Dr. Rivera, “painful” isn’t necessarily the right word.
“Teething may be uncomfortable, but is unlikely to be overtly painful unless there is a health concern,” he explained.
(If your kitten is in serious pain while teething, make sure you reach out to a vet!)
But being the overprotective pet parent you are, you probably want to do anything you can to take even the mildest discomfort away from your little fluff ball.
But this is one of those things that your kitten just has to go through.
“This is a natural process that needs to take its course,” Dr. Rivera said.
According to Dr. Rivera, it’s not typically necessary to switch up your kitten’s food or treats while she’s teething.
But if you’re still dying to help your BFF, make sure you’re giving her plenty of toys to chomp on. Just make sure you won’t be heartbroken if they’re chewed to death.
“Allowing for lots of toys that are able to be gnawed on and destroyed is helpful,” Dr. Rivera said.
You might even find that you end up becoming one of your kitten’s go-to chew toys.
“Patience is critical at this point as kittens may choose to direct chewing behavior onto owners,” Dr. Rivera said. “This is an excellent time to train them out of biting behaviors directed at people.”
Things to watch out for during kitten teething
If your kitten seems like she’s really hurting — beyond some standard discomfort — that’s definitely not normal for teething.
“If you note that your kitten appears [to be in pain] or is having difficulty eating, [she] should be evaluated by your family veterinarian,” Dr. Rivera said.
Other signs of abnormal teething include things like:
- Adult teeth not emerging
- Adult teeth emerging in the wrong places
- Malformed adult teeth
- Baby teeth falling out at the wrong time
“[These are] abnormal and can cause discomfort and dental disease in the future,” Dr. Rivera explained.
Plus, if there are issues with your kitten’s baby teeth, they could end up messing with her adult teeth, too.
“Having adult teeth and baby teeth on top of each other can cause calculus (tartar) build up and damage to the adult tooth,” Dr. Rivera said. “[It could also] damage the surrounding gingiva (gums) and even cause disease in the jaw itself.”
If you’re noticing any of these things during your kitten’s teething phase, you should definitely call your vet ASAP.
You should also hit up your vet if your kitten hasn’t been successfully teething, even after the 6-month mark has come and gone.“We recommend that if adult teeth have not emerged by about six months of age, or if deciduous (baby) teeth have not fallen out by this time, an animal should be seen by a veterinarian for intra-oral radiographs (dental X-rays) and possible extractions,” Dr. Rivera explained.
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