What You Need to Know About Puppy Teething
Plus the best toys for those tiny shark teeth 🦈😬
Is your puppy teething? You’ll probably know by the new bite marks on the legs of your kitchen table — or on your arms.
The teething process is painful and can cause your puppy to chew and gnaw on whatever will stop her teeth from hurting — and while you can’t really blame her, you can help her.
While it’s impossible to skip right over the teething process, there are ways to help to ease your puppy’s pain and save your furniture.
At what age do puppies start teething?
“Although the books will say teething can occur somewhere between 12 to 20 weeks of age, as it turns out, there is a lot of variability between breeds,” Dr. Donnell Hansen, a veterinarian specializing in dentistry and oral surgery at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, told The Dodo.
According to Dr. Hansen, puppies may not even get their teeth in until much later. “So, we tend not to get too worried about exactly WHEN each tooth erupts, but we like to be sure the general trend is that all the teeth are appearing around 4-6 months of age,” Dr. Hansen said.
“The incisors come in first, then the canine teeth, and finally the molars and premolars,” Dr. Jessica Romine, a veterinarian at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, told The Dodo.
And make sure to check on your puppy’s teething progress to make sure everything looks like they’re coming in right — and that no baby teeth are still hanging around.
“Perhaps most important about teething is to seek care if you ever see a fractured tooth, discolored tooth, or teeth hitting the wrong place (like growing in on top of each other or sticking out in weird ways),” Dr. Hansen advises.
What are the symptoms of puppy teething?
When your puppy’s adult teeth first start coming in, you might notice some tell-tale signs:
- Finding spots of blood on toys
- Tiny teeth on your floor or in your bed!
- Chewing (like … LOTS of chewing)
“Just like in humans, puppies will often feel more comfortable when chewing as they are teething, and chewing is also a way they explore and learn about their environment,” Dr. Romine said.
The downside? This constant chewing can include everything from your shoes, to remote controls, to couch cushions and even your hand.
While you don’t want to make your puppy feel bad — she’s in a lot of pain, after all! — you still want to keep your household (and yourself!) intact.
The best thing you can do is provide your puppy with plenty of safe, chewable options throughout your house — and when you see her chewing on something that she shouldn’t, simply replace the item with one of her approved toys.
What are the best toys to help puppy teething?
According to Dr. Romine, “giving rubber dog toys and different textures and shapes can help.”
Some favorites include:
“Some puppies also like cold things just like a human baby, so cold carrots, frozen fruit or puppy Kongs with peanut butter [can work],” Dr. Romine recommends.
Bonus? Find a toy that you can douse in water and freeze (or ones specifically made for these purposes), as the cold will help soothe your pup’s sore gums — like a rope! (Always supervise your dog with a rope toy since she can end up eating it.)
What are toys to avoid during teething?
According to Dr. Romine, there are toys you should stay away from during teething.
“Avoid anything harder than a tooth itself (so things like antlers, bones, etc) as this can lead to tooth chipping and fracturing,” Dr. Romine advises. “Some people may mention frozen dishrags like for babies, but I would be careful there because it will thaw and may be tempting to a puppy to tear up and swallow!”
After around 6 to 8 months, your puppy should have all of her 42 adult teeth and the puppy teething phase will — thankfully — be over.
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