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Five top teething puppy tips: Keep their teeth tip-top

teething puppy tips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking for teething puppy tips? You’ve come to the right place. While raising a puppy is fun and rewarding, you'll need to be prepared for their teething phase, which is where this article will hopefully come in handy. 

Nipping, mouthing, and biting are all perfectly normal behavior for puppies. However, it’s knowing what to do in these situations that is the key. You'll want to stop these behaviors from developing into something that will become a lot trickier to fix further down the line. Read on for some helpful teething puppy tips...

What is a puppy’s teething phase?

All dogs go through a teething phase when they are young. It’s during this time that puppies outgrow their 28 tiny yet razor-sharp baby teeth, which are then replaced with more permanent, adult teeth – just like us! 

Teething can be incredibly painful for your pooch, and their gums will become very sore and sensitive. You may notice that your pup is drooling a lot more than usual or find small spots of blood on their puppy toys, but if you notice anything else, it’s important to seek medical advice immediately. 

Exactly when teething takes place is heavily dependent on the breed. Regardless of when it happens, the effects of teething are still the same and can be equally as destructive if it doesn’t get nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

The timeline of teething pups

As previously mentioned, there are a number of factors (including their breed) that make the accuracy of a puppy teething timeline differ. However, below is a general outline of this teething phase.

  • Week eight: By the time you are allowed to bring your new puppy home, they would have all of their baby teeth (these can start coming through between the second and fourth week of life). 
  • Weeks 12 to 16: During this time, their baby teeth will have begun falling out.
  • Six months: By this point, all of your puppy’s baby teeth should have come out, ready to be replaced with approximately 42 adult teeth. 

According to Dr Jerry Klein, AKC Chief Veterinary Officer, “You may find puppy teeth on the floor, although the puppy is likely to swallow most of the teeth. If you find that some don’t fall out, be sure to tell your veterinarian. They may need to be removed by a veterinary professional.”

What to do to help a nipping and biting puppy

There are a number of reasons why puppies can nip or bite. Teething could be causing them pain, or they could simply be trying to play with you. It may be cute or even endearing now, but it'll be less so when they're fully grown adults. Here are a few tips for how to approach this:

Notice the difference
Dogs mouthing is often how they play together, but regardless, stay vigilant. A playful nibble can easily turn into a bite.

React
Don't ignore biting; doing so may give puppies the impression that it's an acceptable form of behavior. Instead, treat it as an opportunity to impart some training. As soon as they nip your hand, end playtime in a calm but firm manner, and walk away. This will teach them that nipping means the fun being over. 

One other method is to let out a clear, high-pitched “OW” if they bite you, followed by a reward for backing away (avoid this  if it causes your dog to become  worked up, excitable, or highly distressed). 

Distract
If the above methods don't work, redirect their attention to something else. If they’re feeling playful, give them a chew toy, or go outside for a walk. Alternatively, use this time to teach them new commands like ‘leave it’ or ‘let go’.

teething puppy tips

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to stop puppies from chewing everything

Getting your puppy to stop chewing everything all depends on the owner’s training method, as well as what the dog responds to the most. 

Some owners have had success with rubber chew toys (hard chew toys can damage their teeth), such as those made by KONG or other safe, reputable brands, which can also be put in the freezer, since the cold is thought to help soothe their gums. Others have discovered that teaching their puppies through reward-based training that chewing on their chew toys is a good thing, has worked wonders, and eventually helped them to stop wrapping their little teeth around the household items. 

Whatever you choose to try, be sure to always supervise your puppy during playtime as no chew toy is 100% safe for every puppy or dog to be left alone with. Chew toys should also be checked regularly to ensure they aren’t falling apart-  your pooch shouldn’t be able to bite chunks off of them or be able to remove any fibers or stuffing, which could be extremely hazardous if ingested. 

Despite dogs commonly chasing after and carrying sticks, these can also be a danger to puppies who often like to chew on them, so try not to encourage this behavior.

Caring for their teeth

When all of your puppy’s adult teeth have grown, you’ll want to ensure they remain clean and healthy. That’s why it’s important that you help them get used to having their mouth and teeth touched. 

There are a number of dog-friendly toothbrushes and toothpastes available to buy, but if you’re unsure which one would be right for your canine, get in touch with your vet. You should never use human toothpaste, as it could make them ill.

Even though your puppy may no longer be teething by this point, dogs will always love to chew. Keep giving your dog suitable chew toys and edible chews will continue to satisfy their natural behavior, keep their teeth clean, and protect you and your non-chewable household items! 

Chloe Petrylak

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than eight years experience in media. With a passion for creating content all about wildlife and the environment, she can be found at www.chloemaywrites.com or @ChloeMayWrites on social media.