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Five top teething puppy tips: How to keep their canines healthy

teething puppy tips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking for teething puppy tips then you’ve come to the right place. Raising a puppy can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it pays to be prepared for their troublesome teething phase, which is why our top teething puppy tips might be just the thing you’re looking for. 

Just like human babies, dogs also go through a teething phase, in which chewing, nipping, mouthing, and biting are all perfectly normal behaviors. However, it’s knowing what to do in these situations that will stop these behaviors from getting out of hand and developing into something that will become a lot trickier (and potentially costly) to fix later on down the line. 

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

Puppies may nip and bite for many reasons. They might be experiencing pain because they are teething or may simply be trying to play with you. While this might seem cute now, it may not be so much fun when they’re fully grown and have lots of adult teeth. Here’s a few suggestions as to what to do:

Notice the difference
Mouthing is how dogs play with one another, but it’s important to remain vigilant in order to spot when a playful nibble turns into a bite.

React
You can’t ignore a bite as this will give puppies the impression that it's acceptable behavior. Instead, use it as a form of training. As soon as they nip your hand, end playtime in a calm manner and walk away, as this will teach them that nipping results in the fun being over. Alternatively, you could try teaching them with a clear, high-pitched “OW” if they bite you followed by a reward for backing away (avoid this method if it causes your dog to become more worked up, excitable, or highly distressed). 

Distract
If all else fails and your puppy refuses to stop biting, try to redirect their attention to something more positive. If they’re feeling playful, try giving them a chew toy or head outside for a walk. Alternatively, try using this time to teach them new commands such as ‘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

Once all of your puppy’s adult teeth have come through, you’ll want to make sure that they stay clean and healthy. That’s why, as a puppy, it’s important that you help your four-legged friend get used to having their mouth and teeth touched. 

There are a range of dog-friendly toothbrushes and toothpastes available, but if you’re unsure as to which one would be right for your canine, you can ask your vet. Never use human toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth, as it will make them very poorly.

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