Puppy teething can be a challenging stage of life – especially since they have 28 tiny razor-sharp teeth that can nip and chew in the blink of an eye.
There are so many things to try to keep on top of from the moment you bring your new furry family member home – from the necessary training and playtime, to feeding and daily walks. Your schedule will be jam-packed from now on!
However, during their first eight months of life, your puppy will grow two sets of teeth, and it’s important to know how to care for them correctly.
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What is puppy teething?
Just like us humans, puppies also have baby teeth that will all eventually fall out to make room for their adult teeth.
Exactly how long this takes depends on the breed and their lifestyle. However, traditionally, by the time a puppy is five to six weeks old, all of their baby teeth would have grown through, and they will be weaning off of mum to begin eating soft puppy food.
Between the ages of 12 and 16-weeks-old, they begin to lose these baby teeth, and their permanent adult teeth start to appear.
This is where the uncomfortable teething process begins.
How can I help my pup?
Anyone who has known a teething baby is aware of how painful this stage can be.
That’s why you may notice your puppy starting to chew on things – anything they can fit their small mouths around such as shoes, furniture corners, or even your child’s toys – in an attempt to relieve the pain and discomfort they’re in.
To distract them and encourage the chewing of more safe and appropriate items, offer them the best teething toys for puppies, ones that are soft and bend easily if you squeeze them in your hand. It’s also believed that placing the teething toys in the freezer can help soothe their gums.
Another way to help your new fluff-ball is to have your vet regularly check their mouths to ensure that their teeth and gums are developing as they should be.
It’s important to let them fall out naturally, so you should never attempt to pull them out, as this could break the root and lead to infection.
When will puppy teething stop?
By the time your puppy is six months old, they should have lost all of their puppy teeth, and their adult teeth should have stopped growing, too.
Adult dogs tend to have approximately 42 teeth, but if you happen to notice any baby teeth still remaining in your pooch’s mouth, it’s crucial that you let your veterinarian know so that they can be removed safely.
How do I keep my pup’s teeth healthy?
Before any teething problems begin, it’s important to help your young canine feel comfortable with you touching in and around their mouth.
Training them from a young age will make it much easier in the future to keep your dog’s teeth clean and assess the condition of your dog’s mouth, so it is worth putting the hours in at the very start (just be careful of those sharp baby teeth as they can inflict quite the nip!).
By doing this, you’ll be able to regularly remove plaque from your dog’s teeth to avoid stinky breath and lower the risk of having to put them under anesthetic in order for the vet to clean them instead.
Learning how to brush a dog’s teeth is a simple task that involves the gentle scrubbing of your canine’s teeth with a gauze pad or finger brush. Once comfortable with this stage, you can introduce canine toothpaste and a specialised dog toothbrush.
Do not, under any circumstances, use human toothpaste as it often contains fluoride, a product that can be extremely poisonous to dogs when swallowed.
You might also be wondering, ‘Why does my puppy eat everything outside?’ This vet’s guide is here to help.
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Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.
Her website, www.chloemaywrites.com, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!