How to survive puppy teething!

Is your puppy acting more like a baby shark than a dog? Welcome to the wonders of puppyhood and teething. While having puppies come into your home at an early age is a benefit, dealing with the common development issues, i.e. teething and nipping, can be challenging. Luckily, there are several tips and tricks that can make this time more comfortable for all parties involved.  

  • Puppy teething is a normal behavior that can last until they are 6 months of age. 
  • Having the right chew toys and treats can make the experience more manageable for pup and parent alike.
  • Early training to make trades and use of positive reinforcement is key.
  • Use this time to help puppies get acclimated to mouth manipulation to make long-term dental care a breeze.

Why do puppies teeth and nip?

Teething is a common behavior for all puppies. It is a way for them to feel and understanding the world around them. It also is a way to help them manage the process of losing their puppy teeth while their adult teeth push through. Nipping is also a common behavior that helps puppies learn how to interact with other dogs. Young puppies would usually be playing with their littermates and learn how much is too much by their playmates reactions. 

How long does teething last?

True teething can last anywhere from 1 to 3 months. The process ramps up when their 28 razor sharp puppy teeth being to shed and make way for their 42 adult teeth, that will be in place for life. You tend to see this around 16 weeks of age and can last until 24 weeks, depending on the dog and breed

If teething painful?

The process of teething can be uncomfortable for puppies. While not overtly painful, a degree of pressure is sensed when the adult teeth are erupting and can make your puppy feel some discomfort. Reducing inflammation and providing the right distractions are key to making this part of puppyhood more manageable.

How to help  your puppy get through the teething phase?

While teething is very normal, the nipping and biting behaviors that come with it can be uncomfortable for pup and human alike. Practicing a few key tricks can help reduce discomfort in puppies while helping them learn what to chew and what not to chew.

  • Have the right toys- Always have a good set of toys at your disposable to give your puppy as an outlet to chew on. Avoid hard items you cannot bend or place your nail print into as these any be too hard and lead to fractured teeth. Teething rings, soft rubber toys, and plush toys are good places to start.
  • Make trades- When chewing on finger, toes, or furniture, grab a toy instead and give it to your puppy. Couple this with a verbal praise and reward with a treat. The goal here is to make an association with rewards for chewing on the “right” items.
  • Invest in puppy popsicles- Fill soft rubber toys with nut butters, apple sauce, or baby foods (without onion or garlic powder) and keep in the freezer. The colder treats can help reduce inflammation and will keep them focused on chewing on the toys.

How to help pet parents survive the teething phase?

Being frustrated with your puppy during this time is bound to happen. But remember, they cannot help what is going on and they also do not know any better.

  • Avoid punishment- This teething phase is also coming at a crucial behaviors development time and negative interactions can be devastating.
  • Take breaks- If the behaviors seem to be never ending, give your pup a break with a yummy treat in their kennel.
  • Reinforce positive interactions- Make sure to always reward your pup when they are chewing on “the right stuff”, i.e. toys instead of tables and hands. Use verbal praises like, “ Great job” or “Good puppy”, and always couple it with a tasty treat reward.

Adult teeth are set, now what?

Once a puppy have their adult teeth, they will be there for life. Caring for them at an early age will make managing their dental health that much easier long-term.

  • Manipulate their mouth- Make sure your puppy is comfortable with their mouth being messed with. This will help with future toothbrushing and oral exams. Use nut butters or similar flavored items to rub up and down their gumline. This helps puppies get use to their mouth being manipulated and the process of “toothbrushing.”
  • Introduce brushing early- Graduate from “fake brushing” to a real doggy toothbrush with flavored toothpaste. The earlier this is started, the more comfortable your puppy will be with the routine.
  • Good dental chews- Having the right chews early on is a great way to manage tartar buildup. These items are also a great way to keep your puppy occupied while helping their teeth.
  • Make dental care a routine- Whether it is once a day or once a week, any dental care is better than no dental care. Start a routine early to see lasting affects long-term.


Happy training and brushing!

Dr. Nicky

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