Puppies go through teething stages much like a baby. During these stages, a puppy's gums itch, are sore and often hurt.
A teething puppy will seek out other outlets that provide comfort and it is during this teething stage that puppies spend most of their time picking up, and chewing practically anything in sight to relieve discomfort and help shedding of their baby teeth.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to get the problem under control early on, like redirecting his behavior toward safe and acceptable items, and making sure that they have appropriate teething toys and other items to soothe the gums and satisfy this uncontrollable urge to chew.
What Are The Stages of Puppy Teething?
Puppies usually start teething at around two weeks old up until approximately 12 weeks when their first set of teeth have come in. Unfortunately, that’s not all.
At about four months old you’ll need to deal with teething again for about three months when as your furry friend loses his/her puppy teeth and grows in their adult teeth.
Knowing when your puppy is going to start teething is essential because you can make sure you’re prepared with the tools you need to make the process go smoothly. If not, you could end up with your puppy thinking it’s okay to chew on just about anything for relief – and you don’t want that.
How To Handle Puppy Teething?
When puppies begin to lose their puppy teeth and getting their next adult teeth, they begin to bite. Biting isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What you want them to learn is how hard they can bite before play stops.
This video does a great job on how to help your puppy go through this uncomfortable teething period.
How To Soothe Puppy Teething
Here are some helpful things you can give your puppy to help shed baby teeth and soothe sore gums:
- Frozen stuffed Kong toys
- No-sodium chicken broth ice cubes
- Frozen marrowbones
- A baby-teething gel
How To Stop Puppy Teething
If you want to be prepared to help your puppy deal with the pain of teething and make sure that they don’t ruin your personal items at the same time, you need to have a plan in place.
A solid puppy teething plan should consist of three main things.
1. Use Appropriate Teething Outlets
As your puppy’s teeth come in there’s going to be some pain and discomfort involved, whether it’s for the first time or adult teeth are replacing their puppy teeth.
Chewing helps puppies ease their teething pain, so it’s important to allow them to chew on approved toys.
When buying teething toys for your puppy, it’s important to make sure that they are made from non-toxic materials, are durable, and don’t have any small parts that can be swallowed and cause intestinal blockages.
Always buy your dog toys that are well-made with quality materials, and for their safety replace any toys that start to fall apart.
2. Training To Interrupt and Redirect Your Dog's Chewing
Unfortunately, buying your puppy teething toys isn’t enough on its own. You’re going to need to keep a careful eye on your puppy during this time to make sure they don’t chew on things like shoes, furniture, or people instead of their toys.
When your puppy starts teething is a wonderful time to teach them bite inhibition, commands like, “drop it!” and crate training them so they’re used to being contained while you’re out of the house.
Teaching a dog to drop it is as easy as waving a treat in front of their face while they have a high-value toy in their mouth, and praising them when they drop the toy while giving them the reward.
Keep teething toys in plain sight so if you catch your puppy chewing on something they aren’t supposed to chew on, you can easily redirect their attention to the toy.
Just make sure you don’t introduce a new toy right after inappropriate chewing, so your puppy doesn’t think they’re getting a reward for ripping apart your furniture.
You can even pay attention to the types of things that your dog loves to chew on and find toys that match those characteristics, whether your puppy likes to chew on things that are soft or hard, plastic or made of other materials.
The main thing is to remember that it’s up to you to show your puppy right and wrong. You can’t get mad if you leave your puppy alone all day and it chews your brand-new shoes. It’s your responsibility to give your puppy healthy teething options and make sure they are using them.
3. Consistency and Patience
Once you have teething toys and training started, the keys to success are fun, consistency, and patience.
Puppies are fun, but they’re a handful. You need to be ready to teach them. If you put the time and effort in, they will learn.
The good thing about dealing with this type of chewing early on is that (if done right) you shouldn’t have problems with destructive chewing in the future.
Part of being consistent is also making sure that everyone in your household is on the same page about what the puppy can chew and how to deal with destructive chewing.
Your training efforts won’t be as effective if you’re the only one keeping up with things and your other family members ignore your puppy when it’s chewing on things it shouldn’t be.
Other great tips to prevent property damage from when they're teething are:
- Tire out your puppy on a regular basis.
- Practice pro-active management of both your puppy and the environment, this includes removing anything you don't want your puppy to chew on.
Don’t be frustrated – The Key is to Educate Ourselves!
Puppy teething can be frustrating to deal with, especially once your puppy starts to cause damage to personal items like shoes or furniture.
It’s part of raising a puppy though, so you need to make sure you’re well-prepared for this stage and don’t punish your puppy for chewing if they don’t know any better.
Start by buying chewing toys and training your puppy not to bite you or other random items they find around the house. Stay consistent and patient until they learn, and make sure that everyone on the house is on the same page.
After a while your puppy will know not to chew anything and everything. Instead, they’ll go to designated chew toys for comfort from teething pain. Taking the time to do this training early on will also help keep your dog from engaging in destructive chewing or biting as an adult dog.
- How to Take Care of a Dog: Information about Dogs. Everything That Matters, By John Davies.
- First Class Puppy: A Guide for Your Puppy’s First Year, By Beth Mattei-Miller