Teething is something that you should expect when you decide to jump into puppy ownership. However, it can be frustrating when your puppy chooses to make a chew toy out of your favorite belongings. Today, our New Ulm vets talk about everything you need to know about teething in puppies and what dental concerns to watch for.
Teething in Puppies
When puppies are teething it will be natural that they attempt to chew on anything and everything. But it's important to try and stay calm and remember that your pup isn't trying to be naughty, they are trying to relieve the pain and discomfort they are feeling. It just so happens that chewing on your new sofa's leg may be the perfect thing for making your pup's mouth feel better.
What age do puppies start teething?
Breeds vary somewhat but puppies typically get their first set of teeth at about 5 - 6 weeks of age. At around 16 weeks old your puppy's baby teeth (deciduous teeth) will begin to fall out and their adult teeth will begin to appear.
What are the common dental concerns in puppies?
Problems with puppies' first teeth are rare since they don't have them for long. However, some smaller breeds and brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds, have an increased risk of not losing some of their deciduous teeth. This most often occurs with the upper canine teeth, but it can happen to any of your puppy's teeth.
Retained deciduous teeth can lead to overcrowding of the teeth, misalignments, bite problems and general discomfort. They are also believed to increase your dog's risk of future dental problems and gum disease. Most vets recommend that retained deciduous teeth be removed while your pet is under general anesthesia during their spay or neuter procedure.
How long does teething in puppies last?
By the time your pooch is about 6 - 7 months old, they should have all 42 of their adult teeth and teething should be a thing of the past.
That said, those 4 - 5 months of intense teething can be a real struggle for many pet parents. As puppies looking to find relief from the pain will often chew on almost anything they can find, and because of their small stature that can often mean furniture legs, expensive footwear or even your feet or fingers.
So what can you do to help relieve your furry friend's discomfort and protect your valuable belongings? Here are a few suggestions from our veterinary team at New Ulm Regional Veterinary Center.
How can I help the discomfort of teething in puppies?
Frozen toys for teething puppies
Much like teething babies, puppies often find that chewing cold or frozen items help to relieve teething pain. While there is a range of teething-specific toys available from most pet stores almost any dog toy can be frozen to help provide relief for your pup. Kongs, rubber bones, and dog-specific soft toys are all great options.
Durable, long-lasting chew toys
Specific puppy teething bones by brands such as Nylabone are sized appropriately for small, medium and large breeds and come flavored to help encourage your puppy away from boring smelling valuables and over to a tasty chewy treat - encouraging both healthy chewing habits and relieving pain at the same time.
Edible treats for teething puppies
Many reputable dog food brands offer edible puppy teething treats and bones to help relieve your fur baby's mouth pain. Your vet may recommend one specifically for your little dog or you can pop by your local pet store and choose from a range of flavors and sizes. Be sure to choose the right size for your pup so they will gain the most benefit from the teething treat you choose.
Frozen foods to help relieve the pain of teething
Many puppies enjoy tasty treats such as frozen bagels, frozen carrots or other healthy veggies. If you are planning to offer your pup a frozen food always speak to your vet first to ensure it's a good option for your pup.
What to do if teething puppies are choosing to bite you?
Nipping and biting is naturally how puppies play. When one puppy bites another too hard the hurt pup will let out a high-pitched yelp.
If your young pup is nipping and biting at you it's important to put a stop to this behavior before it gets out of hand. One effective approach for stopping this behavior is to mimic the yelp of a hurt puppy when your little friend digs their teeth into you. A loud little 'OW' in a high-pitched voice should startle your puppy and cause them to back off. When your puppy stops and backs off be sure to offer a reward for their good behavior.
If this approach leads your puppy to nip at you more aggressively, quietly stop playing with your puppy and walk away or gently put your pup in their crate for some quiet time.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.