Puppy teething and biting
All puppies go through a teething and biting stage. As they lose their baby teeth and gain their adult teeth, your puppy may start to chew on furniture, shoes or household items to soothe the pain. There are things you can do to help your teething puppy and protect your belongings!
When do puppies start and stop teething?
Puppies first get their baby teeth when they are about five or six weeks old. At around 8 weeks their baby teeth will start falling out, to make room for their adult teeth, which start coming through at around 16 weeks – although this varies from breed to breed. Puppy teething lasts for a few months – by the time they are six to seven months old, they should have all their adult teeth – 42 in fact!
Puppy teething symptoms
The most common symptom of a teething puppy is drooling and chewing…lots of chewing! Puppies chew to provide relief to their painful gums as they lose their baby teeth. You may also notice spots of blood on your puppy’s toys – and find the odd puppy tooth or two in the house.
How to help a teething puppy
You can help your puppy through the teething process by providing things for them to chew on. There are things you can buy and things you can make:
- Chew toys. Look for toys made of a hard rubber material, such as Kongs, which you can also fill with something tasty, e.g.cheese spread. Have a selection of chew toys, and rotate them often. This will maintain their novelty and ensure that your puppy is interested in the chew toy you have provided rather than your TV remote or expensive shoes!
- Cold chews. These can be very soothing. Ideas include:
- Ice cubes
- Frozen beef/chicken broth
- Home-made chews – a frozen carrot or banana is a great tasty and soothing treat for your teething puppy.
Should I brush my puppy’s teeth?
Teething is a good time to start brushing your puppy’s teeth and get them into a good dental hygiene routine. It’s a good idea to brush your dog’s teeth every day to keep their teeth and mouth in a healthy condition. Be patient and take your time to make sure your puppy enjoys the experience and does’t become worried about their mouths being checked.
You can buy toothbrushes for dogs, or you could use a soft child’s brush. Make sure you use a toothpaste that is designed for dogs – not humans, which could give your dog an upset tummy.
You might want to use your finger to begin with – to get your puppy used to the feeling of having their teeth cleaned.
My puppy keeps chewing and biting me!
Keep in mind that chewing and biting may be something other than teething, such as mouthing. In the same way that children use their hands to explore their world, puppies use their mouths. Make sure your puppy has plenty of appropriate things to chew on. Mouthing is quite common and normal in most young puppies, and is rarely aggressive but they still need to learn to be gentle and not nip or bite. The Dogs Trust has produced a great short video about how to stop a puppy from biting and mouthing.