Puppy teething tips - Everything you need to know

Health and Wellbeing

Just like human babies, puppies go through an uncomfortable period of teething which will likely have your puppy chewing on anything and everything they can get their paws on to try and soothe their sore mouths. You’ll notice your puppy teething after you bring them home when they are two months old.

Teething puppy chewing on a stick

So what can you expect while your puppy is teething? Let’s go through the symptoms, timeline, and tips to help soothe your teething puppy.

WHEN DO PUPPIES START TEETHING?

Puppies are born without teeth, so they begin teething very early on, and by 2 weeks old their baby teeth begin to emerge and should all be present by the time they reach 8 weeks old.

When your puppy is 8 weeks old, which is when most puppies head to their furever homes, they will start to lose their deciduous teeth, also known as their milk teeth or baby teeth.

Once your puppy is 10 to 12 weeks old, their adult teeth will start to emerge. This is uncomfortable and it will take a few weeks for all their teeth to come through and for teething to finish.

HOW LONG DOES PUPPY TEETHING LAST?

Puppy teething begins very early in their life and will continue for several months. In terms of teething, a puppy will begin teething at about 10 to 12 weeks old as their adult teeth start to erupt and this push their baby teeth out. Your puppy won’t have a full set of adult teeth until they are about 6 months old.

Generally, you can expect your puppy to be teething for about four months, but some breeds can take a little longer.

It is possible your puppy could have trouble losing all their baby teeth, so it’s important to check their mouth regularly. You might find they appear to have a double set of teeth, or their teeth look crowded, and you should point this out to your vet. If a puppy doesn’t lose all their baby teeth, they might need to have the baby teeth removed by the vet.

SIGNS A PUPPY IS TEETHING

The clearest sign your puppy is teething is finding tiny little teeth on the floor. (They can look like broken grains of rice.) However, puppies tend to swallow most of their baby teeth, so you might not find that many.

SIGNS YOUR PUPPY IS TEETHING INCLUDE:

  • Slowing down when eating.
  • Showing less interest in their food.
  • Whining when chewing or eating.
  • Drooling more.
  • Chewing more often and chewing different things.
  • Mouthing and nipping at you.
  • Spots of blood on their chew toys.
  • Red, swollen gums.
  • Missing teeth.
  • Finding teeth on the floor, or wherever your puppy has been.

Although some whining, discomfort, and trouble eating are pretty normal for a teething puppy, you should still monitor them. If they begin to refuse food and seem listless, restless, or in any way out of sorts you should contact your vet for advice.

ARE PUPPIES IN PAIN WHEN THEY’RE TEETHING?

Yes, just like with teething babies, puppies are dealing with discomfort in their gums when they are teething. Chewing helps them to relieve that pain and soothes them. Specifically chewing something cold can really help to soothe their gums. You can also give them a helping hand by adding more water to their Pure dinners and making their food softer while they’re teething so they don’t have to chew so much.

It should go without saying, but never give your puppy bonjela or any humans medicine that you would give to a teething baby.

WHAT CAN I GIVE MY TEETHING PUPPY?

One of the best things to give your teething puppy is a frozen, rubber toy because the cold helps to soothe their gums as they chew.

A great way to help your puppy is to stuff a Kong with Pure and freezing it. That way you can offer your pup their dinner and keep them focused on chewing the Kong, while the cold of the toy and frozen food will help to numb their painful gums. You can also buy puppy teething rings and freeze them.

Another alternative is to cut up healthy dog-safe foods like carrots or cucumber and freeze them, and you can offer these to your puppy as a cooling, soothing snack.

You should also have plenty of chew toys available for your puppy to gnaw on. Chewing strengthens your puppy’s jaw muscles and helps to soothe them during teething. You can also use their toys as a distraction if they ever bite or chew something they shouldn’t.

For example, if they start chewing your slipper, distract them with their favourite chew toy and lead them away from the slipper. (Then take the slipper out the way.)

You should also keep some of their toys out of the way and rotate what toys are available to your puppy so that they always change and seem new and exciting, which helps to keep them valuable and interesting. If your puppy has access to the same toys all the time, they will soon get bored of them, just like kids do!

This distraction technique also works if you are trying to stop a puppy from nipping you. For more details on how to prevent puppy biting, take a look at our puppy chewing guide.

MAKE SURE THEIR TOYS WON’T DAMAGE THEIR NEW TEETH

The right toy should not be too hard and risk damaging your puppy’s teeth, but also not too soft. Your puppy shouldn’t be able to tear chunks out of their toy that can then pose a choking risk.

A good indication for the right toy strength is that you should be able to press your thumbnail into the toy and feel it have a little give, but your nail definitely shouldn’t pierce the toy. You should also be able to knock the toy against your knee without it hurting your knee.

HOW TO STOP A TEETHING PUPPY FROM BITING YOU

If your puppy bites you, the best thing to do is to stand up and walk away and ignore them for a little while. Doing this clearly indicates to them that playtime is over and you aren’t giving them more attention, so they will learn that biting you means that playtime ends.

Read our tips on preventing puppy biting and mouthing.

TOP TIPS FOR TEETHING PUPPIES

Let’s quickly recap some of the best things you can do to help your teething puppy feel better and to save your belongings from their constant chewing.

  • Rotate their toys to keep them interesting.
  • Use toys to distract your puppy if they are trying to chew something they shouldn’t.
  • Freeze rubber toys like Kongs for a cooling chew toy to numb sore gums.
  • Slice and freeze carrots or cucumber for a healthy, soothing snack.

As you can see, toys are your greatest tool in the puppy teething phase both for soothing your puppy and saving your furniture from their teeth. But what else should you do with a teething puppy?

If you’re crate training your pup, putting them into the crate with some toys will encourage them to relax and chew, whilst making sure they don’t have opportunity to gnaw on anything they shouldn’t. It gives you a few minutes you won’t need to watch them like a hawk. Just remember not to leave your puppy in their crate for long as you shouldn’t overuse it, and never use their crate as a punishment.

Secondly, you should start inspecting their mouth to check their teeth and gums. This will be part of socialising your puppy and getting them used to having their mouth and teeth checked, and you could also introduce a toothbrush.

Most of all, be patient with your puppy. Teething is uncomfortable and they’re still settling into their new home and learning what they should and shouldn’t do. They don’t mean to be naughty by chewing your things, and they won’t be doing it deliberately. And don’t worry, it doesn’t last fur-ever!