Puppy teething – is probably the number one complaint from new puppy owners. Why is my puppy biting everything in sight and me, so much?
Well, they’re simply teething, that’s all! Good news for you, this article will give you a full rundown of:
- What is puppy teething?
- When does puppy teething start and end?
- Signs to look out for in puppy teething.
- How to manage teething – the best tips and tricks we know!
- What to do if your puppy decides you are the outlet for their teething.
Let’s bite right into it – there’s a lot to learn with puppy teething.
What is puppy teething?
Teething is something all puppies will go throw as they grow. Sometimes it can be painful and often uncomfortable for them to manage alone. It is the process of their teeth starting to come through and appear through the gums. Puppy teething can cause them to bite and chew things.
When do puppies start teething?
Puppies get their first 12 teeth when they turn about 3 weeks old. At 4 weeks they get their 4 canines – I’m sure your hands have had painful introductions with these sharp long fangs! By 6 weeks old, their premolars will also have all arrived, all 12 of them.
When puppies hit this age, it’s no surprise that mum dogs start getting their puppies weaned or rather they start closing the milk bar… those sharp teeth must make things quite sore when nursing!
It’s at around 8 to 12 weeks of age they’ll start their first stage of puppy teething. Whoopie – let the games begin! This first set of puppy teeth is sharp and daggery – like little tiny razor blades attached to a furry shark.
At 8 weeks old, adult teeth will start knocking on the door and begin to push your puppy’s milk teeth out of the way so they can come in! This will make your puppy’s gums sore, and they’ll probably want to dig their teeth into something.
We won’t make it too complicated, but to answer the dreaded question of when do puppies stop teething, it can be after 6 months for some puppies, phew! But only because they stop teething, doesn’t mean they stop chewing, sorry to break it to you. Check out our article on puppy chewing to know why.
When do puppies’ teeth fall out?
By 12 weeks old those milk teeth will start to fall out. If you’re very lucky, you’ll find your puppy’s milk teeth around the house to offer to the puppy tooth fairy. Many dogs seem to eat theirs, so it might be the case you never find a puppy tooth. If you do, you’ll be amazed at what they look like – puppy teeth are weird and spikey, careful not to step on one!
Don’t be alarmed if they don’t have all of their teeth by this point, some extra premolars and molars may appear as late as five to seven months of age. Your pup should have its full set of 42 adult teeth by the time they are eight months old.
When do puppies stop teething?
Puppies stop teething when they’re six months old. We know how you feel – those months can feel like you’re sharing a home with a snapping turtle. But even after six months, the chewing won’t stop. It’s just part of the story, okay?
But although they won’t stop chewing, they can learn to chew the right things – which will make your day brighter. By using fun chews as they get older, they’ll be working on keeping their teeth clean and strengthening their jaw without destroying your furniture. Sounds ferocious, but really it’s just what dogs do!
How much and what your dog will need to chew will depend on their breed type, but they still love a chew. Make sure they get a chance to have a go on all kinds of chew toys; frozen, natural, you name it. Let’s make the most out of puppy teething, shall we?
Signs of puppy teething to look out for
How will I know if my puppy is teething? Trust us, in some way or another you WILL know!
Besides teeth marks on your table legs (although we hope it doesn’t get to that), here are some sure-fire signs of teething to look out for:
An increase in chewing
Puppy chewing turbo mode. Your puppy will likely be chewing hands, chewing feet, chewing just about everything they can get those teeth onto. It can get quite intense at times, not going to lie…like little piranhas.
Bleeding or swollen gums
When puppies are teething, seeing blood on their toys is a common sight. Don’t worry, it won’t come anywhere near a bloodbath, but you might see some. Puppy teething hurts, and puppy gums are sore, it’s the sad truth.
Drooling will be part of it too. Saliva actually helps sore gums quite a lot, so you’ll probably notice some wet spots on your puppy’s bed – they aren’t pee!
Eating slower than usual
Your puppy will likely eat slower when in times of puppy teething. Dry crunchy food is going to hurt, even when we soften it with water, so don’t be surprised if they eat slower. It’s quite annoying for them I imagine…it’s like burning your tongue on tea and you can’t taste your scones after.
How to help a teething puppy
Some puppies may find the teething process extremely painful, and they will ultimately seek relief by chewing things around the house. When it comes to becoming a bit mouthy, this can flow over into their playtime too. You can teach them that this is an unwanted behaviour by stopping play, so that they associate nipping, with playtime being over.
1. Keep your puppy away from dangerous areas or objects
As always puppy-proof your home so that when the urge to chew arises, they can only chew on things that are safe to chew on. This means cables, wires, iPhones and definitely your favourite shoes should be put far, far away.
2. Offer them chew toys
We literally want to get them addicted to chew toys. For puppy teething, they will act as heroes, especially when they grow older – they’ll know exactly what to chew on!
Here’s a list of the best teething toys for puppies to give you some ideas:
Stuffed chew toys: Kongs, West Paw Toppls, K9 Connectables and Busy Buddy types you can stuff with moistened food are ace for puppy teething as they’ll get to chew their meals.
Edible chews: These are chews that are tasty as can be and fine to ingest. Rice bones, vegetable chews, pigs ears and other dehydrated natural chews are very popular – you’ll definitely earn extra points with them.
Natural hard-wearing chews: Buffalo horns are winners here. They’re made of keratin, so while they’re slightly softer than, say, antlers, they’re still long-lasting. Wood tickles puppies too, so olive or coffee wood roots are also great ones to have around.
Puppy-specific chew toys: Nylabone teething keys are cute and safe to chew on. They’re made of nylon (pretty obvious in the name) and there’s no need to worry about your puppy ingesting nasties, unlike some of the other plastic options.
Softer chew toys: Some puppies are not hard chewers and appreciate something a little gentler to chew and suckle on.
Choose freezable toys to soothe their gums. There is a plethora of freezable toys for puppy teething – these are often the ultimate zen solution to help soothe those sore gums. Our favourites are ring toys and nylabone teething bones. Otherwise, you can split carrots lengthwise and then freeze them, or soak tuggers in bone broth and freeze them for a cheap alternative to buying new toys. Look at you being all creative making homemade chew toys.
3. Puppy-proof your home
It goes without saying that puppy-proofing your home is essential during puppy teething times. Wood has a special place in puppies’ hearts, so keep an eye on them when they start seeking out chair legs and skirting boards.
Oh, and leather is always a winner too. Pop away your stylish brogues for now.
4. Try a puppy teething gel
When puppies are teething, their gums will be sore. Puppy teething gel can be a good solution for helping to numb the pain, and get them through the day without wanting to find a nice valuable item to destroy.
Double rows of teeth
If you notice your puppy having a double set of teeth, do not fret!
This can occasionally happen. Some puppies, due to their breed or because of their jaw shape, don’t lose all their baby teeth, and they can stick around when the adult teeth come through as well. You may not notice at first, but you can usually tell soon enough when your puppy starts to have horrendous halitosis – fancy word for tremendously bad breath. This bad breath happens because food becomes trapped in between the two sets of teeth and starts to decay – we know, it’s super gross.
If your puppy hasn’t lost their baby teeth, speak to your vet…don’t want to give you a fright, but it might be the case that they need to remove some of their teeth to stop gum disease.
How to check your puppy’s teeth
When your puppy is teething, it is a good idea to look at their teeth from time to time to check everything looks in order. This is also a great way to get them used to having their mouth touched, when you come to clean their teeth. Try to prise their mouth open softly and check the gums for any sore looking areas, or any areas that may look infected. As soon as you are finished, make sure to praise your pup for letting you look inside their mouth
How to care for your puppy’s adult teeth
When your pup has grown all of its teeth, you need to make sure that they stay nice and clean. To do this, you need to make sure you have a healthy-teeth cleaning routine. You need to start by getting your puppy used to having their mouth and teeth touched at an early age.
You will need to make sure you have bought a dog-friendly toothbrush and a dog toothpaste. Brush their teeth at least 2-3 times a week, and try to incorporate tooth bones for the cleaning of their gums and teeth, outside of brushing.
Need more help with puppy chewing?
Our Zigzag puppy training app has heaps of more articles and lessons on chewing and biting. If you read enough of those, you’ll hopefully feel like a puppy teething master. Our team of puppy training experts are always available 24/7 to help you when you reach those paw-nic moments – you know, when they’re biting your ankles without stopping.
For more puppy training advice, check out our article on how to quickly stop your puppy biting you, next.