Chew on These Tips to Survive Your Puppy’s Teething Stage
Ah, the terrible teething phase – it’s what every puppy parent dreads. To prepare for the biting times ahead, plan ahead with these drool-worthy teething tips.
Bringing home a new dog is a wonderful time in a pet lover’s life, especially when it’s a puppy. You get to experience them learning the ways of the world; teaching them how to behave; and watching them grow up. One of the harder parts about raising a puppy starts at around three months – teething. Puppies will lose their baby teeth and grow their adult ones, and this memorable phase lasts a few months.
Typically, we don’t realize our puppy is teething until their behavior changes. They might act a little bit more wild, and they will begin to bite things (including you), more frequently. You may notice blood and find teeth on the ground. Don’t be alarmed, this is completely normal. Here’s what you need to know to get through this stage in your puppy’s life without getting chewed up.
- Be Patient: Teething is a painful process for a puppy, much like it is for a child. You’ll notice an increase in nipping, but it’s not because they’re mad; it’s because it hurts. Try to keep this in mind when your puppy is teething. If they begin to nip at you, replace your finger with a toy instead. They don’t necessarily want to chew on you; they just need to chew on something. If the puppy is nipping too hard and testing your patience, remove them from the situation for a few moments. Put them somewhere safe and quiet until they (and you) calm down. It’s never okay to yell at them or hurt them for this – it’s not their fault.
- Wet Their Food: Because teething hurts, your puppy might be hesitant to eat. If you notice they aren’t eating their food with the normal gusto, add some water and let it soften. I don’t recommend adding wet food if that’s not part of their normal routine that will only make them picky in the future.
- Freeze Their Toys: When teething, the puppy’s gums will swell and get quite painful. Take a rope toy, soak it in water, and then freeze it. Kong toys filled with peanut butter and frozen will work as well. The cold toys will help reduce swelling and ease your pup’s pain.
- Chews, Chews and More Chews: Have a bunch of chews available for your puppy. Stay natural with Bully sticks, chew hooves, bones and antlers. Avoid artificially dyed products and rawhide because they can be dangerous for a young pup. Always make sure to supervise your puppy when it’s eating a chew for safety. It’s a great way to allow both you and your puppy to relax at the end of a night.
- Keep an eye on the Progress: Routinely check the puppy’s mouth to see how it’s coming along. Teething can take weeks or months depending on the dog. Safely look into the mouth to observe and look out for problems. The puppy will be fussy so it’s a good idea to start this process before the teething process begins. Get in the habit of brushing their teeth and handling their mouth as soon as you bring them home. Keep an eye out for anything that looks strange – mainly teeth refusing to fall out. Sometimes the baby teeth will need to be pulled to avoid problems for the adult teeth. If you notice something strange, contact your veterinarian.
Teething can be a painful process for everyone involved, but keep in mind that it’s only temporary. Your puppy is growing and eventually those adult teeth will grow in and the gnawing will stop. Be sure to puppy-proof your house at this time, because they will chew on anything to relieve the pain. If it’s out of control, hire a professional trainer to help. Otherwise, sit back and stay patient. Remember – how you handle this situation will impact the dog’s behavior for life.
Rachel Leavy lives in Rochester, New York with her dog, Virginia Woof. She’s loved animals all her life, and has owned her own dog training and walking company for five years. When she’s not playing with puppies, she can usually be found writing short stories, riding horses or out at a play.