How to Survive Your Puppy’s Teething Stage
Be prepared for the biting times ahead—plan ahead with these drool-worthy teething tips.
Bringing home a puppy is a magical time. Right from the beginning, you get to see them discover the world, teach them how to behave, and watch them grow and flourish. But there are trying times coming up in your puppy’s life, one of which comes at about three months of age—teething.
This phase, when puppies lose their baby teeth and grow adult ones, can last a few months. You may not notice that your puppy is teething until his behavior changes. Watch for wild streaks, frequently biting things around them (which includes you!), blood in their mouth, or even teeth on the ground. These are all part of the process and are completely normal. Here’s what you need to know to get through this stage in your puppy’s life as gracefully as possible:
- Patience is a Virtue: This time isn’t just hard for you—teething is a painful process for a puppy. Yes, nipping is annoying and can hurt, but don’t take it personally, because all puppies do this. Keep this tip in mind: when your puppy starts to nip you, replace your finger with a toy instead. As long as he has something to chew on, he won’t care! If the nipping becomes too much for you, remove him from the situation for a few moments. Put them somewhere safe and quiet until everyone calms down. Never yell or lash out at him for nipping. Your puppy needs your patient support to get through this time.
- Wet Food: How can you eat properly if your teeth are hurting? Your puppy may turn his nose up at his food bowl or be hesitant to eat, not because he isn’t hungry, but because eating is painful. Try wet food, or even just try adding some water to his dry food so that it softens. You’ll notice that he’ll eat his food with much more gusto.
- Frozen Toys: While teething, your puppy’s gums will swell and cause him pain. To ease the pain, soak a rope toy in water and then freeze it. You can also freeze a Kong filled with peanut butter. These frozen toys will help reduce your pup’s swelling and pain.
- Stuff to Chew: During this teething time, you can’t go without chew toys for your puppy. Avoid artificially dyed products and rawhide. Stay natural with Bully sticks, chew hooves, bones, and antlers. For safety purposes, always supervise your puppy while he’s chewing.
- Progress Updates: Make sure to routinely check your puppy’s mouth to see how those teeth are coming along. Teething can take weeks or months, so look into his mouth regularly to stay on top of problems. Start early getting your puppy used to you having your fingers in his mouth, because if you get him used to this process before teething starts, then he’ll be more okay with you doing it when his mouth is uncomfortable. Keep an eye out for teeth that refuse to fall out, because stubborn baby teeth will need to be pulled to avoid problems for the adult teeth coming in. Talk to your vet if you come across anything worrisome.
Although it’s a painful process for everyone involved, remember that teething is only temporary. Once his adult teeth grow in, the constant gnawing will (probably) stop. It’s important to puppy-proof your house during this time, because your puppy will chew on anything to relieve the pain. If you think that his behavior is out of control, hire a professional trainer to help.