Anyone who has ever welcomed a puppy into their home can attest to the joys, challenges, and, of course, the nips and nibbles. Teething is a natural part of a dog’s growth, and understanding this phase can make the journey smoother for both of you. Here’s everything you need to know about puppy teething.
1. The Timeline of Puppy Teething
Birth to 3 Weeks: Puppies are born toothless. Their baby teeth, also known as milk teeth or deciduous teeth, start to appear in the third week.
3 to 8 Weeks: By the time they are 8 weeks old, most puppies have all 28 of their baby teeth.
12 to 16 Weeks: Around this age, puppies start to shed their baby teeth, making way for adult ones.
6 to 7 Months: By this age, most dogs will have their full set of 42 permanent adult teeth.
2. Teething Symptoms
The process of teething can be uncomfortable for puppies. Some common symptoms include:
Chewing on Everything: Puppies chew to alleviate the discomfort. You’ll notice them nibbling on toys, furniture, shoes, and sometimes even you!
Drooling: Increased drool is often observed during this phase.
Swollen, Red Gums: The gum area might appear more reddened than usual.
Missing Teeth: It’s not uncommon to find small baby teeth around the house.
3. Making the Teething Phase Easier
To aid your pup through this stage, consider:
Puppy-Specific Teething Toys: Invest in durable chew toys that can provide relief to those sore gums.
Cold Chews: Chilled carrots or special puppy teething toys stored in the freezer can soothe discomfort.
Puppy-proof Your Home: Protect your belongings (and your puppy) by keeping things out of reach and providing appropriate chew alternatives.
Teeth Check-ups: Regularly check your puppy’s mouth to ensure there aren’t any complications, like retained baby teeth or misaligned adult teeth.
4. Dental Care is a Lifetime Commitment
As your puppy grows into adulthood, continue to prioritize their dental health:
Brush Regularly: Invest in a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste.
Regular Vet Check-ups: Ensure that dental exams are a part of their routine check-up.
Dental Chews and Toys: These can help keep your dog’s teeth clean and their gums healthy.
5. Puppy Biting vs. Teething
While teething can lead to increased nibbling, it’s crucial to distinguish between this and more aggressive puppy biting. Positive reinforcement, gentle correction, and consistent training can teach your puppy bite inhibition and ensure they understand acceptable behavior.
Teething is just one of the milestones in your puppy’s journey to adulthood. By understanding this phase and offering the right support, you’ll ensure your furry friend transitions smoothly. Remember, patience and consistency are key. Before you know it, your puppy will have a radiant adult smile, and the teething phase will be a distant memory!