Puppy Teething

Puppy teething can be a challenging time.  It’s common for chewing to increase and that can include shoes, TV remotes or even hands!  When teething it’s more important than ever to remember that your little puppy needs between 18 – 20 hours of sleep a day.  Here’s a guide to puppy teething that will see you through those rocky weeks.  And do remember, it is a phase!

How old are puppies when they’re teething?

  • 0-2 weeks: There won’t be any teeth and at this point and the puppy will still be with his/her mother.
  • 3-4 weeks: The puppy’s first teeth will be growing in. At this point their eyes will have opened.
  • 6-8 weeks: By now, all of the puppy’s baby teeth should have come in. The breeder will start to wean the puppies as they learn to eat moist puppy food. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth.
  • 12-18 weeks: You’ll have the puppy with them now and you’ll start to see baby teeth around the house or garden, and sometimes in their poo.
  • 20+ weeks:  The dog’s adult teeth will start to grow in. It starts with the incisors followed by the canines, premolars and then finally the molars. If baby teeth are still present, contacting your vet is a good idea as they may need to be removed. Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth.

What are the signs of puppy teething?

Signs of teething include but aren’t limited to:

  • Red and inflamed gums
  • Drooling
  • Increased chewing behaviour
  • Not as active- they may whine and be more irritable than usual
  • Bleeding gums- small specs may be found on their toys, bed or floor
  • Decreased appetite- may eat slower or not want all food due to slight discomfort
  • Missing teeth- you may find these on the floor and is it both common and safe if your puppy swallow them accidentally
  • Puppy resisting fuss around the mouth / gums.

How To Help A Teething Puppy

Teething is an experience that can be a little bit painful and uncomfortable for a puppy but there are different methods and measures you can put in place to help your puppy.

  • Providing you puppy with safe toys will help soothe their sore gums but will also prevent unwanted chewing of other objects around the house.
  • Teaching them not to nip is crucial as well and this can be done by making a yelping noise. Puppies learn from their mothers and other dogs when they have pushed it too far when the other one yelps so by doing this allows them to realise the fun and game is over. Put the toy away and give them something to chew/lick instead to help calm them down.
  • Freezing items can help puppy cool their gums too, so frozen stuffed kongs or frozen stuffed bones can be very helpful.  Please make sure anything you give to your puppy is too big for them to swallow.

Caring For Your Dogs Teeth

Caring for your dog’s teeth is crucial and will reduce the risk of complications alter in life. Getting them used to having their mouth and teeth touched at a young age will help when they go for their dental checks but also allows you to brush and care for their teeth. Beginning with a healthy teeth routine check at home allows your dog to get used to the sensation of their mouth and teeth being opening and touched.

Dogs don’t use their tongue to dislodge chewed food from their teeth so when food and plaque builds up, it can lead to complications. By brushing your dog’s teeth, you can decrease or even prevent the need of veterinary intervention. Getting them used to it will be a gradual process and although some dogs may be alright with it, other may take longer. Don’t panic, just take it nice and slow and at the pace appropriate for your dog.

First start off by brushing your dog’s teeth with a finger brush or a gauze pad. You can then progress on to a canine-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. Ensure the toothpaste works both mechanically and chemically to remove plaque but it must not be human toothpaste as this can make your dog unwell if swallowed.

Remember, even if dogs that have all their adult teeth and aren’t teething, they still like to chew. Continue to give your dog chew toys and chew/lick edibles. This will allow them to have calm down time but also will allow them to perform natural instincts as this is how they clean their teeth naturally.

At a dental check-up, the vet will check your puppy/dog for:

  • Crooked teeth- this can either be caused by two teeth coming in at one spot or if a baby tooth hasn’t fallen out and the adult tooth is emerging
  • Jaw misalignment- some breeds that naturally have shorter muzzles may have a slight underbite which is normal. However, if your dog shows signs of a strong underbite or overbite, vet intervention may be required to prevent eating issues in the future
  • Bad breath- this isn’t normal in dogs and may be an indication if your puppy has a low grade infection
  • Broken or cracked teeth- if the tooth is broken below the gum line then the nerve is exposed which will cause your dog discomfort and may even develop an infection
  • Bleeding and swollen gums- this may only be a sign of teething
  • Tartar build up- this is uncommon in puppies but occasionally can occur. Implementing a dental routine will help reduce or even avoid dental diseases in the future

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