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Puppy Teething: What To Know And How To Help

Like humans and many other animals, dogs are born without teeth. Their baby teeth come through around 4 to 6 weeks old, and then just a few months later, their adult teeth erupt. However, while dogs get their adult teeth quicker than humans, this doesn't mean they miss out on the teething period. Puppy teething can cause much discomfort to our furry friends, and it can also be a stressful time for us humans. Many puppies excessively chew while teething and target anything that looks soothing, such as their human's shoes or the couch. Luckily though, by knowing what to expect during this time, you can help keep your pup pain-free and your furniture undamaged. Read on to discover when dog teething starts, how long it lasts, and how to deal with it.

Puppy Teething 101

Teething is a normal part of a puppy's development. Like in children, teething occurs when a puppy's teeth start to come through. Puppies typically begin to get their tiny baby (deciduous) teeth from as young as 3 weeks old. By 6 weeks, most will have their complete set of baby teeth, about 28.  Puppies do not have their baby teeth for long, as between 3 and 4 months, they start falling out to be replaced by their bigger and sharper adult teeth. The process can be excruciating for pups as their gums are making space for 42 adult teeth, 14 more than they previously had and 10 more than humans have! Because of the discomfort caused by puppy teething, you'll likely notice your fluffy friend looking for things to chew. Unfortunately, they may begin biting and nipping you and others in the household. However, teething is just one reason for this behavior as young puppies start to bite as a way to explore and learn about their surroundings. This is because dogs experience the world through their senses, including taste. Each type of baby tooth falls out at different times throughout the teething process, starting with the incisors, the smallest ones, and finishing with the premolars. In most cases, all of a puppy's baby teeth should be out by the time they reach 6 months old. However, teething may not stop for another month as they grow their molars.  Therefore, if you've been wondering "how long do puppies teeth for?" expect your baby dog to have sore gums for several months. Puppy teething can begin around 3 weeks when they get their baby teeth, but it is not as intense as when the adult set comes through. Therefore, teething can start from 3 weeks old and continue on and off until around 6 months.

Puppy Teething Stages

One of the best ways to prepare for puppy teething is understanding the timeline around a canine's dental development. Although every puppy advances at its own rate, these are the most common milestones of teeth growth.
  • 3-6 weeks - The baby teeth come through, forming a complete set of around 28 teeth. The young pup will begin weaning around this time, testing out their new daggers by eating soft, moist food. 
  • 12-16 weeks - Puppies lose their baby teeth. During this time, their gums will be very sore, and you might notice drooling or see spots of blood on their chew toys.
  • 12-20 weeks - The incisors are the first adult teeth to erupt.
  • 12-16 weeks - The sharp, pointed canine teeth come through.
  • 16-24 weeks - The premolars erupt.
  • 20-28 weeks - Finally, the molars (the biggest teeth and furthest back in the mouth) come through, completing the set of 42 adult teeth.

Dealing With Teething

Although we do not feel the pain that our puppies go through when they teeth, this period can be frustrating for us nonetheless. As puppies look for soothing things to chew, it's not uncommon for shoes, clothes, and furniture to get damaged.  As teething is a normal process, you cannot stop a puppy from teething or eliminate its need to chew something. The best way to deal with it is to give them chew toys and treats. Luckily, many items are available that are designed specifically for this stage of puppyhood. Therefore, they feel good in a puppy's mouth and help ease the soreness and discomfort.  It may be tempting to give your pup some unneeded items to chew on, such as a tennis ball or an old pair of slippers. However, these may be a choking hazard, so buying specific chewing toys is much safer. Moreover, it can be confusing for a young pup if you let him chew some household items and not others, so it's best to make it clear that the only things they can chew are their toys.  Aside from chewing, it's common for puppies to start gnawing or biting their owners during this period. This typically happens when you are playing with them. When your pup does this, avoid hitting or shouting at them; instead, use positive reinforcement training. Stop the play session straight away and make a loud, high-pitched noise to alert them that their behavior is not ok. Then redirect your canine to a chew toy. If your puppy successfully stops biting or mouthing and chews a toy instead, reward your four-legged friend with a treat and verbal praise.

Here Are A Few More Tips and Tricks On Handling Puppy Teething:

  • Offer a selection of chew toys and treats with different textures so your pup can find the one that works best for them. Keep a couple in each room or area of the house, so they are always close by.
  • Put the chew toys or treats in the freezer before giving them to your pup. The cold temperature will help to soothe the inflammation of the gums. Some chew toys can even be filled with water and frozen.
  • If possible, supervise your puppy whenever they are in a chewing mood. This way, you can make sure they do not cause harm to themselves or ruin your furniture.
  • Keep commonly chewed items like shoes and kid's toys out of reach while training your pup. 
  • If you have any concerns about your puppy's teeth development, such as you notice excessive bleeding or aggression, take your pup to the vet for a check-up.

Final Thoughts

While raising a puppy is a delightful experience, the teething period certainly brings some challenges. You may not be able to prevent them from feeling teething pain. Still, you can ensure they do not injure themselves or anyone else when the discomfort arises.
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