If you have a new puppy in your life, you might be wondering when they will start to lose their baby teeth and grow their adult ones.
Teething is a natural process that all puppies go through, but it can also cause some challenges for both you and your furry friend.
Disclaimer: The medical/health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Read more.
Here are some things you need to know about puppies and teething, and how to make this transition easier for everyone.
When do puppies start teething?
Puppies are born without any teeth, but they start to develop their deciduous teeth (also known as milk teeth or baby teeth) around 2 to 4 weeks of age.
These teeth are small, sharp, and white, and they help the puppy to chew its food and explore its environment. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth in total, 14 on the top and 14 on the bottom.
Around 12 to 16 weeks of age, puppies begin to lose their deciduous teeth and replace them with their permanent teeth (also known as adult teeth).
This process is called teething, and it can last until the puppy is about 6 months old. Puppies have 42 permanent teeth in total, 20 on the top and 22 on the bottom.
How can you tell if your puppy is teething?
Teething can cause some discomfort and irritation for your puppy, so you might notice some signs that indicate they are going through this phase.
Some common signs of teething are:
- Chewing on everything
- Bleeding gums
- Missing teeth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Whining or crying
- Reduced appetite
How can you help your puppy with teething?
Teething is a normal and necessary part of your puppy’s development, but it can also be a stressful and painful time for them.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your puppy cope with teething and prevent any damage to your belongings or their health.
Here are some tips:
- Provide plenty of safe and appropriate chew toys for your puppy. Chewing helps to relieve the pressure and pain in their gums, as well as to clean their teeth and prevent plaque buildup. Avoid giving your puppy anything that is too hard, too small, or that could splinter or break off, such as bones, antlers, sticks, or rawhide. Instead, opt for soft rubber toys, nylon bones, rope toys, or frozen treats.
- Monitor your puppy’s chewing behavior and redirect them if they try to chew on something they shouldn’t. Puppies don’t know the difference between your shoes and their toys, so it’s up to you to teach them what is acceptable and what is not. If you catch your puppy chewing on something inappropriate, say “no” firmly and offer them a suitable alternative. Praise them when they switch to the toy and ignore them when they go back to the forbidden object.
- Check your puppy’s mouth regularly and look for any signs of infection or injury. Teething can cause some bleeding and inflammation in your puppy’s gums, but these should heal quickly and not cause any serious problems. However, sometimes a deciduous tooth might not fall out properly and get stuck in the gum, creating a risk of infection or damage to the permanent tooth underneath. This condition is called retained deciduous tooth, and it requires veterinary attention. If you notice any swelling, pus, foul odor, or abnormal growths in your puppy’s mouth, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
- Be patient and gentle with your puppy during this period. Teething can make your puppy more irritable and sensitive than usual, so try not to scold them too harshly or handle them roughly. Remember that they are not trying to annoy you or destroy your things on purpose; they are just going through a natural phase that will pass soon enough. Give them lots of love and attention, and reward them for good behavior.
Puppies go through a lot of changes during their first few months of life, and teething is one of them. It’s important to understand what to expect during this time so you can help your pup through it.
Teething can be uncomfortable for puppies, and they may try to soothe their sore gums by chewing on things they shouldn’t. Be sure to provide them with plenty of chew toys and supervise them when they’re playing to prevent any accidents.
With a little patience and understanding, you’ll get through this teething phase and enjoy many happy years with your furry friend.