Teething is a normal part of puppyhood, and most puppy owners quickly get acquainted with the inevitable chewing — and destruction! — puppies can engage in. But don’t worry — while puppy teething can be challenging, you can take several steps to provide safe options for chewing and help reduce your pup’s discomfort.
How Long Do Puppies Teethe?
Puppies grow quickly, especially during their rapid growth stage, which occurs between 2 and 6 months of age. From about 3 to 6 months, most puppies will lose their puppy teeth.
Do Dogs Eat Their Baby Teeth?
Oftentimes yes! You might find a tooth near their dish or on the floor, but more likely, your dog will swallow their baby teeth while eating. This is perfectly normal (even if it sounds a little weird!) and harmless.
What Puppy Teething Symptoms Should You Watch For?
During the puppy teething phase, your puppy’s mouth and gums will be sore. Look for these signs that your puppy is teething:
Chewing to relieve pain
Crying or whining
Small spots of blood on items your puppy chews
Pickiness or reluctance to eat their food
If you notice more than a few dots of blood, or if your puppy seems to be in a lot of pain, we recommend consulting your veterinarian.
How Can You Soothe a Teething Puppy?
While teething is uncomfortable for a puppy, there are a few ways to help alleviate their pain. Try these tips.
Ease Their Gum Pain with a Chilled Washcloth
Put a clean, damp washcloth in the freezer for a few hours, and then give it to your puppy to provide some chilled relief. Make sure to supervise them to ensure they don’t tear and swallow pieces of the cloth.
Provide Safe Chewing Toys
Choose chew toys appropriate for your puppy’s size and provide several types and textures to encourage them to chew on the toys (instead of your shoes or the couch). Firm rubber toys with textured bumps or ridges are popular options for puppy teething toys.
Always supervise your puppy while they’re happily chomping, and regularly inspect the toys to make sure they’re not swallowing chunks of toys. Throw away any damaged toys.
Know Which Chewing Items to Avoid
Rawhides can cause intestinal blockages, and sticks can injure your puppy’s mouth. Tug-of-war or other activities that put unnecessary stress on the teeth are not recommended during this period.
Do Puppies Eat Less When Teething?
While teething, puppies often eat less and chew more. Teething can cause an upset stomach, gas and diarrhea, though these symptoms are usually short-lived. If your puppy seems to be in a lot of pain or stops eating entirely, it’s time to visit the vet.
What to Feed a Teething Puppy
If your puppy seems reluctant to eat their dry food due to teething, don’t switch to a new formula to stimulate their appetite. Changing food at this time can cause additional stress and stomach upset. Instead, follow these tips to help your puppy make the change:
Mix your puppy’s regular premium dry food with a premium wet puppy food, like IAMS™ PROACTIVE HEALTH™ Puppy with Chicken and Rice Ground or PEDIGREE® Wet Dog Food Puppy Morsels to soften the dry food and make mealtime even more appealing.
Add a small amount of warm water to dry food to soften it. Make sure to remove any leftover food after your puppy is done eating, as moist food can breed bacteria if left out.
Feeding dry food loosens the teeth so pups can get through the teething process quicker. If your puppy’s appetite loss persists, see your veterinarian before you switch food.
It’s also important to note that many types of dog treats are formulated for dogs who have already lost their baby teeth, so be sure to check the packaging to ensure they are safe for teething puppies.
While teething can be a pain for puppies and their owners, it’s important to guide your pup to the right items to chew so they can safely lose their baby teeth. Before you know it, your pup will pass the six-month mark and be one step closer to a healthy, active adulthood. Good luck!