Is your puppy aged between 12 weeks and 6 months? Are they chewing anything they can get their claws on? Drooling more than usual? Seem tentative with their food? Have you noticed any blood on their toys or in their drool? If so, it sounds like your puppy is teething!
Table of contents
Puppies go through teething too?
Yes! Just like us, the first teeth that your puppy gets are his baby teeth (or deciduous teeth). Between 3 and 6 months these teeth will gradually fall out and be replaced by his permanent, adult teeth. Most people don’t even notice that their puppy is teething. They seem to be a lot more resilient about it than the human babies that we are more used to, so you may not notice anything at all. The teeth they lose will often simply be swallowed. Or you may find them around the house (standing on them in bare feet can be particularly painful!). But occasionally, they will show you signs that they are struggling.
How do I know if my puppy is teething?
If your puppy is around that age, they will most certainly be teething. The main thing that most people will notice is that they are obsessed with chewing! They will try to chew anything and everything and will be quite determined. This is normal puppy behaviour anyway, as puppies learn to explore the world through their mouths. But there is no doubt that the discomfort associated with teething plays its part also. They may also drool a bit more than usual, you may notice small amounts of blood on their toys or in their drool, and of course you may find the teeth themselves.
What can I do to help?
The best thing you can do is provide plenty of safe, appropriate chew toys for your puppy. This means they can satisfy their need to chew without destroying any of your precious possessions! Try to have a variety of shapes and textures to choose from. Sometimes it can help to put their toys in the fridge or freezer for a little while so that they are cold. The cold can help to soothe their gums. Cold from the fridge vegetables such as carrots can also make chew toys that doubles as a snack!
If your puppy seems to be in a lot of discomfort then it may be a good idea to take them to the vet, just in case there is something more going on than just standard teething. Do not give your puppy any over the counter human painkillers, or any painkillers that have been prescribed for another dog without speaking to your vet. Not all human medications are suitable for dogs, and not all medications for adult dogs are suitable for puppies. So always check with your vet before giving anything.
What can go wrong?
Problems are very, very rare – but occasionally puppies can develop what’s called a malocclusion – this means that the permanent teeth erupt in the wrong position and so the upper and lower teeth don’t meet each other correctly. This may cause no problems at all to your puppy’s life, or it may mean that the misplaced teeth cause trauma and pain to the delicate soft tissues of the mouth, which may mean that corrective dentistry is required.
Another problem that can sometimes happen, is that the permanent teeth can erupt before the deciduous teeth have been lost, and sometimes the deciduous teeth can even stay permanently alongside the permanent teeth. This usually causes problems over time, as the teeth will be overcrowded, and so will be prone to extra plaque build up, causing periodontal disease from an early age. If noticed early, these persistent deciduous teeth can be removed easily at an early stage, for instance at the time that your pet is being neutered.
This is why, if you suspect that your puppy is suffering more than you would expect with teething, it is always a good idea to bring them to the vet.