Is your puppy gnawing on anything it can find? Leaving minor bloody marks on its chew toys? Dropping little baby teeth around your home?
They are probably experiencing teething.
If you are a puppy owner, you might know that teething is an unavoidable process that your young pup will experience. As puppies grow, mature, and learn, their mouths also change. Like babies, puppies will grow baby teeth and then lose them to make room for their permanent set.
Teething can be uncomfortable for your puppy and your family as your pup will gnaw on anything in sight – even your hands. Their transitioning mouthes will often cause them discomfort. It is natural for them to try to relieve this pain through chewing.
Let’s look at a timeline of how your puppy’s mouth is changing and when you can expect their teething phase to be over.
Your growing pup is slowly learning about the world, figuring out what life is all about, and experiencing bodily changes. The movement of their teeth happens in stages from the moment they are born until their full set of permanent teeth is in, and their baby (deciduous) teeth have fallen out.
- Birth – 2 Weeks
When your puppy first enters the world, it will have no teeth at all! They will only just start to open their eyes during this time.
- 2-4 Weeks
Your puppy is still with its mother and has just started opening its eyes. They are still weening off their mom, and their baby teeth will begin to grow in. The first teeth to emerge during this time are incisors, premolars, molars, and canines.
- 5-8 Weeks
Your puppy will have all 28 of its deciduous teeth – aka their baby teeth by this age. Your pup will slowly be weaned off its mother’s food and get started on moist food. Around the eight-week mark, the baby teeth will begin to loosen and fall out.
- 12-16 Weeks
Many breeders will send your puppy home at this age, but this depends on your breeder or dog breed. This is also when permanent teeth will be pushing the deciduous teeth out, and your puppy’s mouth is making room for their new set. Your puppy will probably be experiencing some discomfort, so it is good to have chew toys ready to give them as they search for objects to gnaw on. Make sure you get safe and soft chew toys for puppies, and always monitor your young pup while they play with chew toys.
You may start to see baby teeth around your home at this time and even little marks of blood from your puppy’s mouth. This is totally normal! It is also not unusual for your pup to swallow some of its baby teeth as they chew and teeth. This could be a good time for you to ask your vet to look around in their mouth to make sure everything is moving around properly.
Another good thing to start practicing around this age is putting your hands inside and around their mouth. Getting your puppy accustomed to you touching their mouth will help you as they grow older in case of emergencies and dental issues.
- 6 Months and Up
Once your puppy is six months old, it should have a complete set of 42 permanent teeth. The teething process should be over, and their mouths will be fully matured. At this point, if you notice your puppy still has any baby teeth, you might want to ask your vet about having them removed.
Your puppy is on its way to being fully grown!
Teething tips and tricks
Unfortunately, the teething process is naturally uncomfortable for your pup and can be a nuisance if your puppy is biting you with their razor-sharp baby teeth.
It is good to replace anything they should not be chewing with a proper toy as this will teach them what is appropriate to chew. If your puppy is biting you during their teething phase, you can yelp or remove your hand to give them an understanding that this hurts you. You can help yourself by removing anything from your puppy’s reach that they might chew on that isn’t a toy.
Find more tips about teething here.
Maintaining dental health for your pup
Dog’s breath is notoriously stinky, and this is just a part of being a canine. Their mouths are different than humans and require less maintenance as they have natural mechanisms to keep their teeth and gums healthy. With that said, there are some crucial steps you can take to ensure your dog has good dental health.
Dental issues and poor dental health can lead to more severe health issues. To avoid this, brush your dog’s teeth and keep their mouth clean. They are bound to build up plaque and get food stuck, so clearing all of this out is crucial. As stated above, getting your puppy comfortable with you touching their mouth can make you and your vet’s life easier. If your pup is okay with someone feeling inside their mouth, you can catch any possible issues early and use dental tools.
Like humans, dogs benefit from a good teeth brushing. There are even dog treats meant to clean your dog’s teeth! Using a finger or pad in the beginning to wipe your dog’s teeth can start their dental health off strong, and eventually, you can graduate to a proper toothbrush. Make sure to purchase specific dog toothbrushes, and toothpaste as your dog’s mouth has different needs than yours.
If your puppy does develop a dental issue, it may require your vet to put them under anesthesia and perform a procedure to remedy the problem. If you suspect your dog is having an issue with their teeth are gums, consult your vet as soon as possible.
Knowing the teething timeline, how you can help your pup through it, and how to maintain good dental health helps you prepare for the process. Although teething may be a nuisance, it just means your pup is growing at a natural rate and maturing! Ensure your dog’s prolonged strong dental health by following the steps above and paying attention to their mouths. Accident & Illness dog insurance plans provided by Spot cover eligible treatments for dental illness, so you can get help if your dog does develop gum disease or another dental disease.