A family just isn’t complete without a canine companion. There’s a reason we call dogs man’s best friend but they sure can be a handful when they’re puppies. When you bring a puppy home, you’ll probably start to realize the kind of challenges they present.  One of these challenges is teething. You may have learned the hard way that teething can lead to damaged furniture, chewed up shoes and even broken skin. You’ll probably want to stop this behavior as soon as possible, so here are some tips to save your stuff and stop your puppy from chewing everything in sight.

Puppy Teeth

Puppy teeth begin to come through from as young as two weeks. At this time the puppies will still be with their mother and litter and any severe nipping may be dealt with at this time. A puppy’s litter can help the puppy to stop nipping by yelping when they receive a bite.

Puppies have up to 28 teeth that can feel like small razors against human skin. For most puppies, nipping at fingers and toes is like a game and they’ll do it when you least expect it. Some puppies will even jump to bite the ends of their owner’s hair.

Just like babies, puppies learn to explore by using their mouths. So, where do you draw the line? How do you allow a puppy to learn without having to put up with your possessions being chewed?

Symptoms of Puppy Teething

Other than nipping, one of the most common signs of puppy teething is finding spots of blood on their toys. You may see a spot of blood on your puppy’s tennis ball or even notice a spot of blood in your puppy’s bed. At around four months of age, your puppy will begin to lose his puppy teeth so his adult teeth can begin to come through. 

So, for the first few months of their lives, puppy’s can be in pain with their gums. They search for things to chew as a way to soothe their gums from the soreness. When you know this, it can be easier to be more sympathetic and understanding when you catch your puppy with your favorite shoe.

Tackling Nipping

Just as a puppy would yelp as another puppy nips it, humans can mimic the sound to teach puppies when they’re being too rough. If your puppy listens to you and backs away after a yelp, give lots of praise so he recognizes he’s done something good.

Different breeds of puppy are likely to have different severities in nipping. For instance, working dogs, like English Cocker Spaniels or Sheep Dogs, are more likely to nip harder and for longer as puppies. These kinds of dogs may benefit more from distraction rather than yelping. 

When a puppy is nipping at your fingers or toes, distract him with toys instead. Toys that squeak or rubber toys that you can refrigerate will help offer teething relief for puppies and will feel a lot better for your puppy than your skin.  

Another option is CBD oil for pets. This oil is a natural way to relieve your puppy’s teething pains and calm their mood. It can be an ideal option for puppies that suffer terribly with teething pains and sore gums before their adult teeth come through.

If your puppy continues to bite you once you’ve exhausted all of your options, stop playing him. This will tell him that nipping will never be rewarded. If you believe your puppy is biting out of aggression, rather than teething, it’s a good idea to visit your vet for some advice.

Getting Through the Puppy Stage

Having a new puppy at home is exciting and it won’t be long until your puppy enters into adulthood and becomes a much-loved member of the family. But until then, having a puppy around can be a testing time. You’ll need to put a lot of work in, in order to reap the rewards. So, how do you survive the puppy stage?

Sometimes, the best thing for teething puppies is love and security. Many people make the mistake of punishing a puppy when something in the house is ruined, but chewing or bad behavior is often a puppy’s way of communicating something. Your puppy may be in pain, he may be bored or he may have separation anxiety for the first few times he’s left alone.

As an owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure the needs of your puppy are met. A puppy that’s been adequately exercised is less likely to chew on things due to boredom. During the puppy stage, your dog will also easily tire from training. Simple tricks, like learning to sit or give a paw, can tire your puppy out for hours.

Provide your puppy with plenty of toys to play with. Opt for rubber or silicone toys, like Kongs, instead of stuffed animals. Those tiny teeth will easily rip out any stuffing in a teddy bear. 

What to Expect

So you already know that your puppy is likely to try and chew things in your home, including you. But, what else can you expect from your teething puppy? Unfortunately, this is also the time when your puppy goes through the most hormonal changes. Unlike humans, there isn’t much time between the puppy stage, adolescence and adulthood. 

You may notice that male puppies have more behavioral issues. Unneutered males can often be more protective of owners or other animals in the family and may behave strangely around new dogs. Female puppies can do anything from becoming clingy with their owners to sitting and whining at the front door. 

You can often easily correct behavior issues with positive reinforcement. By making a big deal over good behavior, it will make your puppy disregard bad behavior in favor of your attention.  

The good news is, once a dog reaches six months of age, both teething and hormonal changes will be over. Your dog will have a full set of up to 42 adult teeth and most dogs will have completely stopped nipping. Your dog will have also distinguished between the things he’s allowed to chew and the things he isn’t.

How to Care for Your Puppy’s Teeth

Caring for your puppy’s teeth is important during the puppy stage and adulthood. A dog with a healthy mouth is a happy dog. As a puppy, the focus is on keeping your dog’s gums healthy, rather than the teeth. Since your puppy will lose his first teeth anyway, it’s important his adult teeth have healthy gums to cut through. 

You can buy chews for your puppy that are designed to help stop nipping and keep his gums healthy. Keep an eye out for dental sticks that are made for puppy teeth. It’s also a good idea to get your puppy used to having his teeth and gums touched. You’ll need to take your puppy for regular check-ups at the vet clinic to ensure his adult teeth are developing properly.

The more your puppy gets used to you touching his gums, the easier it will be to keep them clean. If you’re concerned about your dog’s oral hygiene, you can buy dog safe toothpaste and a dog toothbrush to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. This is only recommended for adult dog teeth. Never brush your dog’s teeth with human toothpaste. The ingredients in human toothpaste can make your dog sick.

Understanding Your Dog

You may notice that your dog’s emotions run high. If you start jumping up and down with excitement, you’ll probably find that your dog acts in a similar way. You can help your puppy through any part of his development, including teething, by understanding how your dog’s mind works. 

The easiest way to understand your dog is to think of him as a human toddler. He’s able to understand words that you repeat, he’s able to show emotion and respond to what you’re saying and he’s more than able to misbehave. He’s also like a mirror. If you get frustrated by something he does and you shout and flap your arms around, your dog is likely to mirror your emotions.

However, if you remain calm and quietly correct your dog, it’s more likely your dog will calm down too. The more you learn about your dog and why he reacts in certain ways, the easier it will be for you to predict what your dog needs.

How to Help a Teething Puppy: Stay Patient!

Dealing with a teething puppy might be cute at first but it can become frustrating after a while. If you’re wondering how to help a teething puppy, the biggest tool at your disposal is your own patience.

Just remember: this stage won’t last forever!

Take a look at some more advice on surviving life with pets and keeping them healthy for as long as possible.