Bringing home a new puppy is one of the greatest feelings! Your warm and cuddly little ball of fur looks up at you with the gentlest eyes, and your heart just melts!
But inevitably the honeymoon period of calm when a puppy first comes to your house will be followed by incessant chewing and destroying your favorite furniture and shoes.
We all know that puppies go through a teething phase, but why do they need to chew? What exactly is happening that causes such destructive behavior and how long will it last?
Puppy Teething: The Expectation
Wouldn't it be so nice if our puppies would only chew on the specially designed teething toys we provided for them? But unfortunately, it never works out that way.
No matter how many options of bright and bouncy toys we give them to chew on, they'll inevitably find your favorite sneaker or flip flop more appealing.
What is going on with this kind of unnerving behavior?
Between the ages of 4 weeks and 6 months, puppies are getting in their first set of puppy teeth, then losing them all and replacing them with adult teeth. Yes, you heard that right.
By the time the puppy is 6 months old, he has grown in 2 full sets of teeth. No wonder they feel like they need to chew all the time!
You might think that chewing will slow down or stop after that, but that's not accurate. Chewing is a way for puppies to release energy, practice their intuitive predatory nature, and explore new things.
Just like human children, puppies are learning all about their environment and chewing is a part of how they learn. Some things are hard to chew on, and other things are satisfying. Learning what is appropriate to bite and what is not is just part of their learning process.
Puppy Teething: The Reality
When puppies are teething, your role as their leader is to help them work out appropriate things to chew on. It's best if you can try to get down on your puppy's level. I don't mean dropping to the floor on all fours.
What I mean is to try to think like a puppy. Consider these facts:
- Puppies get bored easily
- Puppies have a lot of energy
- Puppies are very curious
- Puppies have a short attention span
- Puppies are social creatures
- Puppies will look to their leader for direction
The number one reason puppies chew on the things you don't want them to chew on is because they are bored. You might think that providing them with a basket full of chew toys is a way to combat that boredom, but unfortunately, it is not that simple.
Your puppy needs you to guide them and show them the way to get rid of those jittery nerves that come up when puppies don't get enough activity. The absolute best way to stop your puppy from chewing up your furniture is to take him out to run around.
Whether you take your puppy for a walk around the block, send him to puppy daycare, or throw the ball in the back yard, the key is to make sure your puppy has plenty of time to run around and release pent up energy.
Aim for about an hour of playtime daily. This is a great opportunity to increase your activity as well. This could be a good chance to work into a healthier lifestyle.
FAQs about puppy teething
What can I give my puppy for teething?
Offer your puppy a variety of chew toys. There is no magic pill or thing you can do that will make your puppy stop chewing on things. Don't try to fight it. Instead direct your young dog to appropriate ways to release his need to chew.
What are the symptoms of puppy teething?
Puppies start teething at just a few weeks old. So symptoms start early and include
- Chewing on furniture and shoes
- Pawing at face
- Biting hands and feet
Can I give ice cubes to a teething puppy?
Ice cubes are not recommended for teething puppies because they can easily break their teeth on the hard cubes. If the teeth break, you may have a more complicated issue on your hands. Also, the small pieces of ice make it possible your puppy can choke.
Does teething affect my puppy's appetite?
Your puppy will eat when he is hungry. If he is choosing to chew instead of eat, just let him do it.
When do puppies lose their teeth?
Puppy teeth start falling out as young as 8 weeks and continue up to about 6 months.
How long do puppies teethe and when do they stop?
The teething period for puppies lasts about 4 months and will conclude when they grow in their canine teeth at about 6 months old.
Are they in pain?
While there may be some discomfort when teeth are coming in, your puppy should be able to alleviate any discomfort by chewing.
Can they have baby teething rings?
Puppies bite a lot harder and have much sharper teeth than human babies. It's better to stick with chew toys that will hold up to the damage their teeth can inflict.
What is the best thing to give teething puppy under 8 weeks?
It is okay to give your very young puppy small dog toys that are meant for chewing. When they are over 3 months, you can give them rawhides or similar edible chewing treats.