It’s exciting to have a new puppy! Your cute and playful companion brings joy and excitement to your home. But soon, you’ll discover a few challenges that come with having a puppy — such as teething and nipping.
Your puppy has just 28 tiny teeth that are like baby teeth in humans. As soon as it’s time for teething, your pup will start nipping at anything it can chew, including your shoes, fingers and toes. While this is normal puppy behavior, you can train your pup to control its chewing and stop it from destroying everything it can lay its teeth on.
What to Do for a Teething Puppy?
When your puppy starts teething, at about 3 to 4 months, you may notice it’s drooling, or you may see little blood spots on its toys. These are normal signs of teething. Just as it is with humans, puppies experience a lot of pain and discomfort when their baby teeth are being replaced with adult teeth. The gums will be sore, and they will look for things to chew on to relieve the discomfort.
What should you do for a teething puppy? Try these steps:
- Provide your puppy with teething toys to chew.
- Choose toys you can fill with cool water or freeze to soothe the pup’s gums.
- Monitor what your puppy does periodically and ensure the toys aren’t torn to shreds.
- Make a loud, high-pitched noise any time it bites you to alert it to stop.
- Reward your puppy any time it stops nipping at you or other puppies and picks up a toy instead.
- Talk to a veterinarian if you notice any abnormal behavior during play or excessive aggression.
How to Get Puppies to Stop Chewing
During the teething period, your puppy undergoes some hormonal changes that can make it start chewing excessively. Your pup may chew on shoes, furniture and books. If you’re wondering how to keep puppies from chewing, try some of these strategies:
- Provide a lot of toys for it to practice chewing.
- Teach it to chew on its toys and not on other items.
- Provide toys made of hard nylon with space to fill with water to cool the gums.
- Avoid striking your puppy when it chews on your things. Instead, use rewards and positive reinforcement to teach it to chew its toys.
- Feed your puppy with high-quality puppy food to enhance healthy growth.
- Keep shoes, kids’ toys and other valuable items away from the puppy until it learns to chew only its own toys.
What Not to Do When Your Puppy Chews Things
A few common mistakes can lead to even more chewing. Remember, communicating with a puppy takes careful consideration — you might teach it not to chew on one shoe, but that doesn’t mean it knows not to chew on any shoes. Here are a few “don’ts” when dealing with a teething puppy:
- Avoid offering toys that look like off-limits items: If you give your puppy an old shoe to chew on, it will think shoes are OK to chew. It will struggle to understand why it’s fine to chew on some shoes but not others. Only offer toys that are unique from off-limits items.
- Avoid giving your puppy a rawhide treat: Rawhide treats are not easy for dogs to digest. They have high choking risks and can lead to intestinal blockages. Instead, offer durable toys, turkey tendon treats or puzzle feeders.
Why Won’t My Puppy Stop Chewing Things?
When your puppy is growing up, it’s normal for it to explore the world by chewing on objects. Chewing is a way to soothe the gums and relieve pain caused by the growth of new adult teeth. It’s also a way to exercise the jaws and keep teeth clean. Chewing can reduce boredom and relieve stress and anxiety, too. If your dog keeps chewing excessively, it may be due to one of the following issues.
If you notice your puppy tends to chew when it’s left alone, this may be due to separation anxiety. Many dogs experience separation anxiety. It can lead to all kinds of destructive behaviors, like urination, defecation, excessive barking, pacing and, yes, chewing. Unexpected changes in schedule, residence or household membership can cause separation anxiety. Dogs from shelters or abusive situations are more likely to experience this issue.
Try to help your puppy associate positive things with being alone, such as yummy treats or special toys. Offer them before you leave and remove them when you return. If putting on your coat and shoes triggers your puppy’s anxiety, try doing these things without actually leaving. It always helps to provide your puppy with mental stimulation and physical activities throughout the day. These offerings can reduce stress and decrease energy levels when you have to leave. If your puppy’s separation anxiety persists, talk to your vet.
Weaning is the process of replacing mother’s milk with solid foods. Weaning should be gradual, over several weeks, as the puppy grows independent. Before and during the weaning period, the puppy learns survival skills and social behaviors from the mother and litter. Weaning too early or too quickly may cause these behavioral problems into adulthood:
- Separation anxiety
- Excessive play
- Biting without inhibition
- Destruction and chewing
If you think your puppy was weaned too early, you should take action right away. It’s best to connect with your vet, who might recommend professional puppy training. You’ll also want to socialize your puppy with other puppies and dogs, which will help it learn proper behaviors.
Sometimes, puppies chew due to hunger. If your puppy is on a calorie-restricted diet, it may chew in hopes of finding additional nutrition sources. If this is the cause of your puppy’s chewing, it’ll choose objects that smell like food or remind them of food. In this case, ask your vet about your puppy’s diet and whether you should supplement it. Either way, it can help to offer your puppy yummy-smelling toys to chew on.
How Long Does Puppy Teething Last?
Puppies start teething when they’re about 4 months old. By the age of 8 months, your pup should have all 42 of its adult teeth. Teething in puppies typically lasts for about 3 to 4 months.
What Should I Do if My Puppy Eats Something It Shouldn’t?
A teething puppy might chew something potentially dangerous. You can take a few precautions to avoid this, such as:
- Always keeping an eye on your puppy when possible
- Using a crate, pen or enclosed space when you are not supervising your puppy
- Offering plenty of fun, enticing toys for chewing
- Keeping dangerous objects out of reach
Even if you’ve taken all possible precautions, hazardous chewing can happen. If you suspect your puppy has chewed something it shouldn’t, contact University Animal Clinic right away for professional veterinary services.
Contact University Animal Clinic for Teething Puppy Advice and Care
If you need more information on how to handle teething problems in puppies, give us a call at University Animal Clinic by dialing 941-355-7707. You can also come in and experience our compassionate pet care in person at our AAHA-certified facility if you live in Bradenton, Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch.