Ice cubes are great for teething puppies. Not only do they provide something for your puppy to chew on (other than your expensive furniture), but they can relieve some swelling in the gums. If your puppy doesn’t enjoy chewing on ice, try freezing chicken broth.
Most puppy parents dread the day when their sweet little friend starts teething. Suddenly your dog is chewing on everything in sight, with no consideration of what it might be. He has also developed a sudden interest in biting any hands or feet that come near him.
While it can be annoying, it’s important to remember that your puppy is very uncomfortable and is trying to seek relief however he can.
With a little preparation, you can help soothe your puppy’s mouth without allowing him to develop bad habits like chewing shoes, furniture, or hands.
Tricks to Help Teething Puppies
Ice cubes are a popular item to give to teething puppies. There was at one point a controversy about whether ice was harmful to dogs, but no evidence has indicated this is true.
Concerns that ice might cause your dog bloat have not appeared to be accurate, and many dogs are fed ice regularly with no issues.
Smaller ice chips or crushed ice can be more appropriate for puppies to prevent choking or getting the ice stuck to their tongue.
If your dog is reluctant to try ice, you can tantalize him by making your own “ice” cubes from frozen broth or a mixture of yogurt and mashed fruit.
If you can find aloe vera juice, freezing it can harness its soothing and healing properties for your dog’s mouth.
If you don’t want to give your dog ice, there are many other frozen treats he may enjoy. A common reusable option is to soak a rag or washcloth in water and leave it in the freezer.
For a special treat, your dog probably won’t say no to a bit of frozen food, such as a plain waffle or bagel, or produce such as strawberries, bananas, carrots, and apples.
There are a huge number of toys and other chews to entertain your teething puppy. Try offering him a selection and see which ones he enjoys the most. Rotate toys frequently to keep them fresh.
Rubber chew toys are great, versatile options. Make sure you choose the correct size for your puppy.
These toys can be frozen with or without peanut butter in them; they will entertain your dog for longer and provide soothing to his gums.
Avoid toys that shred easily, like rawhide, cloth, or plastic. These toys can be saved for after your puppy is no longer teething.
Lavender and Chamomile Tea
Tea made from lavender and chamomile poured over your puppy’s food can help with pain and inflammation.
For a less natural remedy, you can check a pet store or the vet for teething relief gel. Make sure you get one formulated for puppies rather than human babies.
What Exactly is Teething?
Like humans, puppies go through a period where their baby teeth, also known as “milk teeth”, fall out and are replaced by adult teeth.
During this time, they go from about 28 to 42 teeth. Vets can often tell a puppy’s age by how many teeth have come in.
You might wonder where your pup’s teeth are going. Unlike humans, dogs actually swallow most of their milk teeth. Fortunately, this is not at all harmful for them. Some teeth might fall on the floor or remain stuck in a chew toy and be left for you to clean up.
As their teeth change, puppies’ mouths are full of bacteria, bleeding gums, and discomfort. The most natural behavior for teething puppies to engage in is chewing.
Teething starts around the age of three or four months and is usually finished by six months. Those two to three months can be quite challenging for both puppies and their owners.
During this time, the most common issues are biting hands and chewing on items that don’t belong to them.
Safety First When Teething
Puppies don’t understand what is safe or unsafe to chew. Always encourage your puppy to play with soft rubber chew toys. You can smear peanut butter on the toy or fill a Kong toy to make your dog’s toys more desirable.
If your puppy is chewing on something they aren’t supposed to, remove the item and offer them an appropriate chew instead. Avoid freaking out or punishing the puppy. Instead, focusing on positive redirection.
Avoid giving your dog old personal items, like a shoe. This will confuse your dog because he cannot differentiate between the “ok” shoe and a “not ok” shoe. Items like shoes also contain several choking hazards and inappropriate materials for your puppy.
During your puppy’s teething stage, try to remove all strings and wires from each room, raising them above the puppy’s reach. Strings and wires can choke or harm your dog or even electrocute him.
Move any houseplants you have out of your puppy’s way and remove any plants that are toxic to dogs.
Other items that can be hazardous are children’s toys, shoes, and plastic bags. If you have other dogs, keep their bones and hard chews away from your puppy.
Consider buying a bad tasting deterrent spray to keep your dog from destroying your furniture and harming himself with splinters. These are commonly sold in pet stores. Spray it on the corners and legs of your furniture. It’s helpful to let your dog taste the spray before you put it on the furniture to teach him that the bad taste and smell are connected.
Teething puppies will always look for a new chew toy. No matter how many appropriate toys you offer them, they will roam around as soon as your back is turned.
Remember, puppies do not have the same judgment abilities or sense of obedience as adult dogs.
Supervise your teething puppy as much as possible, checking in on him regularly. It only takes a few minutes for a pup to get into trouble. If you aren’t able to watch your puppy, contain him with baby gates or train him to enjoy spending time in a crate. Reserve some “special,” delicious toys for crate time to create positive associations.
Using Teething to Create Training Opportunities
When your puppy gets to the biting phase of teething, it can be frustrating to deal with. Try to be calm and consistent. Some sources suggest yelping like a puppy when your pup bites you, while others swear by a calm “no” and time out or redirection. You can try both and see which your dog responds to.
Talk to every member of your household and make sure that everyone is approaching your dog’s training the same way, or else the mixed messages will undermine your efforts.
Biting doesn’t need to be tolerated or punished. A calm, consistent approach will help the behavior disappear in the same way that dogs naturally teach puppies not to bite.
One of the best training opportunities during teething is to open your puppy’s mouth, put your hand in his mouth, and rub his gums. When your dog gets used to this behavior from a young age, it will make tooth brushing, oral hygiene, and vet visits a breeze in the future.
You do not need to brush your puppy’s teeth during teething, but once his adult teeth come in, it is recommended to do so regularly.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.