Puppy Teething And Tooth Pain – Is Your Puppy Losing Teeth?
The process known as ‘teething’ or ‘to teethe’ starts soon after a puppy is born. Within two weeks of birth, a puppy’s ‘baby teeth’ (also known as milk teeth, needle teeth or deciduous teeth) begin to erupt through the dog’s gums, these are very sharp and can do serious damage.
As they grow, puppies will continue to develop this first set of teeth which will soon start falling out, and a set of ‘adult teeth’ will replace them. The whole ordeal can be irritating and painful for the puppy, which causes them to want to bite and chew on things.
If you’re not careful your new pooch might start chewing on and destroying things around your house, to avoid this you can give them some appropriate toys and train them to only teethe on certain things.
When do puppies start teething
Baby teeth will begin poking through a puppy’s gums at around 2 weeks old. This is the start of a months-long process, ensuring this goes well will set your puppy up for the best chance at having healthy teeth, gums and jaws.
It is a natural process so you don’t need to worry too much about it as it will just ‘happen’ in time, but there are a couple things to be aware of to help it go smoothly.
When do puppies stop teethingMost breeds and dogs should have completed the teething process by 8 months old. This is when the irritation should reduce and your dog will have full use of their healthy adult teeth. If there are any remaining baby teeth at this age you should check with your vet.
Full puppy teething timeline
You probably haven’t picked your puppy up from the breeder at this stage – but for most breeds, this is the time a puppy’s baby teeth will start to come in. Dogs will generally have about 28 baby teeth but at this stage in their life puppies will still be nursing and have probably only recently started opening their eyes.
The final few teeth will come through and the puppy will be weaned away from nursing and begin eating soft foods. Puppies will learn to eat and chew at this stage, which is also taken care of by the breeder. Puppies will not usually get baby molars (the big back teeth), so don’t expect anything to be poking out back there at this age.
This is generally when you’ll be able to take a puppy home, depending on the breed or the breeder’s preferences it may be a few weeks earlier or later. It’s also the stage when a dog’s permanent adult teeth begin to push through, this will push out the baby teeth so you will probably begin to find tiny sharp puppy teeth around your house.
Adult teeth follow a general schedule to protrude from your puppy’s gums – but exceptions aren’t out of the ordinary so you should be too worried.
- Front teeth (Incisors): 2-5 months
- Front fangs (Canines): 5-6 months
- Small middle teeth (Premolars): 4-6 months
- Big back teeth (Molars): 4-7 months
The process is irritating for your puppy - you might be able to remember what it was like when your teeth started coming loose and falling out as a kid – but there are some ideas mentioned below that you can do to help your pup through the pain.
This is also about the time your puppy should be getting their vaccinations, so you can take the opportunity to ask your vet to check that your puppy’s teeth are developing properly.
Onward to 6 months
By six months old your puppy should have lost all of their baby teeth – you can check to make sure by feeling around their mouth (be careful because if there are any remaining, they’ll probably be sharp or painful). If any are left you should let your vet know because they might need to be taken out manually.
By 8 months
Most dogs will have 42 adult teeth and these should have grown in by now – they will be bigger and blunter than the baby teeth. Dogs won’t bother to look after their own teeth or mouth hygiene so you should get into habits to help them care for their teeth to ensure they aren’t getting any food stuck or problems such as gingivitis.
How to help a teething puppy
For young puppies up until 3-4 months old, there isn’t much you need to do except be aware that their teeth are developing and may be tender or itchy. Ensure they always have access to water and that the food you give them is soft.
Get some toys
Toys are a great idea and can help with the irritation, but make sure they are suitably sized, aren’t too pointy and are nice and soft – a good rule of thumb is if you can bend or flex it easily it should be fine.
Get some more toys
As your puppy’s premolar baby teeth start getting replaced by adult teeth you might notice they will want to chew on things a lot more, as their teeth and jaw gets stronger you can try solid toys such as nylon or hard rubber.
Teach your puppy what to chew
To prevent destruction around your home you should begin training and teaching them what to chew and what not to chew as soon as possible. This can also be aided with toys - as long as they’re sensible - don’t give your pup an old shoe or even a squeaky replica shoe for example.
Replace damaged toys
You should consider replacing or throwing out their smaller toys (which are probably pretty ruined at this point anyway) because if they’re too small they can become a choking hazard as your dog grows.
You should always be present when testing a new toy for your puppy to make sure they are not going to choke or hurt themselves, and in most cases, you should try to avoid leaving them alone to chew on things just in case.
Try to soothe pain
Besides providing suitable things to chew on, there isn’t much else you can do for your puppy while they are going through this phase. If they are showing a lot of discomfort, not eating, drinking or playing, or are in pain you can try to soothe their gums with cold water or put their toy in the freezer to cool it.
Ensure their teeth and gums are clean of food or anything else that might have gotten stuck, if the pain doesn’t get better or there is constant bleeding check with your vet.
Don't pull teeth
You shouldn’t try to pull any out yourself as they can have quite long roots, and if part of it breaks off and gets stuck there will be even more problems. But if there are any persistent baby teeth sticking around check with your vet, if left unchecked they can cause the adult teeth to be disrupted leaving your dog with infection, poorly arranged teeth or a bad bite.
Caring for dog’s teeth
Like people, a dog only gets one set of adult teeth – so you should look after them. Keeping your dog’s teeth and gums clean will also help prevent stinky dog breath and other problems such as plaque and tartar build-up and gingivitis.
Your dog doesn’t have the know-how to dislodge food stuck in their mouth or to deliberately clean their teeth, chewing and playing with certain toys will help to some extent, but a little more effort will go a long way. You can use a toothbrush and doggy toothpaste for a thorough clean, or at least checking every now and then that nothing is stuck in their teeth.
There are many dog chew treats on the market which are effective for cleaning out your dog’s mouth, but try to make sure they actually chew them instead of just swallowing whole!
Getting your puppy comfortable with you cleaning and brushing their teeth when they are young can make it easier to ensure a simple dental care regime. Frequent and safe interaction with their teeth and mouth, while they grow, will allow this and make it easy to look after their hygiene as a full-grown dog too.