Your puppy explores his new world with his mouth. This can be cute at times, but it can also be destructive and sometimes, painful. At just five to six weeks old, his mouth will have 28 very pointy teeth that are ready for action. Here are some tips to help you survive your puppy teething.
The first thing to remember is that the chewing and biting is completely normal behavior for a dog. Never smack your little guy if you get nipped or one of your favorite shoes gets chewed. Physical punishment is never the way to teach your dog or puppy. If you do get bit, it’s ok to react by saying, “ouch!” or something loud to let your dog know that biting hurts. This is socialization behavior that would otherwise come from playing with other pups, who may have yelped or growled instead.
While you want to teach him that biting hurts, you don’t want to discourage him from his natural way to play. After letting him know that he’s bitten too hard, offer him a toy designed for chewing. Kong makes several toys just for puppies that provide a safe and effective way to satisfy his urge to chew. They may also help with sore gums from teething.
Do remember to inspect your puppy’s toys on a regular basis to ensure that pieces aren’t coming off. You don’t want a dog of any age to be able to chew parts of his toy off as they can become a choking hazard.
Puppies, like fully grown dogs, also chew out of boredom and frustration. The best way to alleviate this is to make sure your pup gets enough exercise. Regular exercise sessions and walks will help to curb his appetite for destruction. Exercise is also a great way to bond with your new puppy. A well-exercised dog is always going to be a happier and healthier dog.
Chewing is a natural, genetically programmed canine habit, so it is your responsibility to keep things that you don’t want chewed out of his reach. It’s not fair to your young pup to leave tempting leather shoes or other irresistible objects laying around providing an invitation to chew. Pick up your valuables and close your closet doors to make life easier for both of you.
When Do Adult Teeth Come In?
Around six months old, your dog’s puppy teeth should have fallen out and the adult teeth should have come in. If you still see some baby teeth remaining, you should consult your vet. You’re never going to completely rid your dog of his need to chew, but with time and patience on your part, you will have helped him learn what is acceptable to chew.
Keeping Teeth Healthy
This is a great time to get your pup comfortable for future teeth care. By touching his mouth, raising the lips and gently massaging the teeth and gums, your dog will learn that he doesn’t need to be afraid of future teeth cleaning. When it comes time to start brushing your dog’s teeth, refer to our helpful article on canine teeth care.