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How can I Help a Teething Puppy?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Helping your teething puppy should focus on several things. These are helping to give the puppy relief from discomfort from teething, teaching the puppy that not all things in the house are chew toys, and working to make sure that the puppy does not mouth you or other members of your household. You also need to make sure that the puppy doesn't endanger itself.

When puppies start to teethe, they are likely to be slightly uncomfortable. You can give the puppy some help with this by freezing their toys or bones, so that when it chews on them, the coldness provides a numbing sensation to the gums. If you note that the gums are inflamed, a little bit of pressure and massage on the gums may also provide some soothing relief.

Not all dogs are that uncomfortable when they teethe, but the teething puppy is likely to respond to teething by wanting to chew on everything in sight. This means that you need to keep things like shoes and socks out of the way of your pet, and you shouldn't ever give a pet old household items, clothing or shoes to chew on to relieve teething. Your dog is not likely to understand the difference between your old slippers and your new ones, which can reinforce chewing behavior in later life.

First, when you can’t watch your puppy at night or when you’re not home, you may want to consider using a crate. This keeps the dog in a safe “no chewing zone” so it can’t destroy furniture, shoes or socks, magazines or whatever else is around. Also, when a puppy does get something it shouldn’t chew on, you can replace it instantly with an acceptable chew toy. Praise the puppy when it accepts the toy and begins chewing on it to reinforce the idea that there are specific puppy toys in the house.

A teething puppy can exhibit a great deal of mouthing behavior. It will mouth you and perhaps even bite. This behavior needs to be instantly discouraged so that the dog does not grow up to be a biter. When a puppy mouths or nips, redirect it instantly to an acceptable toy, and if possible, leave the puppy alone for a while afterwards. It’s also a good idea to have puppies spend time with other dogs since other dogs will tend to put a stop to mouthing behavior with a growl that can make a considerable impression.

Teething puppies can also put themselves at risk by chewing on unsafe things. You need to puppy-proof your home and make sure that the puppy can’t get to things like electrical wires and that there are no things on the ground that would hurt your pet. Don’t for instance, leave out ant stakes with poison in them, and if needed, provide a safe place within your house for your pet. Later, when teething behavior resolves, especially if you have reinforced “chew toy only” behavior, you pet is much less likely to chew on the occasional thing in reach that they probably shouldn’t have (though this not true of all dogs).

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By giddion — On Dec 17, 2012

@StarJo – Sometimes they fall out on their own, but sometimes they have to be pulled. I've had friends who saw puppy teeth inside the water bowl or food dish, while others had to take theirs to the vet and have them yanked out.

I had a puppy whose two sharpest teeth in the front remained, and the permanent teeth were growing in right alongside them. It was weird to see him with two sets of sharp teeth, and it made him look fierce!

As cool as it looked, I knew that it wasn't good for him, so I took him to the vet. She put him under and pulled the puppy teeth out.

I had some numbing gel to put on his gums afterward to help him recover. I also had some antibiotics to prevent infection.

By StarJo — On Dec 16, 2012

Do puppy teeth just fall out when the adult teeth start to come in, or do they have to be pulled? With all the chewing that my puppy has been doing lately, I wouldn't be surprised if he got all his teeth stuck in whatever he is chewing on!

By feasting — On Dec 16, 2012

I often had to step in and prevent my roommate from punishing her puppy for chewing. She seemed to be clueless to the fact that he couldn't help but chew up stuff she left lying around.

I got him some puppy teething rings and kept them cold for him. I also picked up all my roommates shoes and clothes, as well as her books and other important things. I don't know why she couldn't grasp the fact that if the puppy could reach it, then it would be fair game for a chew toy.

People need to realize what they are getting into when they adopt a puppy. No one should ever punish a puppy for doing what comes naturally. Would you punish a baby for drooling?

By healthy4life — On Dec 15, 2012

I have had many puppies in my lifetime, but I never once thought about freezing toys for puppy teething relief. I just figured that I would have to endure all the biting and chewing until the puppy grew out of that phase.

In general, this seems to happen around the age of six or seven months. After that time, I believe that the most intense teething stage is over.

By anon200291 — On Jul 26, 2011

I have found that freezing carrots was beneficial to my rottweiler.

By anon148335 — On Feb 01, 2011

can a puppy get a warm nose and hot tummy if they are teething? my puppy got into the kitchen bin yesterday and got food out on two occasions and last night she didn't want to eat. She did this morning manage to eat but she is quiet and not her normal hyper self, but on an occasion when she was chewing on my slipper which was attached to my foot i noticed it was bloody when i looked in her mouth. she has a tooth coming through, and i am not sure if her being hot could be due to this or from the fact that she has got at something in my kitchen bin. please give me some advice as i am a bit concerned and she has not long got over being ill from a different occasion. Thanks, donna.

By anon140978 — On Jan 09, 2011

I also freeze my puppy's canned food into cubes and give them to him when he acts up. he loves it.

By anon108920 — On Sep 04, 2010

My dog chayse, is teething and just today i realized a good thing to do is give your dog an ice cube and it numbs his gums (which takes away the pain with the cold) and it also reduces his "teething urge". Also freeze your dog's rope toy. All you do is soak the toy in water and freeze.

Also try getting a hollow chew toy and filling it with peanut butter and freeze it. it accomplishes what the ice does plus keeps your dog interested because of the taste so it will be less of a mess to clean up.

By ValleyFiah — On Jun 15, 2010

I never realized that teething in dogs could be such an issue. It does make sense though. My Doberman used to chew on everything; literally tearing my house apart. It was a really frustrating phase in raising a puppy. Thinking about it now, she must have been teething. I always tried to correct her behavior rather than approach the situation as a teething problem. Eventually she stopped chewing on things, making me believe that her incessant chewing was just a phase she grew out of. I learn things all the time on wiseGEEK.

By GlassAxe — On Jun 15, 2010

This article had some great ideas to help teething puppies. When my Am Staff was teething I used to soak her rope toy in water and throw it in the freezer. Wetting the rope will allow it to stay cold longer. Beware though; you might end up with wet floors when your puppy moves on to his or her next toy. I would also freeze peanut butter in the middle of her hollow rubber toy (I can't remember what they are called, but they look like a stack of progressively smaller balls). This toy often stayed cold for a while and would keep her busy for about a half hour.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia...
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