Medically reviewed by Dr. Sara Ochoa
As you’ve figured out by now, the teething phase can be a challenge for dog owners and their puppies. Teething pain is real!
Your little puppy is full of energy, eager to explore, and has a wild desire to chomp down on everything and everyone.
Personally, I knew my puppy was teething after she chewed my favorite pair of shoes along with other random household items.
It didn’t take me long to figure out a few good home remedies for teething puppies.
In this post, we’ll guide you through 5 easy home remedies for teething puppies. Get tips on how to care for your puppy’s teeth including home remedies to ease the transition from baby teeth to permanent pearly whites.
Quick Facts on Puppy’s First Teeth
The teething stage goes by surprisingly fast, although it might not feel like it at the time.
The following are some facts on teething puppies, including information on when their baby teeth fall out and what to expect as your puppy’s teeth grown in.
- Puppies are not born with teeth.
- Puppies first have deciduous teeth, which fall out to make way for permanent teeth.
- The teething process in puppies begins at about 3 weeks of age.
- The incisors appear first at about 2-3 weeks of age.
- Puppies have a total of 6 incisors on the top and bottom jaw.
- Puppies should have a full mouth of baby teeth by 5-6 weeks of age.
- Puppies have 28 baby teeth in total.
- Puppies begin losing their baby teeth (or milk teeth) between 12-16 weeks of age.
- All puppy teeth should have fallen out by the time your puppy is 6 months of age.
- Adult dogs have 42 teeth which should all be grown in from about 6 months and older.
4 Signs Your Puppy is Teething
Teething is as uncomfortable for puppies as it is for human babies. Chewing everything in sight is your first clue that the process has begun.
The following are common signs of teething in puppies:
An increase in drool may be a sign that your puppy has begun teething.
Increased Need to Chew
The feeling of pressure against your puppy’s gums where the new teeth are pushing through will cause your dog to try and chew on a variety of things, including your fingers.
Bleeding or Swollen Gums
Teething can sometimes cause the gums to bleed a little. You may also notice a little swelling where those razor-sharp teeth are trying to poke through.
Some dogs, especially those eating dry food, might eat with more caution. They may try to move food around their mouths to avoid gum pain.
This is because the gums become more sensitive and painful to touch. Hard, dry food may be a little more difficult to eat than wet dog food.
How to Protect Your Teething Puppy
Teething puppies don’t care what they chomp on, they just want to chew. A random plastic bag on the floor is no different from a rubber dog toy to a puppy.
The easiest way to protect your puppy (and your personal things) during the teething period is to pick up random objects around the house. Things like remote controls, small children’s toys, and hanging wires can all be dangerous for puppies.
Use a baby gate to keep your puppy from roaming. The fewer rooms your puppy has to explore, the easier it will be for you to ensure his or her safety.
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5 Home Remedies for Teething Puppies
Puppies, like babies, can’t tell you when they’re in pain. What they both have in common is a natural instinct to want to chew on something.
Unfortunately, your little puppy doesn’t realize that the soft leather of your shoes is not the answer. If you’ve noticed your dog is teething (see above), there are a few at-home tricks you can try.
Keep in mind that the following suggestions may not work on every dog. If one thing doesn’t work, try another!
1. Frozen Dish Towel
Keep a small, clean, dish towel in the freezer to offer your puppy. The cool fabric will feel good on his or her tender gums for a while.
It might even be a good idea to keep a few wash clothes in the freezer so that you can switch them out frequently.
2. Frozen Vegetables
Cook sweet potatoes, mash them up good, and pop them into ice cube trays for a sweet and soothing treat. Cold carrots straight out of the refrigerator can also help.
The best idea is to give your puppy the whole carrot to chew on.
Chopping carrots into smaller pieces can be a choking hazard. Be sure to supervise your dog while he or she is nibbling away.
Read this post by USA Today on how to safely prepare vegetables for your dog, including which vegetables to avoid.
3. Frozen Fruit
You can offer whole frozen fruit like strawberries or banana chunks to your little puppy.
4. Puppy Safe Chew Toys
There are many types of teething products on the market. Look for good quality products designed to withstand sharp little teeth.
We’ve put together a gallery of products below:
5. Nylabone Puppy Chew Pacifier
The Nylabone Puppy Chew Pacifier is designed to encourage positive play and teach your puppy healthy chewing habits. It’s a great option for satisfying your teething puppy’s need to chew.
Chew toys are an important part of a growing puppy’s life. They can help fight boredom while providing an outlet for their need to taste and explore the world around them.
They’re also a life saver when you have a teething puppy!
Use the following list as a guide to use when shopping for safe, appropriate chew toys.
- Make sure the toy is an appropriate size to avoid choking.
- Look for special puppy teething toys that can be frozen.
- Look for toys with interesting shapes and textures.
- Most importantly, look for quality, durable toys like Kong toys. Smear a little peanut butter around the rim of your puppy’s Kong toy to encourage chewing.
Make sure to keep an eye on toys and throw them away when they show signs of wear and tear.
What chew toys should be avoided?
Unfortunately, some items can damage your dog’s teeth. Others can easily become choking hazards. The following is a list of items to avoid giving your puppy (and adult dog):
- Meat bones (can fracture a tooth or get stuck in a dog’s mouth requiring surgical removal)
- Antlers (too hard for a puppy and can cause mouth injury or choking)
- Tennis balls (the fuzzy coating can wear down enamel of permanent teeth)
- Cow hooves (too hard for puppy’s teeth)
- Ice cubes (some dogs may damage a tooth if they chomp down on the ice cube)
- Sticks (can splinter, become jagged, can puncture the dog’s mouth, causes tooth, bone, and gum damage)
- Nylon chew toys (might be too hard for a teething puppy)
Why You Should Start Cleaning Your Puppy’s Teeth Soon
Your dog’s oral health is important at all stages of life. A dog’s permanent teeth, like human’s teeth, need to last the rest of their lives.
A regular dental routine can help your dog avoid periodontal disease, which can lead to gum infections, loss of teeth, and serious health problems.
How to Brush Your Puppy’s Teeth the Easy Way
You may wonder why you should bother to take care of your puppy dog’s teeth. They’re going to fall out, after all!
The reality is that your dog has a whole lifetime of dental care ahead of him. By starting early, you help establish a regular dental routine. Also, the earlier your dog gets used to the sensation and the taste, the better.
When should I start brushing my puppy’s teeth?
Start brushing your puppy’s teeth at 6 weeks of age. At this early stage, it’s more about playfully allowing your puppy to get used to you working around his or her mouth.
Practice when your puppy is resting or sitting on your lap. Remember to give lots of praise and don’t force it.
The best way to is to start slowly. Place a small dab of pet friendly toothpaste on your finger and gently rub the toothpaste over your dog’s front teeth. At this early stage, the expectation is less about making sure every tooth is brushed, and more about getting your dog used to the process.
When your puppy is ready for a toothbrush, place the brush under the lip and gently rub it back and forth over a tooth. You might only get a few seconds worth of brushing in, and that’s okay!
The idea is that gradually, through positive reinforcement and high value treats or rewards, your puppy will get used to daily brushing.
What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use for my dog?
You can use a soft bristled child-sized toothbrush. However, there are high quality dog toothbrushes on the market that offer longer handles and shapes better suited to a dog’s mouth.
Please see examples of great products to try. The following are affiliate links which means if you decide to make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a small commission.
What’s the best toothpaste to use for dogs?
Shop for toothpaste that is specifically designed for pets. Human toothpaste can contain harmful ingredients, like Xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.
Summing it up
Teething puppies are a handful, for all kinds of reasons. They want to explore, play, and offer you companionship at the same time.
It’s important to remember that your puppy is going to through a number of phases as he or she grows into an adult dog. One of those phases is the dreaded teething process.
Teething, unfortunately, hurts. The natural urge to chomp on something is hard for your puppy to ignore. That’s why he or she is likely to go after your shoes or furniture if there’s nothing else available.
The best way to help your dog through this period is to have home remedies on hand. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to help your dog. Something as simple as a frozen dish rag can go a long way in alleviating some discomfort.
If you believe your puppy is having more pain than he should, or you’ve noticed that the baby teeth haven’t fallen out and are crowding the permanent teeth, contact your veterinarian.
Some dogs have retained baby teeth that causes overcrowding in the mouth.
This can lead to an abnormal jaw position, palate biting, and can make it difficult for your puppy to eat properly. Always seek the medical advice of a licensed veterinarian if you suspect there is a problem.
Teeth, Teething and Chewing in Puppies | VCA Animal Hospitals. (n.d.). Vca. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/teeth-teething-and-chewing-in-puppies
How to Pick the Best and Safest Dog Toy. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/safe-dog-toys
Munford, Malena. “Puppy Dental Care: Teeth, Teething and Tooth Care — River Landings Animal Clinic in Bradenton, Florida.” River Landings Animal Clinic in Bradenton, Florida, 3 Feb. 2022, www.riverlandingsanimalclinic.com/news/puppy-dental-care-teeth-teething-and-tooth-care.
Shastri, Anant. “Puppy Teething: Stages, Symptoms, and Solutions.” Veterinarians.org, 5 Oct. 2018, www.veterinarians.org/puppy-teething.