Top 5 Tips For Teething Puppies!
By Emily Hoppmann, DVM
Teething can be a very tricky time for new pet owners to find good outlets for puppies to be able to teeth, but not be destructive. Puppies have discomfort associated with their baby teeth coming in and when the adult teeth start to erupt. Adult teeth start to come in around three months of age and start to come in first in the center of the mouth and work their way to the back. You often will not see the baby teeth as they are lost since most puppies end up swallowing the teeth while they are eating or teething on something, but swallowing the teeth does not pose any danger to your baby. We want to offer you some simple suggestions to keep your puppy properly occupied and not destroying all of your favorite shoes or house!
1. Offer frozen low-sodium broth in dixie cups or as home-made ice cubes. This cool option allows them to chew and eventually consume something that also helps to numb the gingiva (gums) which helps ease any discomfort.
2. Offering cold carrots (either baby carrots or sliced or shaved larger carrots) may also help relieve discomfort and they offer vitamins and minerals in a low-calorie treat option. This is also something that can be done throughout your pet’s life as a good alternative to higher calorie treats, so it is good to introduce them early in your pet’s life. Veggies are always a good way to reduce the amount of calories fed and feel free to try different kinds – just avoid onions, avocados, garlic, and chives.
3. You can also try frozen fruit, such as strawberries or bits of banana – really any fruits are also good low-calorie options (just like veggies), but be sure to avoid grapes and raisins. These home-made cold packs may help relieve oral discomfort and the fruit is edible (although it may get a little messy). You do not want to overdo it on the fruits since they can be high in sugar and keep in mind that if the fruit is high in water in can sometimes cause loose stools.
4. Another easy to do teething option can be made by wetting a dishrag or towel, twisting it into a rope-like shape and freezing it. This can also be done to a store-bought rope toy by wetting it and then freezing it. The cold helps relieve oral discomfort, and the chewiness of the towel helps encourage proper biting behavior. This is especially important if your pet is exhibiting inappropriate biting behavior (such as chewing on people’s fingers and toes). You want to stop the behavior right away, say no, then offer a proper chew toy and praise your dog for chewing on it. This is also why you never want to play with your pet by having them chase your fingers or toes – it will teach them that these are appropriate play items and they won’t understand why they shouldn’t bite.
5. There are also puppy-specific toys, such as Chilly Bones, Nylabones or Kongs, that are great for chewing. Kongs can also be filled with water or low-sodium broth and frozen (just tape the ends when you first fill it up).