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Puppy Teething Symptoms: The Bite-by-Bite Breakdown of Your Pooch's Pearly Whites - PawSafe
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Puppy Teething Symptoms: The Bite-by-Bite Breakdown of Your Pooch’s Pearly Whites

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

puppy teething symptoms

Puppies are a bundle of boundless energy and playful nips. But amidst the endless cuddles and wagging tails, you might be facing a little challenge: teething. And let’s just say, this transition can be… eventful. But how do you know when your pup is starting to get their adult teeth and what are the signs and symptoms?

Puppy dentition is normal, and understanding the symptoms can help you navigate this phase with more smiles and less chewed-up belongings. As new teeth poke through the gums, your little buddy might experience discomfort, leading to some common symptoms. It’s important for you as a pet owner to recognize these signs so you can provide relief.

So, how do you know your young canine  is going through this tooth-tastic transformation? Buckle up, pup parents, because we’re about to dive into the world of puppy dentition symptoms with the aid of Dr. Philippe Hennet and his colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania in their work on how the heads and teeth of young pups develop (called craniofacial development). We also dive into how to prevent behavior problems in puppies during this time.

The process how teeth develop and arrange themselves in the mouth is called dentition. And this can be trying time for many pet parents, so let’s take a closer look at how to spot the signs and keep your shoes and cellphone chargers intact.

The Teething Timeline

Teething — like a surprise pop quiz in chew toy class, your puppy will start showing signs before you know it, and the whole process can last a few months! Let’s break it down by the stages of when puppies lose their baby teeth.

First Signs

When you start spotting your peppy pup nibbling on everything, it’s a heads-up! This usually happens around 3 to 4 weeks of age. You might notice a bit more drool than usual, or perhaps your puppy’s a bit grumpier — imagine teething, but without the luxury of ice cream for relief.

Peak Teething Period

Grab the chew toys and circle your calendars! At around 4 to 6 months old, your furry friend reaches the peak of teething shenanigans. This is prime time for those razor-sharp baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to muscle their way in. You’ll likely find tiny teeth on the floor (souvenirs from your pup’s journey to adulthood) and your pup might want to chew more to relieve the gum discomfort.

Completion of Teething Process

Phew, you’ve both made it! By the time your puppy is around 6 to 7 months old, the full set of pearly whites should be in place. Now, your pup’s smile is equipped with 42 adult teeth — that’s a lot more than our mere 32, so keep those chew toys handy for their sake (and your shoes’!).

Recognizing Normal Teething Symptoms In Puppies

When your puppy starts teething, it’s like a toothy tornado hit your home! Let’s go on a little ‘symptom safari’ to spot the signs.

1. Chewing Obsession

You’ll notice your little furball turns into a chew-chew train, gnawing on everything. Shoes, furniture, your fingers – nothing’s off limits! This is because chewing feels like a nice massage for their sore gums.

2. Excessive Drooling

Get ready for puddles of drool – and maybe keep a mop handy. This slobbery phase is as normal as a baby with a teething ring. Your puppy’s mouth works overtime to soothe those budding pearly whites.

3. Sore or Swollen Gums

Peek into your pup’s mouth and you might see gums that are redder than a ripe tomato. Gently rub them; if your puppy seems to love it or flinches, those gums are likely tender and sore.

4. Irritability and Mood Changes

One minute they’re your cuddly companion, the next they’re Grumpy McGrumpface. Like a moody teen, puppies can get super irritable when their teeth are coming in. Extra snuggles might just be the magic remedy.

5. Sleep Disruption

Teething might turn dreamy nights into a series of wake-up woofs. If your normally sleepy pup is up all night, chances are their teeth are to blame. Patience and cozy cuddles are key!

6. Floppy or Droopy Ears (In Pups That Have Erect Ears)

When puppies like German Shepherds are teething, their ears might droop a bit. This happens because their bodies are using a lot of calcium to make their new teeth strong. Since the ears also need calcium to stay perky, they can get a little floppy during this time. But don’t worry, once the teething is over and everything balances out again, their ears usually perk back up like normal. It’s just a part of growing up for them!

More Concerning Symptoms of Teething: When There Could Be A Bigger Problem

How do you know if your puppy’s symptoms are normal or if there’s a bigger issue. Let’s take a look at some red flags.

Fever

Puppies generally do not develop a fever from teething. A normal puppy temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 °F. So, if your puppy has a fever (temperature above 102.5 °F), this could indicate an infection or another health issue, not related to teething.

Diarrhea

Teething itself usually doesn’t cause diarrhea (or vomiting). However, puppies might chew on various objects during this phase, which can lead to  tummy upset.

Persistent diarrhea, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, could be a sign of something more serious than teething and warrants a vet visit.

Loss of Appetite

A puppy may have a slightly reduced appetite due to gum discomfort. They might prefer softer foods or chew less. But, a significant or prolonged loss of appetite is not a typical teething symptom. If your puppy is refusing food consistently, it’s best to consult a veterinarian.

Tiredness

Mild tiredness can occur as teething can be a bit stressful and uncomfortable for puppies, leading to less activity. However, if your puppy is excessively lethargic or unresponsive, this is not a typical sign of teething and could be a medical emergency.

Teething vs. Other Concerns

Puppyhood is full of chewing, gnawing, and a bit of crying — kind of like a horror movie for your shoes! But knowing the difference between normal teething troubles and serious issues is key to keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

Normal Symptoms

When your puppy is teething, expect to find a trail of toys, and even a few surprises that used to be your prized possessions, chewed to bits. Here’s what’s normal:

  • Mild Discomfort: Your pup might whimper or gnaw more than usual.
  • Drooling: Don’t slip! You might find a few more puddles than before.
  • Chewing: Your puppy suddenly believes everything is a chew toy.
  • Missing Teeth: Seeing gaps? Don’t worry, the Tooth Fairy is on her way.
  • Slight Bleeding: A bit of blood on their toys is normal — no need for alarm.

When to See a Vet

Sometimes, the signs can point to issues beyond the teethers. Keep an eye out for these symptoms and consider a vet visit:

  • Excessive Loss of Appetite: If your little chomper isn’t chomping, it’s time for a check-up.
  • Persistent Bad Breath: If your pup’s breath could knock you out, something might be up.
  • Swollen Gums: If their gums are looking more puffed up than your popcorn, get them seen.
  • Reluctance to Chew: If they’re turning their nose up at chew toys, that’s a red flag.
  • Diarrhea or Vomiting: Messes on the carpet that aren’t from excitement are worth a vet visit.

Soothing Your Teething Puppy: Home Remedies for Teething Pups

When your furry little buddy starts teething, they’re going to want to chew on anything they can get those itchy gums on. You can save your shoes and furniture by offering relief through a few puppy-approved methods.

Safe Chew Toys

Rubber Toys: These are your best friends when it comes to teething puppies. Think about rubber chew toys that can take a chomping and bounce right back. Bonus points if they’re hollow — you can stuff them with treats to keep your pup busy.

Squeaky Toys: Let’s be real, puppies are like kids, and a squeak can turn any boring toy into a party in their mouth! Just make sure no small parts can come off and turn the fun into a trip to the vet.

Teething Treats and Foods

Frozen Carrots: That’s right, the orange veggies aren’t just for snowman noses. Pop them in the freezer, and they make for a crunchy, healthy snack that soothes sore gums.

Teething Biscuits: You can find biscuits made just for teething puppies. They’re harder than regular treats, which gives your pup something good to gnaw on besides your fingers.

Cold Remedies

Chilled Rope Toys: Soak a rope toy in water and freeze it. The cold helps numb the gums and reduce inflammation. Plus, it’s basically a popsicle for pups!

You can also fill a Kong with sodium-free broth and their usual food and freeze it. Let them chew on the frozen Kong to get their dinner and this will both soothe their gums and keep them away from your shoe closet.

Ice Cubes: Plain old ice can do the trick. It’s like an ice pack for their mouth — just be sure to supervise so they don’t try to swallow them whole.

Puppy Teething Aids

Teething Gels: Puppy-safe teething gels can be found at your local pet store — but read that label! You want something non-toxic and vet-approved.

Soft Plushies: Sometimes, your puppy just needs a soft friend. Plush toys can offer comfort without putting too much pressure on those tender gums — think of them as the teddy bears for teething puppies.

Maintaining Good Oral Health

Getting through the teething phase is like navigating a furry little minefield of nips and chomps. But here’s the scoop: keeping those growing pearly whites healthy is a big deal. So, let’s dive into some tooth truths about puppy dental care!

Brushing Puppy Teeth

Start with a doggy toothbrush and flavored toothpaste that’ll make your pup think it’s treat time. Two to three times a week should do the trick. Make it fun, go slow, and give plenty of praises — your puppy’s smooches will thank you!

Regular Dental Check-Ups

Just like kids, puppies need to see a doc for their chompers. Yearly visits to the vet will ensure their bite is as strong as their bark. Plus, it’s the perfect chance to brag about your fur baby!

Dental Hygiene Treats

Who knew snacks could clean your dog’s teeth? Choose vet-approved treats that reduce tartar and say goodbye to dragon breath. Remember, treats are goodies, not main courses, so don’t go overboard.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the worst weeks for puppy teething?

The most challenging weeks for puppy teething are typically between 12-20 weeks of age. This is when most puppies experience the peak of discomfort as their adult teeth are coming in, replacing their baby teeth.

How do I know if my puppy is teething?

Signs that your puppy is teething include increased chewing or biting, drooling, swollen and red gums, light bleeding from the gums, and sometimes finding baby teeth around your home. Puppies might also be more irritable during this time.

Is it normal for my puppy to drool while teething?

Yes, it’s normal for puppies to drool more than usual while teething. The process can be uncomfortable and stimulate excess saliva production, leading to drooling.

Do puppies get sick when teething?

Puppies generally do not get sick in the traditional sense when teething. However, they may experience symptoms like slight discomfort, irritability, and changes in eating habits. If your puppy shows signs of illness, such as vomiting or severe lethargy, it’s best to consult a veterinarian.

Do puppies get diarrhea when teething?

Teething itself usually doesn’t cause diarrhea in puppies. However, if they chew on non-food items or experience stress from teething, it could potentially lead to digestive upset, including diarrhea. If diarrhea persists, it’s important to consult a veterinarian.

Do puppies get a fever when teething?

Puppies typically do not get a fever when teething. If your puppy has a fever (above 102.5°F), it’s more likely to be due to an infection or illness, not teething, and you should seek veterinary advice.

What are the symptoms of teething in a 6-month-old puppy?

At 6 months old, a teething puppy might still show symptoms like chewing on objects, drooling, slight irritability, and possibly swollen gums as the last of the adult teeth come in. This is the tail end of the teething process.

What are the teething symptoms in a four-month-old puppy?

A four-month-old puppy will typically exhibit vigorous chewing behavior, drooling, red or swollen gums, and might have some minor bleeding from the gums. You may also notice them being a bit more restless or irritable.

Do Teething puppies lose their appetite?

Teething puppies may temporarily lose their appetite due to gum discomfort. They might eat less or be pickier with their food. Providing soft food or cold treats can help alleviate their discomfort. However, if the loss of appetite is severe or prolonged, consult a veterinarian.

Final Thoughts

Teething in puppies, much like with human babies, is a phase that’s both adorable and a bit of a pain – for you and your pup! But hey, it’s a part of growing up, and you’ve both got this.

Remember these tidbits:

  • You might find gnawed-on furniture or a few extra holes in your shoes. Keep chew toys handy to save your valuables.
  • Expect a bit of drool. It’s totally normal. Maybe keep a mini towel nearby for a quick wipe-up?
  • Be gentle when you play. Those little teeth can be super sensitive.

Here’s a quick list to keep in mind:

  • Symptoms: Light chewing something fierce? That’s a sign.
  • Toys: Rubber or soft toys can be soothing.
  • Vet Visits: If you’re worried, a quick check can’t hurt.
  • Patience: Like all phases, this too shall pass.

No need to fret! You’re doing a great job. Keep those chew toys coming, steer clear of those tiny landmines (aka puppy teeth), and give your furry friend some love. They’re learning and growing every day, and so are you!

References

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Tamsin De La Harpe

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Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.