When do puppies stop chewing everything? After potty training, puppy chewing can be a nightmare, so how long does it last and what can we do about puppy chewing?
Raising a puppy is a joyful time, but the frustration is undeniable when puppies chew everything in sight. As soon as a puppy begins teething, no shoe, laptop charger, or even table leg will be safe again.
It is important to prepare yourself for this unpleasant stage of puppyhood. Some puppy owners get exasperated and give up on the pet entirely, which shouldn’t be the case. Read along to learn what teething is, when it ends, and how to deal with it as it runs its course.
When do puppies stop chewing everything?
Puppies generally grow out of chewing between 6 and 8 months. Generally, as soon as they are able to begin exploring, they will start to mouth on things in their environment. This is how they learn, much like how a toddler puts everything in their mouth.
But chewing becomes far more of an issue around 3 months, when their front row teeth will begin to fall out. After that, they will continue to gnaw while teething for roughly three months until all their adult teeth have fallen out.
For many puppies, the 6 month mark does not mean the end of chewing though. It will still be fun and satisfying activity for many of them until they reach mental and emotional maturity between eight and eighteen months, depending on the type of puppy. A small breed like Bichon Frise will likely stop at around the 6 to 8 month mark, but larger breeds with more pent-up energy such as a Pit Bull, may chew for much longer.
Even then, a small amount of puppies will take chewing into adulthood as an unwanted behavior if they suffer from anxiety, boredom or frustration. But first, let’s talk about teething.
What Is Teething in Puppies and When Does it End?
Teething is the process in which puppies lose their baby teeth, and adult teeth start setting when they reach about 3 months of age. Teething typically ends at around 6 to 8 months when all adult teeth emerge after milk teeth fall out. Chewing relieves teething pain, which accounts for the infamous puppy destruction stage.
Looking into puppy dentition is the key to understanding teething better. Puppies have a set of 28 tiny but razor-sharp baby teeth that begin growing at 2 weeks of age. Milk teeth emerge fully at 5 to 6 weeks, around the time they start weaning.
The baby teeth start falling out at around 3 to 4 months of age to make room for the 42 adult teeth. Human beings have only 32 teeth giving dogs an extra 10 teeth in comparison. Puppies experience persistent pain during teething because the falling and growing of teeth leave the gums sore.
By 6 months of age, the complete set of adult teeth is in place for most dogs. The process takes as long as 8 months for other pups.
Since we’re talking teeth, puppyhood is the perfect time to get your dog used to brushing. Start by gently touching your puppy’s mouth and teeth, but be careful because those teeth are sharp and can nip.
Puppies deal with teething pain by biting on nearby objects. They gnaw on things indiscriminately because puppies are too young to understand what is unacceptable to chew. You can find holes in your shoes and bite marks on your priced furniture. Anything is fair game.
You can opt for a dog deterrent spray if you want a quick solution for puppy chewing that’s out of control. The PawSafe anti-chew spray consists of a safe bittering agent that will deter your puppy from chewing. This no chew spray is made out of human-grade ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about how safe it is for your puppy.
Teething is inseparable from puppyhood, and the best we can do is manage it until it passes. 6 months of intense chewing may seem like an awfully long time, especially if your household items suffer from your pup’s teeth. However, this time will pass quite smoothly with a few tricks up your sleeve.
How to Deal with Chewing in Puppies Due to Teething
While teething is unavoidable, there are some useful tips and remedies that will help you deal with excessive chewing better. Some pet owners take precautions such as opting for soothing gels that alleviate the pain that puppies experience during teething.
Other signs that your puppy is experiencing teething include red and swollen gums, drooling, and irritability. If all signs point to a teething puppy, here are 5 remedies to help you cope with excessive chewing.
Provide Safe Puppy Chew Toys To Redirect Chewing
Chewing relieves teething pain in puppies because the objects chewed massage the sore gums. Quality chew toys made of heavy-duty and durable rubber are the safest options for items your pup can chew. Giving your puppy bones is a sensitive topic because milk teeth are fragile, and bones can damage them.
Bones are only safe once your puppy’s adult teeth are fully grown at around 6 to 8 months. And even then, it should be large cow bones that are too big to swallow. However, teething will have already passed by this time, so bones can’t really count as a teething remedy. We cover why do dogs like bones to give you more insight into dog chewing habits.
Puppies chew not just to relieve teething pain but also to explore the world around them. Chewing is innate to puppies and older dogs, so stripping them of a chance to strip is borderline cruel. Chew toys are a safe solution that will leave your pup happy and content. Ensure that the chew toy is the right size for your puppy’s breed size.
Encouraging positive chewing will enable your pup to reap the benefits of chewing, such as improved dental health. Chewing scrapes off any plaque build-up on your dog’s teeth that would form tartar. It promotes the release of antibacterial saliva that cleans up your dog’s mouth.
Chewing on toys offers positive mental stimulation for your puppy. A bored puppy will engage in annoying and potentially destructive behaviors like nipping. Chew toys also distract your puppy when you must focus on other things and can’t give your puppy attention.
‘Puppy Proof’ Your House
Puppy proofing your house involves placing all valuables out of your puppy’s reach. The concept of out of sight out of mind applies to chewing in puppies. You can place off-limit items on high cupboards or the fridge top. Dogs aren’t professional gymnasts like cats, so they probably won’t reach things up high.
Use child-proof (puppy-proof in this case) latches to keep prying paws out of the household goods in your cabinet as an extra precaution. Keep your trash cans closed or inside a cabinet to keep your puppy from chewing on garbage.
Finally, spray down items you can’t pack away with an anti-chew spray to make it too bitter for your puppy to chew on. This includes furniture or anything else within reach that is inappropriate for them to gnaw on.
Train Your Puppy On What Is (And Isn’t) Theirs To Chew
Puppies don’t ruin your possessions purposefully; they simply don’t know any better. Luckily, puppyhood is the best time for training. A dog’s independent streak intensifies as their age progresses, making training a tad more challenging.
It’s vital to consistently redirect and reward your puppy for chewing on their chew toys. You can do this through praise, or by covering their toys with something yummy, such as peanut butter.
Meanwhile, introduce the “leave it” command for items you don’t want them chewing on. Give them access to something like a shoe. If they pick it up or show interest, calmly say “leave it” and offer a treat. In the moment they have forgotten about the shoe, be sure to replace it with a better, appropriate chew toy. Keep an eye on your soft and hard furnishing, puppies are especially keen to chew wood around door frames.
Avoid punishing your puppy when you find them chewing on non-toy items and temporarily withdraw your attention instead. Punishment not only teaches your puppy to fear you but also gives them attention. It doesn’t matter if it’s negative attention. Punishment also just isn’t an effective tool. It usually just teaches your puppy not to do something in front of you, as it does not present them with an acceptable alternative behavior.
It is also best to give a limited number of chew toys when you train them on what to chew. Having too many toys can make a puppy believe that most things are at their disposal to chew. Training a puppy on what is theirs to chew will save you lots of valuables.
Crate Train Your Puppy
If you are leaving the house for a while, it will help to leave your puppy in a crate. Puppies left alone to roam free are masters of chaos, and you will come back your things in shreds. Crate training sounds harsh, especially to newbie dog owners, but the pros far outweigh the cons.
Puppies who have developed separation anxiety will eventually find the crate to be a safe space. Positive reinforcement helps the dog make a pleasant association with staying in the crate. Over time, your dog will be able to spend long lengths of time alone in the crate and can’t chew in the process.
You can read more about crate training in this article.
Use Cold Therapy
Applying frozen objects to a pain area is known as cold therapy, and it relieves acute pain. Cold therapy alleviates your puppy’s teething pain by reducing muscle temperature resulting in lower blood flow. This, in turn, reduces swelling and inflammation that causes pain. We don’t recommend giving your puppy ice cubes because they can break your puppy’s fragile teeth.
Offering your puppy frozen veggies like mini bagels and cold carrots reduces teething pain. Consuming frozen foods numbs the gingiva and in so doing, reduces the teething pain. In moderation, dog appropriate frozen veggies supply your puppy with vitamins and minerals that promote better health.
Another great way to help soothe the pain of teething is to fill a toy like a KONG with water and their regular puppy food. Freeze about four of these and make it a standard way that your puppy gets their daily food. The KONG can keep them busy for much longer than a normal bowl of food and it gives them something to do in the crate.The cold also reduces the aggravation from their gums.
Note: Some pet owners apply soothing gels to their puppies’ mouths to reduce discomfort. Never give your puppy over-the-counter medication without your vet’s permission. Seemingly holistic treatments like herbal treatments can actually harm your puppy.
Puppies chew on everything in sight to relieve teething pain. Puppies stop chewing at around 6 to 8 months when their adult teeth stop growing (teething stops). Providing your puppy with chew toys offers a safe alternative to redirect chewing.
Give your puppy a frozen, filled chew toy to numb their gums. Also be sure to properly proof your home and employ crate training to help limit the damage.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
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.