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Published: Feb 20, 2024 5 min read

Quick answer

Puppy teething is a normal but uncomfortable stage that begins at a few weeks old, involving sore gums and nipping behaviors. Managing teething symptoms involves providing appropriate chew toys and implementing training methods such as yelping when hurt and positive reinforcement to discourage nipping.

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Getting a new puppy is an exciting and fun time for pet parents. However, you may be already dreading a part of your new puppy’s development: teething. Part of a puppy’s process growing up is learning which things to bite —and not bite— as their new teeth grow, which starts when they are mere weeks of age.

This can be quite a painful endeavor when your puppy starts to “playfully” nip at your fingers and toes. However it’s important to note that this is a normal part of your puppy’s upbringing and can be trained away. Teething is a necessary part of your puppy’s growth into an adult dog.

Let’s learn what puppy teething symptoms are and how they can be managed safely and healthily.

What is puppy teething?

Your puppy’s baby teeth will come out a lot sooner than human babies, about two weeks after being born. At around three months, puppies will start to have their milk teeth fall out to make room for their adult teeth.

This can be an uncomfortable process for puppies as they will start to find things to chew on to help soothe the soreness of their gums. Common side effects may include excessive drooling and nipping.

Puppy teething toys will help you keep your puppy from biting everything it comes in contact with while helping your puppy with the teething pain. You can also use rubber toys and teething sticks to have your dog chew on things without having to puppy-proof your entire house.

Whatever you have your puppy chew on, make sure the toys are not too hard for your puppy’s teeth or don’t fall apart easily as this can lead to complications with teething. However, this may not be enough by itself to stop your puppy from nipping at you.

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How to stop your puppy from nipping

Yelp when it hurts

Nipping is a part of puppy’s socialization with other puppies. Puppies nip at each other and let each other know when they nip too hard by yelping. Similarly, you can teach your puppy not to nip at you by making a loud sound whenever it does it. This will teach your puppy that it's hurting you and that you are not having fun.

Ignore it

Another helpful strategy might be to simply ignore it and walk away when it nips you. If your furry friend does not seem to be responding or stopping when you yelp, simply not participating might help teach your dog that its nipping is not something you want to reward. It can also help teach your dog the boundaries of play time.

Find something they can bite

As stated before, teething toys as well as regular chew toys can help stop your puppy from nipping as well as satiate its need to bite something. Offering a replacement for your finger or toe in the middle of the nipping activity helps your dog understand what it can and can’t bite.

Use positive reinforcement

Just like you should ignore it when it's nipping at you, you should give your dog attention when it’s doing something you want. You can give it a treat and praise when it backs off after you yelp or when it uses a chew toy instead of biting you or your furniture. If your dog seems to not know what to do with its playtime excitement, taking it for a walk or to a dog park might help curb what could just be excess energy.

Puppy teething FAQs

How long does puppy teething last?

A puppy’s teething stage usually lasts until they are about seven months of age, with all of its permanent teeth coming out at around six months old. This can vary as puppies have differing stages of development depending on breed and size, with large breeds teething earlier than small ones.

Should I brush my dog’s teeth?

You should definitely learn how to brush dog teeth as soon as your puppy has teeth showing. Brushing your puppy’s mouth with toothpaste and a toothbrush at least twice a week helps to promote good dental care for your puppy, which will inevitably help it with its teething process.

How can I soothe my puppy while it’s teething?

You can help your puppy’s teething symptoms by giving it dog toys that help the teething process or having it bite on frozen puppy food. Whether biting on dog food or a pet store bought toy, the act of biting helps soothe your puppy’s sore gums. You should not give your puppy ice cubes as it might be too rough on your puppy’s premolars and incisors.

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