How to Cope With Puppy Teething

Filed in Dog Health by on June 29, 2024

Puppy teething

Puppy Teething Timeline

During this time, providing appropriate chew toys, soothing techniques and monitoring your puppy’s behavior can help them cope with the discomfort and prevent destructive chewing on inappropriate items!

2-4 months old:

  • During this phase, puppies start teething and may show signs of discomfort.
  • Their baby teeth, also called deciduous or milk teeth, start to erupt.

4-6 months old:

  • The teething process continues as more baby teeth erupt.
  • Puppies may experience increased chewing behavior and discomfort during this time.

dog sitting next to a person's legs

6-8 months old:

  • Most puppies have completed their teething process around this stage.
  • Adult teeth start to come in as the baby teeth fall out.
  • The eruption of adult teeth can cause temporary gum sensitivity.

It’s important to note that these time frames are general estimates, and the exact timing can vary between individual puppies.

Some puppies may undergo the teething process a little earlier or later.

Signs of Teething Discomfort

It’s important to remember that these signs may vary from puppy to puppy, and not every puppy will experience all of them.

If you’re concerned about your puppy’s teething discomfort or notice any unusual or severe symptoms, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for guidance and advice!

Excessive chewing: Puppies may exhibit increased chewing behavior during the teething process. They will seek out objects to chew on to relieve the discomfort and pressure on their gums.

Drooling: Teething puppies may have an increased drooling due to their irritated gums.

Swollen or red gums: Check your puppy’s gums for any signs of inflammation or redness. Swollen gums can result from the incoming adult teeth pushing against the baby teeth.

Irritability: The puppy teething process can be painful, and puppies may become more irritable or exhibit changes in behavior due to the discomfort they’re experiencing.

Loss of appetite: Some puppies may experience a temporary decrease in appetite during teething. Their sore gums may make eating uncomfortable.

Bleeding or missing teeth: You may notice small amounts of blood on chew toys or your puppy’s toys. This is normal as the baby teeth loosen and make way for the adult teeth.

Reluctance to play with toys: Puppies in discomfort may avoid playing with toys they once enjoyed due to the sensitivity in their gums.

dog biting a person's leg

Preventing Destructive Chewing in Puppies

Preventing destructive chewing in puppies during the teething stage requires additional attention and care.

Remember, teething is a temporary phase, and with consistent training and appropriate outlets for chewing, your puppy will develop good chewing habits over time!

Provide a variety of appropriate teething toys

Offer a selection of chew toys specifically designed for teething puppies. Look for toys that are soft and flexible, as they can provide relief to their sore gums.

Consider toys that can be frozen, as the cold can also help soothe their discomfort.

Keep inappropriate items out of reach

During the teething phase, puppies have a heightened desire to chew. Keep valuable or dangerous items, such as shoes, socks, cables, and small objects, safely stored and out of your puppy’s reach.

This will prevent them from forming a habit of chewing on these items.

Apply taste deterrents

Use taste deterrent sprays or bitter apple sprays on items off-limits for chewing. The unpleasant taste can discourage your puppy from chewing on them.

However, always ensure your products are safe for your puppy and consult your veterinarian if needed.

Consider crate training

Using a crate properly can help prevent destructive chewing when you cannot supervise your puppy. Ensure the crate is a comfortable and safe space for your puppy with appropriate chew toys inside.

Gradually increase the time spent in the crate to prevent your puppy from associating it with negative experiences.

Rotate toys and provide mental stimulation

Keep your puppy engaged by regularly rotating their toys. This can help keep their interest and prevent boredom.

Additionally, provide mental stimulation activities, such as treat-dispensing puzzle toys or training sessions, to redirect their energy and focus.

Supervise and redirect

Supervise your puppy as much as possible during the teething phase. If you can catch your pup chewing on something inappropriate, calmly redirect their attention to an appropriate teething toy.

Consistency in redirection and positive reinforcement will help them understand what is acceptable to chew on.

Regular exercise and playtime

Ensure your puppy gets sufficient exercise and playtime. This can help them burn excess energy and reduce their desire to engage in destructive chewing out of boredom.

Bite Inhibition Training for Puppies (Post Teething)

Bite inhibition training is an essential aspect of puppy training that focuses on teaching puppies to control the force of their bites.

It helps them understand an acceptable level of biting during play and establishes boundaries for their behavior.

This training method is highly effective if done correctly, nearly every time! However, consider starting after the teething process, as the puppy’s brain has been given a chance to develop.

  • Gentle play and socialization:

Encourage gentle play and interaction with your puppy from an early age. This helps them learn to control the intensity of their bites during regular play sessions with people and other dogs.

  • React to hard bites:

Whenever your puppy bites too hard during play, let out a high-pitched yelp or a gentle “ouch” sound to mimic how a puppy would react to being bitten too hard by their littermates.

This sound will catch their attention and signal that their bite was too rough.

  • Withdraw attention:

After making the yelping sound, immediately withdraw your attention by ending the play session or turning away from your puppy for a few moments.

This teaches them that rough biting results in a negative consequence, i.e., the end of play.

  • Reinforce gentle bites:

On the other hand, when your puppy bites gently or licks instead, praise and reward them with treats, verbal affirmation, or continued play.

This reinforces the behavior of gentle play and encourages them to repeat it.

  • Repeat and be consistent:

Practice the yelp and withdrawal response consistently whenever your puppy bites too hard.

Aim to be patient and consistent in your reactions, as it may take time for your puppy to learn the proper level of bite pressure.

It’s important to note that bite inhibition training is not about eliminating biting in puppies.

Instead, it focuses on teaching them to inhibit the force of their bites to prevent injury during play or accidental situations.

Additionally, it’s crucial never to use physical force or punishment during this training. Harsh punishments can create fear and potentially lead to aggression!

Positive reinforcement and redirection are the most effective and humane methods for bite inhibition training.

close up of a dog

Dog Teething Toys for Puppies

There are various teething toys available that are specifically designed for puppies. Here are some popular options:

Kong Puppy Toy: Kong offers a range of toys designed specifically for puppies, including their Puppy Teething Stick and Puppy Flyer.

These durable rubber toys can be stuffed with treats or frozen for relief.

Nylabone Puppy Chew Toy: Nylabone produces a variety of chew toys for puppies designed to satisfy their natural chewing instincts.

Their Puppy Starter Kit includes different textures and shapes to help soothe the gums and promote healthy chewing habits.

BUIBIIU Dog/Puppy Toothbrush Chew Toy: This toy relieves teething puppies and helps with oral hygiene.

It features soft, rubber bristles that massage the gums and can be filled with toothpaste or treats to make teeth-cleaning a more enjoyable experience.

Mammoth Flossy Chews: These rope toys are ideal for teething puppies as they can help soothe gums and provide a satisfying chewing experience.

They also serve as dental floss, helping to clean between teeth and gums during play.

Petstages Cool Teething Stick: This toy is designed to cool and soothe a puppy’s gums during the teething phase.

It can be frozen and is made with a soft, textured material that helps clean teeth as they chew.

Tips for Puppy-proofing Your Home During Puppy Teething

Remember, supervision is vital during the teething phase. Even with the best puppy-proofing measures in place, always keep an eye on your puppy and redirect their chewing behavior to appropriate toys!

1. Secure electrical cords:

Puppies are often drawn to chew on electrical cords, which can be dangerous. Use cord covers or conceal cords behind furniture to make them less accessible.

Alternatively, you can use bitter-tasting sprays specifically designed to deter chewing.

2. Keep small objects out of reach:

Puppies can easily swallow small items, posing a choking hazard or leading to intestinal blockages.

Ensure that items like coins, buttons, or small toys are stored in closed containers or outside your puppy’s reach.

3. Tie up or secure curtains and blinds:

Puppies may be tempted to chew on curtains or blinds. Keep them out of reach or use tiebacks to keep them secured.

4. Store chemicals and cleaning products securely:

Household chemicals and cleaning products can be toxic to puppies. Keep them in locked cabinets or a high, inaccessible location.

5. Use baby gates to restrict access:

If certain areas of your home contain unsafe items for your puppy or expensive/irreplaceable objects, consider using baby gates to restrict access.

This can prevent accidents and protect your belongings.

6. Remove toxic plants from dogs:

Some common household plants, such as lilies, aloe vera, or certain types of ivy, can be toxic if ingested. Remove or place these plants out of reach of your puppy.

7. Cover trash cans and secure lids:

Trash cans can contain tempting smells and items that can be harmful if ingested. Keep trash cans covered or securely fastened to prevent your puppy from rummaging through them.

8. Block off spaces under furniture:

Puppies may try to explore and chew on items under furniture. Use furniture blockers or create barriers to prevent your puppy from accessing these areas.

9. Be mindful of low-hanging objects:

Puppies may be curious and try to reach for hanging objects like tablecloths, low-hanging shelves, or strings. Keep these items out of their reach to avoid accidents or potential hazards.

hand holding a dog's teeth

Managing Puppy Teething-related Behaviors

Managing puppy teething-related behaviors can be challenging, but you can help your puppy navigate this stage consistently and patiently.

Provide appropriate toys

It’s essential to offer your puppy a variety of safe and durable chew toys. These should be designed for teething puppies, such as rubber or nylon toys.

Avoid giving them items that resemble household objects, as this can confuse them about what’s acceptable to chew on.

Puppy-proof your home

Remove any items you don’t want your puppy to chew on, or that can be dangerous if ingested. Keep cords, shoes, and small objects out of their reach.

Use baby gates or crate training to limit their access to certain areas if necessary.

Redirect and reinforce

Whenever you catch your puppy chewing on something inappropriate, gently redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy. Praise and reward them when they chew on the right items.

Consistency is critical to helping them understand what is acceptable and not!

Cold relief

Frozen toys or wet washcloths can relieve your puppy’s teething discomfort. The cool temperature can help numb their gums temporarily.

Just make sure to monitor them while they’re chewing on frozen items to prevent any accidental injuries.


If your puppy becomes too unruly or overly bitey during their teething phase, gently place them in a designated time-out area, such as a puppy-proofed room or crate, for a short period.

This can help teach them that rough play or biting is inappropriate behavior.

How to Cope With Puppy Teething Conclusion

Coping with puppy teething can be challenging, but you can make it more accessible with the right strategies!

Appropriate chew toys, such as teething rings or durable chew toys, can help soothe your puppy’s gums and redirect their chewing behavior.

It’s also important to supervise and redirect your puppy’s chewing on these toys whenever you catch them chewing on something they shouldn’t.

Additionally, frozen treats and toys can provide relief by numbing their gums.

Positive reinforcement is critical during this phase! When your puppy chews on their toys instead of inappropriate items, praise and reward them with treats or verbal praise.

This helps reinforce the idea of appropriate chewing behavior.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *