A puppy starts to get his or her baby teeth at around two weeks old, with all of the teeth being present by the time the puppy is around twelve weeks old. The puppy will then start to lose the baby teeth, with the permanent teeth taking their place. Like with us, the puppy will experience irritation, redness and swelling when teething. The natural behaviour of a puppy is to chew to relieve this pressure on the gums and if you don’t provide the puppy with chewing toys he or she will find something else to chew, such as furniture or shoes.
Chewing can also sometimes relieve boredom in the puppy, and provides a way of exploring different textures. The chewing will continue into the puppy’s adult life, but to a lesser extreme, and will provide a way of helping to keep the adult teeth clean.
Make sure that anything inappropriate to chew on is out of the puppies reach, such as electrical wires, valuable items or children’s toys. If the puppy does start to chew on something that he or she shouldn’t, replace the item with an appropriate chewy or toy.
Do not give your puppy old socks or shoes to chew on as he or she will find it difficult to differentiate between the shoes that he can and can’t chew on.
It is important to provide the puppy with appropriate chew toys and chewy treats. A kong (a stuff able, hardwearing dog toy – available from Chestnut Vets) provides a particularly good chew toy as it can be filled with an appropriate food and frozen. The food will encourage the puppy to chew on the toy and the cold surface will help to sooth the puppy’s gums. It is normal to see some blood around the puppy’s gums or on the toy after chewing. Loosened teeth may be dislodged and found after a puppy has been chewing.
It is important to remember that teething is a natural part of a puppy’s development, and that at some point the puppy may chew something that he or she shouldn’t.
For more advice on puppy behaviour, or for help on selecting appropriate chew toys, contact The Chestnut Veterinary Group in Ware and Hertford, on 01920 468874.
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