Puppies love their sleep, with some sleeping for as much as 20 hours a day, only waking to eat and play. But what about when your pup is teething? How can this affect their sleep? Does the discomfort of their adult teeth coming through keep them awake?
Puppies tend to sleep a little more when teething and can be listless and lethargic for some of the time too, but this will pass with time and your puppy will be back to his lively self in almost no time at all.
In the rest of this article, we will discover at what age teething is in the worse stage and share some home remedies you can use to ease your puppy’s discomfort and give him a break.
First, we’ll explore more about the signs and symptoms you should look for if you think your pup is in the middle of teething.
Let’s get into it.
Puppy teething symptoms and side effects
Teething can be a painful process for your puppy. As his baby teeth fall out, his gums will become red and swollen, and may even bleed a little. Many dogs salivate and whine more than usual, as well as sleep a little more. You may even spot lost teeth.
On the subject of sleeping here is a great article on whether you should "leave your dog downstairs at night".
Their baby teeth should start falling out when they are about 3 to 5 months old. The full set of 42 adult teeth will begin to come through next. Some dogs may continue teething until they are between 9 and 12 months of age, but for most breeds, their adult teeth should all be in place by the time they are 8 months old.
Read my article on "Do puppies bark more when teething" (Yes they do I'm afraid)
Your puppy will start to look for things to chew because chewing helps ease inflamed gums and relieve teething pain. Chewing is also a source of comfort for your dog and can help them relax. You might notice that your dog hasn’t got as much of an appetite as usual, which can be because of the tooth loss, or teething pain.
Some puppies may just eat a little slower. If your pup starts to struggle with eating, you could vary his diet and try wet foods or a different-sized dog food.
Dogs like to find sticks to chew on, this is fine, but make sure you check it is robust enough and isn’t too soft and easy to bite. At this stage of teething, you’ll need to guard your furniture well, as nothing will be safe from your pup’s insatiable desire to chew, including your socks, the banister of the staircase, and the corner of your coffee table.
The best thing to do is give them a durable rubber chew to gnaw on.
Watch that your puppy doesn’t start to destroy his toys, make sure they are in one piece and no stuffing is oozing out.
Other symptoms your puppy may experience include:
- More of a tendency to nip.
- An inability to focus.
- There may be a metallic aroma about your dog, which may indicate there is a bit of blood in his mouth, which is normal. It’s also normal for your pup to swallow some of his baby teeth so there’s no need to panic.
- Sudden reactions to noises or anything unfamiliar.
- An upset stomach.
It’s a good idea to contact your vet if the symptoms or pain seem too severe. Soon, we’ll find out more about some simple homemade remedies you can try to help ease their symptoms.
Next, we’ll highlight when teething is at its worst.
When do puppies teethe the worst?
The worst stage of teething will vary, but typically occurs when your puppy is between 5 and 7 months old, as this is when your dog’s full set of adult teeth are coming in. A common sign that teething has begun in earnest is the loss of his incisors.
When your dog is teething, it is important to check his mouth often for signs of any retained baby teeth with adult teeth coming in beside them. If you spot one, give the vet a call to see if they want you to bring your dog in immediately.
Retained baby teeth can damage the permanent ones. If the baby tooth is not removed, the permanent tooth may grow crooked or end up in the wrong position. This could cause problems for your dog later in life, such as difficulty eating or pain in his mouth.
Checking your puppy’s mouth regularly before teething starts, will get him use to the idea and feel of fingers in his mouth, so that he will let you do it when he is uncomfortable. This is also likely to make him less resistant to having his teeth cleaned in the future, so that you can keep those nice new adult teeth healthy.
Your vet will also check how teething is going when you take your pup for his inoculations and check-ups.
Home remedies for teething puppies
Teething is one of the most stressful things you and your pup will go through. Dogs can damage the furniture and may even try to bite their owners to get some relief. Luckily, there’re some natural home remedies you can use to ease their suffering.
Here are some of the best ones.
- A frozen dish towel or dish cloth - This is a good trick to have up your sleeve if you don’t have any teething toys to give your puppy. Soak a dish cloth in water, then take it out and freeze it, before giving it to your pup. The cloth will serve to numb your dog’s mouth, and have a softer feel than most chew toys, while still being something they can sink their teeth into.
- Ice cubes - If you want to use ice cubes to soothe teething pain, take extra care. Don’t let them chew directly on the ice, as their baby teeth are fragile and could easily break. Instead, freeze some water in an ice tray to make cubes. Then take an ice cube and rub it gently on your puppy’s gums until it dissolves. This will help numb your dog’s sore gums and lessen the inflammation.
- Frozen food – This is an unconventional but nonetheless fantastic way to ease teething pain and give your pup a treat at the same time. The only thing you need to do is ensure that the foods you give your dog are safe for him to eat. If you have any doubt, don’t give your pup that kind of food. Carrots are good for this, so long as you don’t give your pup more than 1 whole carrot per day. It will give your dog something to chew on and help numb sore gums. This trick works well with cold foods too. Read Carrots for Puppies Teething.
- Camomile tea - Cooled camomile tea can help soothe any agitation resulting from teething and may help your pup rest if pain has been interfering with their sleep. Put a single teaspoon of camomile into boiling water. Leave it to cool completely before you give a small amount to your pup. When using herbs to relieve pain, make sure they are 100% safe before giving them to your dog. Don’t use essential oils, unless advised to do so by your vet, because you can make your puppy very ill if you don’t use them correctly.
- Give them teething toys to chew on or massage their gums - This will help your dog learn to distinguish between things he can chew and things he cannot, whilst providing him comfort and easing his pain.
- Just be careful what treats you feed them. Read "Is it safe for dogs to eat rice crispy treats".
After reading this, you’ll have a better idea of how to get through this tricky stage of your puppy’s life. You’ll know the signs to watch out for, and when you are likely to face the toughest stage of teething. You’ll even have a few tricks up your sleeve to ease your little pup’s suffering too.
So why not start to puppy proof your house, so that you’re ready when the time comes? Then all you need do is keep an eye on your dog, put anything you don’t want to be chewed out of harm’s way, and do what you can to help your pup get through the teething process with as little pain as possible.
You can also use it to help get your dog used to having his mouth checked and set him up to accept dental care for the rest of his life. That way, you can ensure his teeth remain healthy through teething and beyond.
Remember, if you are worried at any point, seek advice from your vet.
I've written about the "Best puppy chews" here, you should check it out.
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