You’ve added a beautiful puppy to your home, and you are determined to do everything right. You’ve registered for a puppy socialization class, and you’re proud to say that your little Fido has taken to the material like an old pro. But if there’s one thing you could change about your precious little bundle of joy, it’s the pain you feel being the object of his baby shark bites! While it is normal for puppies to mouth as they explore their world, you are longing for the time when Fido learns to do it more gently and with the benefit of adult teeth! When can you expect your puppy to loose his baby teeth?
The Teething Process
There is no doubt about it; baby puppies do have razor sharp teeth. While puppies are learning what is known of as bite inhibition, their owners often come in contact with puppy teeth more frequently they’d like. Since puppies rarely know their own strength; sometimes, they will draw blood. While you don’t want to wish the puppy months away, it is quite normal to long for less mouthing and teeth that don’t leave war wounds on your skin.
Puppy teeth are first evidenced when the puppies are around three weeks of age. At this formative time in a puppy’ life, he does not need teeth capable of grinding and tearing as he is still largely eating liquids or mushy foods only. A puppy’s baby teeth typically consist of only 26 teeth in total and contain no molars. When a puppy reaches approximately four months of age, his adult teeth begin to come in. In order for the full set of of adult teeth to emergy, the baby teeth must first be pushed out. The full adult set of teeth encompasses 42 teeth, including incisors and large and small molars. These new dental additions will allow your dog to chew, grind, and tear foods and other materials to break them down into manageable portions.
Since the adult teeth come in directly behind the puppy teeth, most commonly the baby teeth fall out as the final roots are released. But occasionally, a stubborn tooth will refuse to give way, causing two teeth to inhabit a space intended for only one. There are several approaches that can be taken in this circumstance. Many vets advise waiting the situation out as some dogs can take up to eight months before their final set of adult teeth are fully in place. However, this can lead to potential bite issues as teeth can shift to accommodate the new dental additions. Alternatively, the puppy can go to the vet where a dental technician can simply remove the baby teeth with any adverse effects on the dog’s bite or gum line.
Many owners wonder what happens to baby teeth when they fall out. Sometimes, you will be travelling down the hallway in your house and stumble across an errant puppy tooth that has fallen out. Other times, they fall out during play or even when the puppy is eating, and they are simply swallowed. There are no potential health risks associated with the chewing and/or swallowing of baby teeth. It occurs quite often and is not of any concern.
How Can I Help My Puppy When He Is Teething?
Teething is a painful process for your puppy. Since chewing on things provides both pain and stress relief, you may see an increase in your puppy’s mouthing activity during this time in his life.
If your puppy has turned into a mouthing machine, there are a few things that you can do to help ease his suffering:
Chew toys are a great way to keep your puppy’s mind and his mouth occupied, and they do provide relief for aching gums. For best results, choose rubber and rope toys. They give your puppy something satisfying to sink his teeth into and will last much longer than a traditional stuffed toy which can be torn apart and discarded in minutes.
Anything cold will soothe swollen and/or irritated gums. There are many toys available at commercial pet stores today that are designed to be frozen. Alternatively, Kongs can be stuffed full of yummy things such as liverwurst or peanut butter then frozen to provide an hour of delicious licking and chewing. For an extra special treat, buy a can of tripe such as Tripett and stuff a Kong or old bone with it prior to freezing. Your puppy will love you for it, but your nose will most definitely object as tripe has a particularly strong and unpleasant smell.
Many pups will also chew ice cubes. Simply fill up your ice cube trays with water and pop them in the freezer to give to your dog later on. Looking to kick up the flavor a bit? Why not freeze beef or chicken stock into cubes instead?
The same Orajel that parents use to help babies with teething pain can also help Fido feel a little better. For best results, be sure to consult with your veterinarian for the safest brands and strictly adhere to their instructions for care and dosing.
Tired of dodging baby shark teeth? Longing for those adult teeth to come along? If so, you’re not alone! The puppy months move along at a rapid pace, and while you will miss so many aspects of puppyhood, puppy teeth are not among them! To provide some relief for a teething pup, why not try a few of our top tips today?