How To Care For a Teething Puppy

It seems that no amount of rawhide bones, nyla bones, or chewy toys you provide will keep a teething puppy from finding something to chew on that they shouldn't chew on. I thought I had learned from experience to provide an abundance of chewy items. I thought I had provided my pup with so many items that it made my nocturnal meanderings a life taking risk. Yet, my pup found, chewed and punctured my tracking boots. Thus providing me with another topic to write about.

Puppies should have a full set of 28 baby teeth by the time they are 8 weeks old: fourteen teeth on each of the upper and lower jaws. During the next five months the baby teeth will be replaced by the adult teeth. There are 42 adult teeth, 21 on each jaw.

If you have a dog that you may be considering showing in conformation, you need to monitor the growth of the teeth ensuring that they do fall out and grow in on time. Like human children, if the baby teeth are not replaced on time it may cause deformities in the adult teeth. A veterinarian may need to extract a tooth so that the other teeth will grow in straight. Sometimes the owner of a dog may help by working on loosening a tooth, much the same way as a child works on loosening a tooth so that the Tooth Fairy comes.

Chewing on items is a form of massaging the gums for puppies. Not only does it reduce discomfort but it also helps loosen a tooth and also helps break the skin on the gums so that a new tooth can come through. Providing ample items to chew on will help. However, be careful what you provide. Do not give old shoes and socks, as puppies cannot differentiate between old and new items. Keep all chewable items off the floor and out of reach of the pup. Nothing is safe from a chewing pup including furniture and walls. When you cannot be observing your pup, it is wise to crate it. Provide plenty of chewy items so that it doesn't become bored and chew on itself or the crate.

If you have any concerns regarding the growth and development of your puppies teeth, contact your veterinarian who can provide you with advice and timelines for when to expect each of the teeth.

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Reprinted with permission by Terrie Simpson, Terrie has been involved in the dog world for over 28 years and has achieved numerous awards with her Springer Spaniels in tracking and obedience. Over that time, she has amassed a good amount of knowledge about how to keep a dog healthy. She is now happy to give back by sharing her experience with other dog owners.

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