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The essentials

  • Puppies start teething when they’re around three to four months old — The teething period usually lasts until they’re about six months old but can last up to 12 months for some.
  • Provide your pup with frozen chews to help with teething pain Chewing is one way they alleviate the discomfort. Distract and comfort puppies with safe chew toys stored in the freezer.
  • Don’t forget the importance of dental care — If you haven’t already, this is a great time to implement a dental routine to keep your pup’s adult teeth healthy and strong.

Introducing a new puppy into the home is a joyous and challenging experience. One of the most difficult stages during this transition is teething, when puppies use their mouths to explore their world as their baby teeth fall out and are replaced with adult teeth. This article will discuss tips and tricks to help you and your pup manage this puppy teething phase.

Puppy teething explained

Puppies experience a whirlwind of changes in the first few months of life. They’ll learn to walk, eat, and possibly adjust to a new home without their mom or siblings. In that first year, they’ll also lose baby teeth and grow adult teeth.

This often causes sore gums as the adult teeth push through the gum line. Many pups chew anything they can get their teeth on, as teething soothes and helps relieve the discomfort. Puppy teething starts around three to four months old and ends around the six- or 12-month mark, depending on the pup.

Sometimes, you may notice your puppy’s adult teeth pushing through before the baby teeth can fall out.

Puppy dental anatomy

Puppies have 28 little teeth that can be pretty sharp. These 28 baby teeth are made up of 12 incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and four molars. Your puppy’s first deciduous baby teeth erupt between two and four weeks. By five to eight weeks, your puppy will have all of his baby teeth. 

  • Incisors. The incisors (the little teeth in the front of the mouth) erupt first. 
  • Canines. The canines (the more prominent “fang” teeth) erupt simultaneously.
  • Premolars. The premolars, or the teeth used for chewing, follow.

When do a puppy's teeth fall out?

As a general rule, puppies’ teeth begin to fall out at about three to four months, but they can start as early as eight weeks. The incisors typically fall out first; the teething process can last up to six months.

Puppy teething timeline

Stage Age
Baby teeth erupt As early as 2 to 4 weeks
Canines and premolars erupt Between 6 and 8 weeks
All 28 baby teeth should come in by this time 5 to 8 weeks
Baby teeth start falling out, and adult teeth start to come in. 12-16 weeks (3 months)
All 42 adult teeth should be in 6 months
Many dogs continue teething until they are nine to 12 months old. 9 to 12 months

Tip: If your puppy’s retained deciduous teeth don’t fall out by nine or 12 months, you may need to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to extract the baby teeth.

Veterinary exam fees for your puppy may be covered by pet insurance — find out what is (and isn’t) included in our pet insurance coverage guide. Contact your vet if you have any questions about your pup’s baby teeth!

Symptoms of teething in puppies

While the teething timeline varies, there are common signs that your puppy is teething. Chewing on everything and frequent drooling are common symptoms. 

Other symptoms to look for include:

  • Small blood spots on your dog’s toys. Puppy’s mouths bleed frequently during teething.
  • Red or swollen gums. The gums may look swollen during the entire teething process. 
  • Low-grade fever. Similar to human babies, puppies may experience a mild fever while teething. 
  • Slower-than-normal eating. Your puppy may start eating slower than usual.
  • Whining. Teething puppies tend to whine or cry while chewing toys and eating.

How to care for a teething puppy

Manage your pup’s teething pain and discomfort, and you’ll save yourself the frayed nerves of an uncomfortable puppy. Consider your dog’s size when selecting the best teething toys and other remedies. There are great alternatives to plushies for pups that need to chew! 

Offer a frozen treat 

Help relieve your puppy’s discomfort by offering them a frozen Kong or other treat-dispensing toy filled with a delicious treat that both helps their sore mouths and provides entertainment, stimulation, and distraction. Any rubber teething toys made for dogs (not humans!) can be frozen, which is a great relief for pups! Pet parents must supervise frozen toys so their dog does not consume any parts. 

Check your pup’s mouth regularly 

Examine your puppy’s mouth regularly for any loose baby teeth. Don’t try to pull out any teeth yourself, as the roots of deciduous teeth usually come out independently. If a tooth is stuck and won’t fall out, take your pup to the vet for removal. You can also send a picture to your veterinarian for them to look at if you have an established vet. If you don’t have an established vet already for your pup, you’ll need to make an appointment. 

Wet food for sore puppy mouths

Soft food is a great alternative to kibble for teething pups. Talk to your vet about a canned food option you can use as a food topper or when your pup’s mouth is sore. They’ll be able to offer a range of options.

Puppy-safe chew toys

Always use puppy-safe teething toys. Make sure to offer your pup appropriate chew toys and bones that are safe to consume. Consider rotating their chews and toys to keep them novel and interesting.  

The best puppy teething toys on the market include the West Paw Zogoflex Toppl, a durable food toy that encourages puppies to problem-solve; the West Paw Zogoflex Hurley, an excellent alternative to teething sticks and, of course, every pet owner needs a few of Kong’s Puppy Teething Sticks. This teething toy is ideal for young puppies and can be frozen. Also, natural chews, including yak cheese chews, may comfort your dog. 

👉 It’s essential to supervise your pet while they enjoy these chews and make sure they’re puppy-safe.

Puppy nipping and chewing

Chewing is an outlet for exploration. Providing a range of toys will help puppies fulfill their chewing needs and can be used to guide them away from objects like furniture, fingers, and shoes. Staying mindful of safety is essential since puppies can swiftly tear off small chunks of plush toys. 

Some puppies can seem like land sharks! When nipping is an issue, try this best practice. If your puppy is chewing on your hands or any body part, make a high-pitched shriek like a pup makes, pull your hand away, and play elsewhere. Leave the room if needed, but remove yourself from your pup’s play area. 

Always redirect unwanted behavior with toys, chews, or other outlets to keep your puppy’s undesired behaviors to a minimum. 

Regular dental care for puppies is important

Just like you have a dental routine, it’s important to start one for your dog, too. The teething phase is an excellent time to establish regular dental care with your pup to keep their pearly whites shiny and healthy. Regular cleanings improve dogs’ overall health and prevent future dental problems like canine periodontal disease, which can lead to heart disease.

One way to care for your dog’s teeth is by brushing them with a dog-specific toothpaste and brush. Starting this routine at a young age may make it easier to continue and keep up with as dogs grow older. Dental chews and bones are another great way to clean your dog’s teeth. Most veterinary offices also offer annual dental cleanings to remove the build-up of plaque and tartar.

A young pup’s mouth is likely painful, and new puppy owners may want to find ways to redirect their sharp teeth using positive reinforcement. Good habits include chewing on frozen food items and rubber bones. Dog-specific soft toys and ice cubes are fine, but the ice cubes need to be given in moderation.

Once the permanent teeth are in, pet parents will see fewer of the common teething symptoms. Yet it’s always a good idea to encourage good behavior with a range of teething-specific toys.

Start healthy chewing habits with your fur baby right away. This developmental stage will pass! When you stop at the puppy store, ask for dog toys that help with chewing and explain that your pup is getting his first set of teeth. 

Frequently asked questions

What are the worst weeks for puppy teething?

The worst weeks for puppy teething in terms of symptoms are usually between 12 and 16 weeks. During this time, puppies may experience discomfort from sore gums and may become more irritable than usual. 

What is the most painful puppy teething stage?

The most painful puppy teething stage will depend on the dog, but it’s common for the most painful stages to occur around 3-4 months into teething. Remember, though, every dog is an individual, and it’ll depend on the dog!

What can I give my puppy for teething?

This will depend on your dog’s size and toy and food preferences, but some of the most common items include frozen Kongs filled with treats like peanut butter or yogurt, puppy-specific toys, and other chews.

How long do puppies teethe?

Teething timelines vary depending on your dog’s breed, size, and health, but most puppies stop teething and have a mouth full of adult teeth by the time they’re between six and 12 months old.

What are the symptoms of a teething puppy?

The most common signs that your puppy is teething include drooling, small blood spots on their toys, decreased interest in eating, whining, increased or excessive chewing, swollen or red gums, and fever.

What months are puppies teething?

Puppies start teething around three or four months old. On average, most puppies stop teething between six and 12 months old.

How does one stop a teething pup from biting you?

While it may not happen overnight, now is the perfect opportunity to start obedience training with your pup to stop biting and nipping early on. Teach your puppy that biting hurts by exclaiming, “Ouch!” when they nip and praise them when they stop. Thwart biting with plenty of appropriate items they can chew on (besides your fingers!) such as puppy-safe bones, frozen treats, and other toys.