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Myth busting: Teething for your puppy

Raising a puppy is a special experience, but it pays to be prepared for their teething phase to make it easier on both them and you.

If you’re unsure how to manage chewing, mouthing, nipping and biting, we have some important tips which might help bust the common myths around teething for your puppy.

Puppy teething timeline

The accuracy of this timeline will depend on a number of factors, such as your dog’s breed, temperament and the point at which their baby teeth came in (usually between the second and fourth week of their lives), but the following is a general outline of what you can expect when your puppy is teething.

  • Week 8: This is considered the minimum acceptable age to purchase or adopt a puppy. By this stage all their baby teeth should have come in (they’ll have around 28 teeth in total) and they will have been weaned off their mother to start eating soft puppy food.
  • Weeks 12–16: Some of the baby teeth will begin falling out during this period, so you might find tiny teeth around your home. Give your puppy safe chew toys to help them and use this as a chance to get them comfortable with you touching in and around their mouth – though watch out for those razor-sharp baby teeth!
  • 6 months: By this stage all of your puppy’s baby teeth should have fallen out to be replaced by about 42 adult teeth. Although if you do notice any baby teeth remaining, be sure to speak to your vet in case there are dental issues.

My puppy is nipping and biting – what should I do?

There are many reasons why your puppy may be nipping and biting you – because they are in pain as they are teething, or they may be trying to play around with you. However, it’s important to nip this behaviour in the bud so it doesn’t evolve into a bigger issue as they grow up.

While it might seem cute that your puppy loves chewing your hands when they are small, it won’t be such a fun experience when they are fully grown. Here are some actions to take.

  • Spot the difference: Mouthing’ is completely normal for dogs – it’s how they play with each other – but there’s a difference when it turns from a playful nibble into a bite.
  • React: Don’t ignore a bite. Instead, use it as a teaching moment for them. When they latch on to your hand, calmly end the play and walk away. This will teach them that ‘nipping’ turns off all social interaction with you.
  • Distract: If your puppy simply won’t stop biting, redirect them to something more positive. Give them a chew toy when they are playful, or use this time for training, teaching them commands like ‘leave it’ or ‘let go’.

How to stop your puppy from chewing everything

Speak to a dog expert and you’ll get a range of recommendations for how to stop your puppy from chewing everything in the house. What works will depend on your training method, as well as what your dog responds to most.

Lots of dog owners have success when diverting their puppy’s attention to a safe chew toy such as a KONG or other reputable brand chew toy. If your puppy simply has an innate desire to chew on things, teaching them (via reward based training) that it’s a good thing when they chew on their toys will help divert their attention away from other items, like your clothes and furniture. It’s also important to set your puppy up for success by removing items you don’t want them to chew on.

Training should be at the heart of any diversion tactics. Use treats, toys and lots of praise when your puppy chews on their own toys rather than chewing on everyday household items.

Getting your pet insured from a young age can mean protection against future issues – rather than being excluded from pre-existing conditions. Call RSPCA Pet Insurance on 1300 881 492 to find out more, or get a quote and buy online today.