Pet Talk: Tricks to Help a Teething Puppy

Q: Our puppy is teething and trying to chew on everything. Any suggestions on what we can give him to chew on that is safe?

A:  Chewing is how puppies soothe their mouth during teething and they will pick up anything and everything they find, whether it’s an appropriate chew toy or not. He literally can’t help himself.

The new teeth coming in cause your pup to experience swelling, irritation and redness around the gums. When puppies are teething, their biting and chewing increases as they test out different objects and textures to relieve the discomfort.

It is crucial to keep a close eye on your pup to make sure he isn’t chewing electrical cords, furniture, shoes or anything else that could be dangerous or of value. This is the time to teach your pup what is appropriate to chew on and what is not.

If you see your pup going after shoes, the couch or carpet, simply replace the object that should not be chewed with a chew toy. You will have to be consistent for your pup to get the idea.

Provide your puppy with a variety of appropriate chewing outlets. The best toys you can buy are made of sturdy materials. Good toys include Kong toys or toys made of firm, durable rubber. The rubber shouldn’t be too hard and should have some give to it. Purchase rope toys of good quality otherwise he may be able to pull off fibers and eat them.

Treat-dispensing puzzle toys will entertain a puppy, just make sure they are tough enough to withstand his gnawing.

There are chew toys designed to be frozen. The cold helps numb some of the discomfort in your dog’s gums.

If your puppy isn’t interested in a certain chew toy try rubbing a little peanut butter on it. Just make sure it doesn’t contain the ingredient xylitol (a sugar alcohol that is toxic to dogs).

Some home remedies to try offering are frozen plain mini bagels, frozen carrots or frozen bananas. Be sure to supervise your pet with these edibles so they don’t become a choking hazard.

Wet a dishtowel and twist it into a tight rope-like shape and put it into a plastic bag to freeze and then offer it to your puppy. If your pup isn’t interested in the frozen towel try pouring some low-sodium chicken or beef broth on the towel before freezing. Be sure to take it away when it thaws so he doesn’t rip it apart.

It’s a good idea to begin handling your puppy’s mouth while he is young. That way you can check for any tooth problems. It’s also a great idea to get the young pup used to the idea of tooth brushing as early as possible.

Teething can be one of the most difficult times for puppy parents, so try and be patient and keep your spirits high to help your pup through this uncomfortable period in his life.


Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].

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