Puppy Teething? - Be Prepared
A puppy time line tells you that you don't need to worry much about puppy teething until the puppy is at least three months old, and perhaps as old as six months. Puppy teething may not turn out to be much of a problem to the puppy, or its owner. On the other hand it can sometimes be quite an adventure.
As far as when puppy teething begins the breed of the dog doesn't seem to matter much. While teething may start earlier for some breeds than others, they all start at around the same time. The breed, and especially the temperament of the dog, plus its size, may influence just how much of a problem teething might become. Almost all dogs need something to chew on from time to time just to keep their teeth healthy, and of course chewing when teething helps reduce any discomfort the dog may be feeling.
Big, Lovable, And Destructive - There doesn't appear to be a published set of rankings as to what breeds are the most destructive when it comes to chewing, though it may be a safe bet that, big, lovable, rambunctious puppies would rate near or at the top. A St. Bernard may top the Labrador in destructive ability, but probably not by much. Labs are great at chewing things up, whether the victim is one of your slippers or a neighbor’s newspaper. Some dogs never completely get out of the chewing habit, or carry on with it long after puppy teething is over and done with. Fortunately, most dogs can be trained on what they can chew on and what's off limits.
Puppies are born with a full set of teeth, or at least they appear within a very few weeks, but as is the case with humans, these are baby teeth that will eventually fall out. Actually, where puppies are concerned, the baby teeth usually fall in, as they are commonly swallowed, causing no harm to the puppy. It is when these deciduous teeth are beginning to be replaced with the permanent teeth (evergreens?) that puppy teething problems begin, and will usually last a few months.
Although the focus so far has been more or less directed towards the potential destructive effects of teething on the pet owner's property, equal attention needs to be spent on the problem the puppy faces, that of discomfort. For most dogs, teething discomfort seldom becomes intolerable. A puppy will chew because chewing offers relief from the discomfort (besides being a fun thing to do), so this is a good time to invest in a few chew toys while at the same time training the puppy that only the chew toys should be the object of the chewing activity.
Proven Methods Of Relieving Discomfort - In those instances where a puppy is definitely experiencing discomfort, and a rubber chew toy isn't enough to relive the discomfort, there are other things the owner can try that usually help. There are topical pet medications that can be applied directly to the gums. Aloe vera will usually do the job, and has a taste dogs usually don't mind. As medications relieve the discomfort they also trend to reduce any inclination the puppy may have for the need to chew. Ice also works as an effective pain reliever. Ice can either be applied by rubbing an ice cube on the gums, or soaking a towel in water, freezing it, and letting the puppy chew on it. Some owners have indicated that letting the puppy eat a fruit-flavored popsicle can help. Just remove the stick first, and don't substitute a fudgesicle for the popsicle. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. A healthy, nutritious, and chewy dog treat like a Marrow Bone or a Greenie can also work. Good for the teeth and good for the dog.
Helping your puppy through its teething stage not only is a great opportunity to train your pet, but also offers the chance to give it a little extra love and care, something which will pay dividends over and over.