The day a pet parent brings home their new puppy is an exciting and joyous time. However, the excitement can wear off quickly when the puppy begins chewing and biting. Chewing is an instinctive behavior for dogs and puppies, which is why many dogs love chew toys. However, a puppy biting legs and chewing everything in the house is often specifically due to teething.
Puppy Teething Concerns
Puppy teething is when a puppy’s teeth begin erupting from the gum line. It is normal for pet parents to have puppy teething concerns because teething can be painful for the puppy.
Puppies go through two teething periods. The first teething period begins at a very young age, usually around three to six weeks. This first set of teeth are the puppy’s baby teeth. These baby teeth are pointed and extremely sharp, which is why they are also known as deciduous teeth and “needle teeth.”
Most puppies begin their second teething period around three months of age. During this time, their permanent teeth will begin erupting from the gums and push the needle teeth out. Most puppies have all of their permanent teeth by six months of age. However, some smaller breeds can take a little longer - eight to nine months.
During teething periods, it is not uncommon for the gums to bleed a little when a new tooth erupts and the old tooth falls out. Pet parents do not need to be concerned unless the bleeding is excessive and won’t stop.
Other concerns about puppy teething that pet parents have include chewing and biting. During teething periods, puppies start to chew on various types of surfaces. Chewing allows the puppy to adapt to their new teeth while providing some pain relief for the gums.
To stop a puppy from chewing on things they shouldn’t, pet parents can provide them with chew toys. Nylabone and Kong offer great options for teething toys.
Pet parents can also DIY a teething toy by soaking a washcloth in low sodium chicken broth or water, then twisting or tying the cloth into a knot and freezing it. Once the cloth is frozen, it can be given to the puppy as a toy to provide some soothing pain relief.
Puppies like trying their new teeth out on different textures such as shoes and furniture. Therefore, providing multiple toys with different textures will encourage the puppy to stick to chewing on toys, not household objects.
Puppy Biting Legs and Ankles
There's a reason puppies are often referred to as “ankle biters.” A teething puppy will nip, chew, and bite everything — including ankles. When a puppy begins biting their family, it can be very concerning and painful for a pet parent. Due to those sharp needle teeth, a puppy can easily break human skin, leading to an infection. Therefore, it is crucial to begin puppy training as soon as possible to prevent or stop puppy biting behaviors. If a puppy is allowed to bite their family while teething, they will likely continue the behavior into adulthood.
Puppy training should begin the moment the puppy comes home. By beginning training early, pet parents can stop or prevent many negative behaviors quickly. Oftentimes, pet parents are training their puppy without realizing it. A pet parent’s vocal tone and body language are things a puppy notices and can easily be used to help train them.
For example, puppies will instinctively make a high-pitched “yip” sound when another puppy bites them too hard. Pet parents can also communicate by making a high-pitched “yelp” when their puppy bites them. This yelp will tell the puppy that they hurt their pet parent. Finally, the pet parent can reinforce the action by saying “no biting” in a low tone.
The following are some quick training tips to stop puppies from chewing and biting.
- Use a lower tone for negative behaviors, like biting and chewing.
- Use a higher tone for positive behaviors, like biting and chewing on their chew toys.
- Stop moving and stay still when the puppy begins to bite.
- Puppy-proof the house by picking up anything the puppy can reach.
- Provide a variety of chewing toys and replace old ones.
- Give praise and rewards for good chewing behaviors.
Puppy Teething Advice
Pet parents can prevent a lot of stress and household destruction by preparing for the puppy teething phase before a puppy begins teething. Research and purchase plenty of teething toys and treats, and puppy-proof the home before the puppy comes home. Finally, start training early. For additional puppy advice, Fuzzy Members have access to 24/7 Vet Chat for questions both big and small.