Anyone who has ever seen the film Marley & Me knows that a teething puppy can be a danger to everything from your table legs to your favorite shoes. During teething, a puppy’s gums begin to ache, tingle, and hurt, which means that the dog may take to chewing on inappropriate items to soothe the discomfort in the gums. While the puppy isn’t intentionally doing anything wrong, puppies have needle-sharp teeth that can quickly damage or destroy your favorite furnishings or belongings. Fortunately, there are ways to help your puppy through the teething process without sacrificing your home and goods along the way. Here are some simple tips to help you get started:
1) Puppy-proof everything
If you have a puppy that is going to begin teething soon, puppy-proof your house in advance. This means picking up anything that could invite chewing like electrical cords, shoes, socks, garbage cans, rugs with fringe, storage baskets on the floor, or children’s toys. All things that could potentially cause harm to your puppy.
2) Don't encourage chewing
Many pet parents like to play “boxing” games with their puppy, wherein the puppy paws and bites at their human’s hands. While this game may be cute and harmless pre-teething, it can quickly become painful and destructive when teething begins. With this in mind, be careful to avoid teaching your puppy to chew on your hands, and if a puppy bites you by accident, pull back and say “ouch” sharply before withdrawing all attention from the dog. This tactic is gentle but effective, and over time, will teach your puppy that even during teething, human hands are not a good outlet.
Additionally, kids should learn never to play tug-of-war with anything but a designated chew toy, as these games can easily teach the pup that your favorite shirt is a great place to take out his frustrations.
3) Give the puppy chew-friendly toys
During teething, puppies need something to chew on and if you don’t provide them with an acceptable outlet, they’re going to find whatever they can and chew on that, instead. To avoid this and protect your furniture, shoes, and home, give the dog plenty of puppy-safe chew toys that can stand up to the teething process. Look for toys made of hard rubber that allow you to fill them with treats or food. Toys made from canvas are often durable as well.
4) Offer frozen treats to soothe painful gums
Teething might be a normal process, but it’s not always a comfortable. To give him or her some relief, fill a hard rubber toy like a Kong with peanut butter and then place it in the freezer. Alternately, you can freeze a wet washcloth or carrot to give your pup some holistic pain relief.
Teething can be difficult for both dogs and humans, but these simple tips can ensure that you help your puppy through teething without sacrificing your home or hands in the process.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.