Puppies are a lot of fun and can bring positive energy to your life, but there is a lot to consider before adding one to your family. Young dogs have boundless energy and a tendency to be destructive, for example — especially when they are teething.
Having appropriate toys on hand will help prevent damage to your possessions, but it can be difficult to know which are best. This guide will cover how to make the teething process easier, the toys that are a must, and what to avoid.
How to Make Teething Easier for Your Puppy
Puppies generally begin developing teeth at around two weeks. By six months, they will have lost their baby ones and be equipped with their adult teeth. Surviving the process can be a challenge, because it can cause swollen gums, bleeding, and excess drooling.
Here are easy things to make teething easier:
- Brush with dog-friendly toothpaste and a rubber finger brush. This will help dogs grow used to having their mouths handled and may soothe inflamed gums.
- Discourage nipping when your pup is too mouthy. Nipping can be painful and lead to problematic behaviors later on. Practice redirection, tell your pup “no” in a firm voice, and move on to a safe toy.
- Keep safe, fun toys on hand to entertain and distract. The selections below will help you narrow down the options.
Follow these guidelines and your puppy will sail through the teething process in short order. These four types of toys are dog-tested and owner approved:
Teething puppies explore their world by gnawing on objects around them, meaning they may turn to furniture or personal items when left unattended. Redirect your puppy’s urge to gnaw by giving them a good quality chew toy. Also known as “bully sticks,” these not only keep your puppy’s gums stimulated and soothed, but many are also fully digestible. Pig ears, another great option, are considered the perfect size for smaller breeds.
A cold treat or chew can ease gum inflammation and provide a fun distraction. Brands like Chilly Bone have created specialty options that can be soaked in water and stored in the freezer. The rubbery texture and cold temp make them great for teething. You can also freeze treats and vegetables, like carrots, to help satisfy your puppy’s urge to chew.
Toys that dispense treats are available in any pet store and come in many colors, styles, and designs. Some, such as those designed by Kong, double as chews and keep your pup stimulated as he or she works to wiggle out the treat inside. A few varieties feature liquid dispensers with dog-friendly flavors like beef liver and bacon.
If you are looking for a toy to enjoy together, a rope is a great option for playing fetch and hours of interactive play. Teething puppies can chew on the rope between play sessions, too, and the tough strands will act as floss. Many also include a chew in the center or feature interactive toys incorporated into their designs.
Safety Concerns for Puppies
Bringing a new furry friend home to your family is exciting. You will have a lot of fun getting to know each other and learning what each other needs, but it’s important to make sure you don’t forget about safety in the process. There are some things to keep in mind when caring for your teething puppy:
- Dogs of all ages will get into things they shouldn’t when they have excess energy or lack appropriate outlets.
- It is important to take your puppy for walks and to allow them to get plenty of exercise.
- Toys and chews can provide a healthy outlet when paired with proper exercise.
- Rawhide bones are popular, but tough pieces can separate, lodge in your pet’s throat, and present choking hazards.
- Some bones can splinter and cause digestive issues in dogs of all ages.
- Watch your puppy on walks, as they will undoubtedly find lots of treasures on which they will want to chew.
In general, anything found outside should probably be left outside, since sticks, bones, or other bits of trash can present safety hazards. Stick to the toys you can find in pet stores, and make sure to consult with your veterinarian for any real concerns.