Puppies are a lot of fun and can bring sweet, positive energy to your life, but there are a lot of things to consider before you add one to your family. They 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 home and property, but it can be difficult to know which are best for active puppies. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about puppy teething, including how to make the process easier, the toys that are a must, and which you should probably avoid.
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How to Make Teething Easier for Your Puppy
Human babies typically start getting their teeth around five or six months, but puppies get theirs much quicker — generally around two weeks old. It is exciting to begin a new phase in your pup’s development, but this one can be a real pain.
Teething can cause swollen gums, bleeding, and excess drooling. By the time your pup is six months old, he or she should have lost all their baby teeth and be equipped with a full set of adult ones. Surviving the process in between can be a real challenge, though.
Here are some easy things you can do to make teething easier for you and your puppy:
- Brush with dog-friendly toothpaste and a rubber finger brush. Not only will this get your dog used to having his or her mouth handled, but it can help soothe inflamed gums.
- Discourage nipping when your pup tries to be too mouthy. Nipping can be painful, and can lead to problematic behaviors as your pet grows. If your puppy starts to nip at your hands, practice redirection, tell your pup “no” in a firm voice, and move on to a safe toy.
- Keep a lot of safe, fun toys on hand to entertain and distract your puppy. Our selections below will help you narrow down the options and pick toys that are the right fit for your furry bundle of joy.
Follow these guidelines and your puppy will sail through the teething process in short order. These four types of puppy teething toys are dog-tested and owner approved to provide hours of fun:
Teething puppies are driven to chew nonstop, and can turn to furniture or personal items when left unattended. Redirect your puppy’s urge to gnaw by giving them a good quality chew toy. Chew toys, or “bully sticks,” not only keep your puppy’s gums stimulated and soothed, but many brands are fully digestible as well. Pig ears also make great chew toys, too, and are the perfect size for smaller breeds.
Just like with human babies, a cold treat or chew toy can help to ease gum inflammation and provide a fun distraction. Brands like Chilly Bone have created specialty toys that can be soaked in water and stored in the freezer. The rubbery texture and cold temp make these toys great for teething dogs. In a pinch, you can freeze some dog treats and vegetables, like carrots, to help satisfy your puppy’s urge to chew.
Toys that dispense treats are the best of both worlds for puppies and their busy owners. They are readily available in any pet store and come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and designs. Some treat dispensers, such as those designed by Kong, double as chew toys, which are bound to keep your pup stimulated as he or she works to wiggle out the treat that is stuck inside. A few varieties of these toys even feature liquid dispensers in dog-friendly flavors like beef liver and bacon.
If you are looking for a toy that you can enjoy with your puppy, a rope is a great option. Ropes are great for playing fetch and can provide hours of interactive play. Teething puppies can chew on the rope in between play sessions, with the tough strands acting as floss. There are a lot of great brands on the market, so just make sure to choose a rope that can easily be managed by your growing pup. Many also include a chew toy in the center or feature interactive toys of some sort incorporated into the design.
Safety Concerns for Puppies
When shopping for the best toys for your puppy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Toys like rawhide bones might be popular, but tough pieces can separate, lodge in your pet’s throat, and present choking hazards. Additionally, some bones can splinter and cause major digestive issues in dogs of all ages.
Another thing to watch for is walks, as your puppy will probably find lots of treasures he or she will undoubtedly want to chew on. 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.
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