Puppy teething 101: Does teething make puppies more tired?

Puppies are bundles of joy, but they can be a lot of work, especially for new pet parents. It can get quite frustrating, especially if you don’t know what’s going on or how to help your small furry friend. That’s why it’s important to understand the different stages of puppy development.

Puppies go through similar development stages as human babies. One of their main developmental milestones is teething. And just like in human babies, the teething process can have an impact on their mood and health. 

One common question that often arises when caring for puppies is whether teething makes them tired. Puppy teething does involve some physical discomfort and changes in behavior. It can cause your little friend to be more tired than usual, but there are other factors at play as well. 

I’ve put together a complete puppy teething guide and how to get through this challenging stage without losing your mind and your favorite shoes ☺️

While I am a veterinarian, this article is not intended to replace professional veterinary advice. If you have any medical concerns about your pet, consult your vet immediately. Always seek professional assistance if you are unsure of your pet’s health.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

puppy playing on a beach

What is puppy teething

Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth, while puppies have 28 baby teeth. Puppy teething is a natural process that happens when puppies start to grow their teeth. 

Teething can be uncomfortable for your pup as the sharp edges of the new teeth push against your puppy’s gums. 

And just like in human babies, the teething process has 2 stages. 

Baby teeth:

Puppies get their first set of teeth at around 3 weeks of age. By 6-7 weeks, all of their baby teeth have erupted. These first tiny teeth are also called deciduous teeth or milk teeth.

If you are a new puppy owner, you won’t have to deal with this stage, as it happens when the pup is still with his mum. So you will get your puppy with a full set of baby teeth that will be replaced by permanent ones. 

Permanent teeth

During this teething phase, puppies lose their baby teeth and new adult ones come in. 

Your puppy’s teeth will start to fall out at around 12 weeks of age. 

You might occasionally find a baby tooth on the floor, but mostly your puppy will swallow them during eating or chewing and they pass harmlessly through his digestive tract. 

By 6 months of age, most dogs have a full set of permanent teeth. 

Puppy teething problems

In some cases, especially in small or brachycephalic dogs like French bulldogs, the puppies retain one or more of their milk teeth. Mostly it’s upper canine teeth, but it can be anywhere. 

These retained teeth need to be removed since they can cause malocclusion (misaligned teeth that cause a poor bite) and dental problems. The food can get ‘trapped’ between the milk and permanent teeth and cause periodontal disease, cavities, or gingivitis. 

We usually remove retained baby teeth during spaying/neutering. 

Once your puppy has all his permanent teeth, it’s important to schedule regular dental checkups with your vet. Most vets check their patients’ teeth at least once a year during annual checkups and vaccinations. 

You also need to have a proper at-home dental care routine in place. Your puppy’s mouth is full of bacteria and proper oral hygiene and healthy teeth are necessary for his health and well-being. 

Signs of teething in puppies

Teething can cause discomfort and can make a puppy feel tired or destructive. In some cases, it’s a painful process when your pup needs your love and support. 

So, how will you know when your puppy is teething? Here are the most common signs:

Chewing on everything

One of the most obvious signs is that your pup may start chewing on different objects more than usual. This can be anything from furniture to shoes and toys. 

As I said before, puppies can be very destructive during this time. 

They might even start biting your hands or legs.  

Excessive drooling

Your puppy’s gums are itchy and painful, so drooling is another major sign of puppy teething. 

Some puppies even try to rub their gums on hard surfaces.

Swollen gums

At closer inspection, you may notice swollen, in some cases even red or slightly bleeding gums

If you see a bit of blood on his toys, or in his mouth, don’t be alarmed, it might be that he just lost a baby tooth. 

However, excessive bleeding is not normal.

Changes in behavior

Puppies may also become more irritable or whiny during this time, so it’s important to provide them with extra love and attention. 

They may also have difficulty eating dry food or may avoid food altogether due to the pain in their mouth, which can contribute to a lack of energy. 

The discomfort of teething can contribute to a puppy being tired, but there are also other factors that should be taken into account. Puppies need plenty of sleep, and their age can also affect how much energy they have.

It’s important to make sure your puppy is getting enough rest and that you are providing him with an appropriate amount of exercise and stimulation throughout the day. 

If your pup does seem unusually tired or irritable, the best thing you can do is to talk to a vet. It may be a sign of teething,  but it can also mean your pup has an underlying health problem.

How to help your puppy during teething

It’s important to remain calm and patient. Your puppy is going through a major change and it can cause him severe discomfort. Itchy or sore gums would make everyone irritable… 🤷‍♀️

The good news is, there are several good options you can try to help him during this time. 

Foods that might help:

If your puppy refuses to eat kibbles, you can try giving him soft puppy food. Wet food doesn’t mechanically irritate his gums and can also help him stay hydrated. 

Some dog owners swear by ice cubes. Try giving your puppy one or two ice cubes to chew on, the cold can calm the itching in his mouth. Alternatively, you can give him a piece of a frozen banana or frozen treats. 

Some puppies will happily leave your furniture alone if they get the chance to chew on bully sticks, pig’s ears, or rawhides. However, please be careful and buy only certified high-quality products! 

You can get natural and safe dog chews and hides from Farm Hounds, use the coupon WOOF10 to get a 10% discount 😎

Farm Hounds Pet Treats

Never leave your puppy alone when you give him something to chew on. All of these products, while good for your pup’s teeth, are a potential choking hazard

Puppy chew toys

To help make teething a little easier on your puppy, provide plenty of chew toys to reduce the pain in their gums and give him extra comfort and attention during this time. 

Regular play sessions will help him release energy and get his mind off his itchy gums. 

Every puppy is different, some like soft chew toys, while others love their plush or rope toy. And some like rubber toys that are harder to chew on.

A great option for teething puppies is for example Kong puppy rubber toys.  You can buy them now with a 10% discount from Entirely Pets 😎

Another option is a freezable puppy toy, like the freezable Cooling Ices Cones from Pet Life your puppy can gnaw on.

Bite inhibition and training lessons

It’s important to monitor your puppy’s behavior during the teething process. While some puppies get more tired and needy, others can get wilder and more aggressive. Yes, it can be a really challenging time for new puppy owners…

It also doesn’t help that teething usually coincides with moving to a new home and new family.  So please be gentle and loving. 

But you still need to set firm boundaries – while chewing is a natural instinct, it’s unacceptable if the puppy nips on your hands or legs (those razor-sharp teeth hurt!). Especially if you have young childer at home. 

Bite inhibition:

Your puppy needs to learn that people have sensitive skin and biting hurts them. He needs to understand that he has to be very gentle when using his mouth.

This process is called bite inhibition. It’s the dog’s ability to moderate the strength of his bite

Dogs usually learn this while playing with their litter mates. Ever seen a litter of puppies playing? Once in a while, if a puppy bites someone too hard, the other one yelps and doesn’t want to play anymore. This is an important part of their socialization. They learn not to bite too hard if they want to continue to play 😊

However, puppies sometimes don’t ‘transfer’ those skills when playing with their human friends.

If you have a biter at home, there are different techniques you can use to teach him bite inhibition. But your ultimate goal should be to train your puppy to stop biting humans altogether. 

printable puppy planner

Regular training sessions:

The best way to teach your puppy anything is to have regular training sessions. Consistency and repetition are key to your success 🙂

Never hit, punish, or subdue your puppy. It’s been proven that gentle positive training is what will give you the best results.

I’m assuming you love your puppy and want to have a healthy bond with him, so please be gentle and patient (even when it’s sometimes sooo hard, I know… 😩 ).

If you need to leave your teething puppy alone and don’t want to come home to destroyed furniture, you might consider crate training from an early age. There are many tutorials online, choose the one you and your puppy are comfortable with. Again, positive association and lots of tasty treats are the way to go 🙂

Additionally, you should try to keep your puppy’s routine as consistent and stress-free as possible during teething. Go for regular walks and provide enough play and cuddle time.

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to talk to your puppy’s veterinarian if you need additional advice or if you feel your puppy is too tired or lethargic. Trust your instinct, if something feels off, talk to your vet. Better safe than sorry ☺️

Puppy teething is an important part of the growing process, but it can also be uncomfortable for your pup. To help make it a little easier, provide plenty of chew toys to reduce the pain in his gums and give him extra comfort and attention during this time.  Additionally, try to keep your puppy’s routine as consistent and stress-free as possible. Make sure your puppy is getting enough sleep and maintain a consistent training schedule.

If you have any further questions about puppy teething, be sure to consult your vet for advice.

Good luck and happy pet parenting! 🥰

PS: If you are as crazy about animals as I am and want to get more pet health tips, subscribe to my newsletter! Now you will get a free pet planner as a bonus 🤗

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