Anyone who has ever cared for a teething baby knows how uncomfortable this process can be, especially to a young being who doesn’t understand why he’s in pain. The same is true for a teething puppy (yes, they do lose their teeth, too!). There may not be a Sophie the Giraffe for dogs, but there are some items you can offer your puppy to help soothe his gums and distract him from the discomfort.
Puppies explore the world through their mouths, so they’ll chew anything they can sink their teeth into (that goes for your shoes, furniture, and more). By providing them with items they are allowed to indulge their chewing instinct on, they’ll be more likely to spare your expensive stilettos.
Best Puppy Teething Toys:
A Kong or another hard rubber toy, especially one that’s fillable. The beauty of these types of toys is that they are nearly impossible to destroy. Also, a fillable toy like a Kong gives you the ability to add water and freeze it, adding a cooling element to soothe those sore gums.
A hard nylon toy. Again, these types of toys are practically indestructible. Just make sure that you select the appropriate size for your pet (especially if you have a large-breed dog) so that he doesn’t accidentally swallow it, causing a blockage.
A thick rope toy. With toys like this, quality is key. Make sure your puppy isn’t able to pull off any little fibers of the toy—if he swallows them, it can cause an intestinal blockage that can make him very sick. Also, these types of toys can be tempting to play tug-of-war with—but don’t do this until your puppy is full-grown. It can affect his teeth as they grow in. A tip: Soak the toy in water and then put it in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. As mentioned above, it will have a cooling effect on your puppy's sore gums.
Worst Puppy Teething Toys:
- Items with small or sharp metal parts such as pins, springs, or batteries.
- Long strips or fibers, such as strings or thin ribbon. Nylon hose can be dangerous if swallowed.
- Cooked real bones of any kind. Cooked bones break into tiny, highly abrasive fragments that damage the digestive tract over time.
- Sheets of plastic film (e.g., garbage bags) can cause choking.
- Chewies made of large pieces or knots of rawhide. Swallowed pieces of these often cause intestinal obstructions.
- Thin, squeaky-type rubber pet toys. Dogs who are vigorous chewers can swallow these toys whole, swallow large pieces of them, or swallow the metal squeakers inside.
- Soft toys with foam stuffing.
- Anything of yours (or something that looks like your stuff). A puppy doesn’t understand that he’s allowed to chew the old toy you gave him and not your fancy new Manolo Blahniks.
No matter what toy you select for your puppy, it’s important to monitor him while he’s playing and to pick up the toys and check them from time to time to make sure your puppy hasn’t bitten off any chunks or that no fibers are coming loose from the toy.
For more information on caring for you puppy's teeth, check out the video below.