How to Help Puppy Teething
Learning to soothe my puppy's teething led to some unexpected (and messy) fun. See how NOT to help your puppy when facing this challenge!
A lifelong dog owner, I have only ever adopted older dogs. Adopting Charlie, a 2-month-old puppy, involved a slew of surprises. One of the biggest surprises was learning that puppies experience teething. After a lot of trial and error, I learned to survive the process, and I was able to spare most of my furniture.
Baby Teeth Fall Out
From the first day, Charlie loved to chew on things. I chalked it all up to his playful puppy behavior, so imagine my surprise when I discovered one of his teeth on the floor one morning.
I called my husband in a panic, thinking Charlie had accidentally yanked the tooth out while playing. My husband laughed and explained that our pup was simply losing his baby teeth. I was relieved at the news, until I started researching and learned we had some interesting experiences ahead of us.
Chewing, Chewing, and More Chewing
As the weeks went by, Charlie's chewing habit turned into a full-fledged addiction. It started out innocently enough with chew toys, chew bones, and the occasional stray sock, but as the teething worsened, nothing was safe from his snapping jaws. Dish towels, magazines, our living room rug, even the puppy-training book I was reading wasn't spared. I removed all the items I didn't want to see destroyed or digested, but I couldn't remove Charlie's need to chew.
With a lot of patience and positive reinforcement, it's possible to teach your puppy what he can and cannot chew, but I hoped to find a way to help with teething. I researched ways to soothe his gums and found frozen carrots as a suggestion. At that point, we were willing to try anything. One evening, as Charlie began to gnaw on the corner of the rug, I pulled out a frozen carrot and let him have at it. He was instantly calmed, but after about five minutes, I found the floor covered in tiny carrot shavings. Needless to say, carrots were out.
The next suggestion was ice cubes. It sounded like it might provide some relief, so we tried it. As Charlie chased a slippery ice cube around the house, leaving a wet trail all over our hardwood floors, it became obvious this idea was a bust, too. At least it provided entertainment.
Finally, I stumbled upon an idea that worked. I combined something he loved to chew with the frozen aspect, and the world's perfect dog teether was born: a frozen dishtowel. It worked so well, I stocked our freezer with wet towels. If you try this teething method, remember to supervise while your pup is chewing away. If he manages to break off a piece of the towel, it could cause a multitude of problems.
With my newfound solution, I managed to spare my rug from further harm and Charlie's cranky teething finally gave way to a happy smile.