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Dog Teething

Question

There are so many chew toys out there. I don't want to waste my money but I want to make sure that my puppy, who is teething like crazy, has the "right" things?

Response

Your puppy should have a variety of chew toys. These toys can basically be broken down into 3 different categories.

First are the soft, permeable toys like the rope toy (homemade versions would include those made from old socks, stuffed and knotted, or knotted towels). These toys allow those sharp baby teeth to pierce between the fibers and allow the gums to be massaged. Wetting them & keeping them in the freezer will help your puppy relieve inflamed gums. Take care to trim unraveled and frayed ends. A few dogs experience problems from swallowing these pieces, so caution is advised. And trimming keeps rope toys from looking like the fringe on your rugs.

A second category of chew toy would include something slightly harder, but with a bit of give like a tennis ball. Your puppy will chew not only with the front teeth, but also with the back growing molars, giving them a good work out. This appropriate chewing allows a much-needed outlet for your pup's energy.

A third category includes objects that have virtually no give. By this I mean something fairly solid and sturdy. There are many such items on pet store shelves. These allow the roots of the teeth to become firmly entrenched in the gums. For fresh bones, choose only marrow or soup-type bones, which you can get at your local supermarket. When these bones are gnawed, they yield shavings rather than splinters. Avoid chicken and rib bones because they can splinter and possibly get caught in her throat or even puncture an organ.

Indeed, the world of chew toys can stretch your pocket book, but it can also stretch your imagination. Some unexpected favorites are carrots and ice cubes. Be creative!


Question

My four-and-a-half-month old yellow lab has been great about going to the bathroom outside for almost 2 months. Suddenly, over the last couple of days she has had 3 accidents in the house. Once she even went right in front of me? Is she mad at me or trying to get back at me for something? Is she regressing? What's going on?

Response

Chances are your pup is not regressing. She has probably lost a tooth or teeth and her "regression" will be short-lived. Inspect her chew toys and play areas. Look for traces of blood. or lost teeth.

Just like babies who often display runny noises, upset stomachs, and even diarrhea when teething, when puppies lose teeth, they seem to lose "it" in a lot of ways. For example, they tend to nip/bite/chew on everything in sight; even when they want to be good, when those teeth demons are raging, they just lose control. Similarly, they often cannot control elimination and sometimes will just let loose wherever they are, even right in front of you!

Our guess is that soon things will be back to normal. In the meantime, be sure to have a variety of chew toys available. Ice cubes or toys you can freeze (frozen carrots are great) can help to reduce pain and inflammation.