Can Puppies Go Up And Down Stairs? When It’s Safe For Your Dog’s Breed

Can Puppies Go Up And Down Stairs? When It’s Safe For Your Dog’s Breed

I had big wooden stairs in a house once and my elderly dog was too scared to go up and down them, so I had to carry her each time. Then I got a puppy and it made me wonder if I should let him climb those stairs or not. I did some research and it turns out that:

Puppies should not go up and down stairs on their own, even if they want to try – use a baby gate to stop your pup from accessing stairs in your home. Puppies that go up and down stairs can tumble and hurt themselves or permanently damage their hips.

Even If you think your puppy is big enough and strong enough to handle stairs, the truth is that letting your pup even try can do a lot more harm than good. Let’s “climb” into the nitty gritty of puppies and stairs…

Are stairs bad for a puppy’s hips?

Photo of a puppy at the bottom of a staircase

If a puppy is less than 12 weeks old, going up and down stairs can be very bad for its hips, especially if the puppy runs up and down a lot of stairs.

A puppy is born with cartilage hips. The ball of each hip is held in place by a fibrous tissue called a ligament. Over time, the cartilage turns to strong bone.

If the ligament stays intact, the hip bone develops normally, with a smooth rolling ball in a round socket. The ball of the hip rolls around gently in the socket as the dog moves its legs.

This is what normal hip bones look like in a dog:

Ball and socket labelled on the Xray of a dog's hip bone
X-ray of an adult dog’s hip bones.
Source: Joel Mills, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If the ligament gets torn or damaged, the ball of the hip moves and develops abnormally, not sitting snugly in the socket. When the dog moves its legs, the bones rub together and the rim of the socket becomes damaged.

This abnormal growth is called “hip dysplasia”, and can make life very painful for a puppy and even impossible for the dog to walk in old age.

Below is an X-ray showing hip dysplasia. Do you see how the balls of the hips sit slightly out of the sockets compared to the normal hips in the X-ray above?

Hip dysplasia labelled on X-ray of dog's hips
X-ray showing hip dysplasia, where the balls of the hips developed abnormally and do not fit smoothly inside the hip socket.
Source: Joel Mills, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Going up and down stairs puts jarring pressure on a young puppy’s hips that can damage the hip ligaments, which can lead to hip dysplasia. Not all dogs get hip dysplasia, but larger breeds and any puppy that damages its hip ligaments are more likely to get it.

A study on large breed dogs cited by the American Journal of Veterinary Research found that:

Puppies walking on stairs from birth to 3 months of age had an increased risk of developing HD [hip dysplasia].

Source: National Library of Medicine

At what age can puppies go up and down stairs?

Based on the hip dysplasia study above and advice from the RSPCA:

No puppy should go near a stair before 12 weeks of age. It’s safest to carry puppies younger than 6 months up and down stairs. After 6 months of age a puppy can be taught how to go up and down stairs in a controlled and safe environment, but don’t give your pup free access to stairs until it is fully grown and an adult dog.

Dogs reach adulthood at different times, depending on their size and breed. Check the following table to find out when your puppy becomes an adult dog and should be able to start going up and down stairs on its own:

Breed SizeAverage Weight When An Adult DogBreed ExamplesBecomes An Adult At About
Very small / MiniatureLess than 12 poundsAffenpinscher
9 months
Small13 – 25 poundsBoston Terrier
Cavalier Spaniel
French Bulldog
12 months
Medium26 – 50 poundsBorder Collie
14 months
Large51 – 75 poundsAfghan Hound
Airedale Terrier
18 months
Giant76 pounds+Akita
Neapolitan Mastiff
24 months
© Ayo Pets

You will notice that larger breeds take longer to become adults and should wait longer before climbing up and down stairs.

Can puppies go up and down stairs - Infographic

How to block stairs from your puppy

After doing some research online I was surprised by a lot of the advice that’s offered on how to stop puppies from going up and down stairs. Apparently, the sound of tinfoil on stairs scares puppies and rough carpeting makes a puppy avoid the stairs because it doesn’t want to scratch its feet.

From personal experience I can say that I know my own dogs. When they want to go somewhere they go there – even if there are “scary” tinfoil sounds or a little foot scrub along the way. Especially if they think I’m leaving or there’s someone at the front door.

None of these methods would ever stop my dogs from going up or down stairs.

The best way to block stairs from a puppy is to use a stair gate or baby gate at the top and bottom of a flight of stairs. Make sure the gate is high enough that your puppy can’t jump over it and secure enough that your puppy can’t push it over.

I first bought a cheap one from Kmart to try it out, but later invested in an adjustable, heavy-duty one that works much better.

Here is a popular baby gate on Amazon that should do the trick.

If you can’t get a baby gate or you don’t have one yet, block off the staircase with whatever you have in your house that’s big enough and heavy enough to stop your puppy from getting to the stairs.

Or don’t let your puppy play in the room with the stairs until it is an adult and you can train your pup to go up and down stairs safely.

Can You Leave Your Dog’s Harness On All Day: The Pros And Cons

Can You Leave Your Dog’s Harness On All Day: The Pros And Cons

Some dog owners let their dogs wear a harness all the time and others are against this practice. No matter which side of the harness debate you’re on, let’s take a look at whether or not a dog can wear a harness all the time and then explore both sides a little further …

A dog can wear a well-fitting harness all day if the harness is comfortable and loose enough not to scratch or irritate the dog’s skin. At the very least, a dog’s harness should be taken off at night, when the dog is in a crate, and whenever the dog is left alone.

Dog owners, trainers, and veterinarians have differing opinions on whether or not a dog should be left wearing a harness all the time. What everyone does seem to agree on is that the only time a dog really needs to wear a harness is when the dog is out for a walk or being trained.

As a dog owner, you will need to weigh up the pros and cons and make the best decision for your dog. Below, I’ll give a rundown on what you can gain and what risks are involved with letting your dog wear a harness all the time, along with some tips and tricks on how to make it safer and more comfortable for your dog to wear a harness for long periods.

The pros of leaving on a dog’s harness

Photo of a dog walking next to its owner with a blue harness on

Here are the pros of letting your dog wear a harness all the time, or at least most of the day:

  • Harnesses give you something to grab on to pull your dog or puppy out of danger quickly or to stop your dog from running away
  • Dogs with very short necks, like Pugs, can’t wear a regular collar with ID tags around their necks, so a harness is a good substitute during the day in case the dog ever goes missing (though it’s always a good idea to get your dog microchipped and not just rely on tags for identification)
  • It’s quicker to get your puppy or dog outside for a potty break – just clip the leash onto the harness and you’re ready to go outside. This is especially handy if you live in an apartment or need to take your dog out every time for a potty break
  • If you have a puppy or dog that needs supervision for whatever reason, the harness gives you something to tie the dog to you and keep it nearby. This is much safer than using a neck collar, which can choke a dog or cause neck injuries if the dog pulls on it
  • Leaving a harness on a dog for a while can get your dog used to wearing a harness, which can make walks easier
  • Dogs tend to listen more and behave better with a harness on
  • Some dog owners claim that wearing a harness makes their anxious dog calmer, such as when there is a storm
  • If your dog ever runs away or into the road at night, a harness with reflective stripes will reflect cars’ lights, so drivers can see your dog and avoid hitting it
  • Older dogs or sick dogs that need help moving around or getting up and down can benefit from wearing a harness with handles on it – simply grip the handles and you can help your dog with what it needs
  • Service dogs and many working dogs are required to wear a harness all day while working, to help them get the job done

The cons of leaving on a dog’s harness

There are cons or risks in letting your dog wear a harness all the time, such as:

  • Harnesses can irritate a dog’s skin where it rubs a lot, especially if the harness is too small, too tight, worn for too long, or made of a rough material
  • If a harness is worn for too long and it rubs against the dog’s skin, the dog can lose hair in that area
  • A harness can rub against long fur and make the fur knotted or matted
  • Harnesses with a front strap across a dog’s chest can put pressure on the dog when it’s sitting down, making the harness very uncomfortable
  • Puppies and dogs with Pica have lots of time to chew on the harness and swallow pieces, which is a serious choking hazard
  • If a wet harness is left on a dog for too long, the dog could get a skin infection
  • A harness can hook on something your dog walks past and trap your dog
  • The harness can get dirty and start to smell if it isn’t removed and cleaned regularly. Here’s a great video showing you a very easy way to clean a dog’s harness:

Dog safety and comfort when wearing a harness

If your dog needs to wear a harness all the time or you want to leave it on, here are some tips and tricks to make long-term harness wearing as safe and comfortable for your dog as possible:

Make sure the harness fits well

Make sure the harness fits properly, and that it isn’t too tight or too loose. Your dog should be able to walk normally in the harness. If your dog walks funny or differently in the harness, wearing the harness for long periods of time could negatively affect your dog’s walking style and posture.

Also, the back of the harness should be positioned two to three inches behind the dog’s front legs, but not sit past the ribcage.

Here’s a comprehensive video explaining how to choose a harness that’s best for your dog:

Don’t get a harness with a front strap

Choose a harness that doesn’t have a strap across the front of the dog’s body. These are fine for walking, but can be uncomfortable if the dog needs to wear the harness for many hours as the strap can become tight and uncomfortable across the chest when the dog sits down.

Check for sores

Check the skin under the harness every three to four days for chafing or irritation. If there is some skin irritation, remove the harness immediately and let the dog’s skin breathe and repair before putting it back on.

Alternate harnesses

Consider buying more than one harness, and alternating harnesses every week or so. Be sure to wash a harness when you take it off, so it’s nice and clean for when you want to use it again.

Don’t let your dog overheat

Don’t leave a padded harness on your dog for long periods of time as your dog could overheat, especially in warm weather or if your dog has a double coat.

Here are all my tips for keeping a dog cool.

Don’t let your dog or puppy chew on the harness

Watch your dog to see if your dog bites or nibbles on the harness, or if your dog tries to chew through it. Don’t let your dog or puppy chew the harness as it is a choking hazard.

Rub and brush the harnessed area regularly

Take the harness off at least once a week and give your dog’s chest and back a good rub down and a brush.

Leave the harness off for a couple of hours to let your dog’s skin breathe and the hair relax.

Remove the harness when your dog sleeps or is alone

A dog should never sleep with a harness on. You should remove the harness when your dog is in a crate, sleeping, or alone and you won’t hear your dog crying for help. This is because the harness can get caught on something and trap, hang, or choke your dog, which can be fatal if you aren’t nearby or awake to help.

Final Thoughts

And there you have all the pros and cons of leaving a harness on your dog. Every dog is different, so you need to make your own decision and watch your dog carefully to see what makes your dog happiest and most comfortable.

You’ll soon see if your dog’s harness is a bother or a source of comfort, and you might have one dog that loves wearing a harness and another that hates it. If your dog hates a harness, don’t force your dog to wear one all the time – keep the harness for fun things like walks and training sessions.

Edamame: What Dogs Can And Cannot Eat

Edamame: What Dogs Can And Cannot Eat

If your dog is begging to taste edamame, you’re probably wondering if it’s okay for dogs to eat these little beans. Well, it turns out that…

Dogs can eat edamame if they don’t have a soy allergy, as edamame beans are baby soy beans. When feeding a dog edamame choose plain beans, without their shells or pods. Edamame is safest for dogs when it is raw, cooked, or frozen, without any condiments added to it.

Just because dogs enjoy edamame and don’t have a food allergy doesn’t mean that they can eat all kinds of edamame. In fact, some parts and types are quite dangerous for dogs. Let’s take a look at what edamame you can feed your dog and how much is safe for your dog to eat, so there aren’t any nasty side effects.

Can dogs eat edamame?

Photo of edamame pods and beans
These edamame beans are young soy beans.

Soybeans grow in pods or shells on soy plants. When the beans in the pods are very young and still green, they are often called by their Japanese name: edamame. Over time, baby edamame matures into light brown soybeans.

Mature soybeans growing on soy plants.

So edamame is soy, which is a vegetable that contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber.   

Soybeans are added to many dog foods on the market because they are filling, affordable, and usually safe for dogs to eat, unless a dog is allergic to soy. This tells us that edamame should be safe for dogs to eat too.

Dogs can eat edamame that is:

You can give your dog edamame beans by sprinkling them over food, adding the beans to homemade dog food, giving them as a treat, or using the beans as an occasional training reward.

Dogs should not or cannot eat:

  • Cooked edamame with something added to it, such as salt, oil, spices, seasonings, soy sauce, garlic, etc.
  • Store-bought edamame snacks that have salt or any other additives
  • Edamame pods, as they are difficult to digest and are a choking hazard (*see more info below)
  • Edamame mixed with frozen or other vegetables, as there might be garlic or onion in the mix (two of the vegetables that are toxic to dogs)

Can dogs eat edamame pods?

Edamame pods are not toxic to dogs, but it’s better not to give a dog edamame pods because they are difficult for a dog to digest and are a choking hazard.

A small dog might choke on an edamame pod if the pod gets stuck in the dog’s throat, or the pod could get stuck later in the dog’s digestive tract.

A large dog should be able to eat a pod without a problem, but the pod can give the dog gas, bloating and constipation, making things very uncomfortable as it makes its way through the digestive tract.

Can dogs eat edamame noodles?

Dogs can eat edamame noodles or spaghetti that hasn’t had anything added to it, such as salt, oil, or flavorings. Because of its high fiber content, too many edamame noodles could give the dog gas, bloating, or constipation, so make edamame noodles an occasional treat and give them to your dog in moderation.

How much edamame can a dog eat?

A large dog can safely eat about five to ten edamame beans at a time. A small- or medium-sized dog can be given between one and five beans at a time.

If your dog has never eaten edamame before, feed only one or two beans to start off with, to see if your dog likes the beans and how it reacts. If a dog isn’t used to edamame and eats too many beans in one sitting, there could be side effects such as gas or constipation.

Just because soy is in many dog foods doesn’t mean that you should give your dog soy regularly or that more is better. In fact, too much soy over a period of time can damage a dog’s thyroid or liver.

If you are adding edamame or soybeans to homemade dog food, get a balanced meal plan from a veterinarian or qualified expert so you know how much is right for your dog’s size, age, weight, breed, and requirements. You want to make sure your dog is getting nutrients in the right quantities and doesn’t get malnourished or harmed over time.

Be sure to use this schedule whenever you change your dog’s food, to avoid tummy upsets and ease your dog into the new food:

infographic of 1-week pan to change adult dog food

What happens if a dog eats too much edamame?

Dogs don’t feast on edamame in nature, so their digestive systems aren’t designed to process a lot of this type of plant material. A dog that eats too much edamame is probably going to have symptoms until the edamame has worked its way out of the digestive system.

Edamame can be difficult to digest and contains a lot of fiber, which absorbs water and bulks up the stool. If a dog eats too much edamame, it can suffer from gas/flatulence, abdominal bloating and pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Edamame doesn’t always break down during digestion, so you might see whole beans in your dog’s stool.

Symptoms of soy allergy in dogs

Some dogs are allergic to soy and cannot eat edamame beans. If you give your dog edamame and you see any of the symptoms listed below, it’s better not to give your dog any edamame or soy and speak to your vet about a possible food allergy.

Write down when you fed your dog edamame and when the symptoms started showing. But also know that your dog might be allergic to something else, not soy, and your veterinarian will be able to advise you on this.

According to Pet MD, your dog might have a food allergy if your dog …

  • Is constantly scratching itself
  • Is constantly licking its feet
  • Keeps on getting ear infections
  • Keeps on getting hot spots, which are hairless patches where the skin has become red and inflamed
  • Often suffers from digestive issues, such as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, a grumbling stomach, gas, or abdominal swelling
  • Has red eyes that look inflamed
  • Coughs a lot
This is a hot spot on a Golden Retriever. Hot spots are raw, moist spots on a dog’s body, often caused by an allergy such as a soy allergy.
SOURCE: Kalumet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final thoughts

Edamame makes a great snack or treat for your dog, in moderation.

The trick is to keep it clean and as close to nature as possible, by feeding your dog raw edamame beans without the skins or anything added to it.

Pop some beans into the freezer and give them to your dog on a hot day, as a cooling treat. Edamame is a tasty addition to your dog’s diet, but should never be the staple.

Are Blankets Safe For Pups? Safety Tips And What To Watch For

Are Blankets Safe For Pups? Safety Tips And What To Watch For

Your puppy needs a lot of sleep to grow up big, strong, and healthy. And the best thing to snuggle under for a good rest is a blanket. But you’re probably wondering if blankets are safe for your puppy.

Well, it turns out that…

Blankets are safe for puppies. Start your puppy off with a lightweight blanket and make sure your puppy can easily get out from under the blanket, so never tuck your puppy in tight.

It’s important to give your pup the right kind of blanket and teach it how to use blankets from a young age, to avoid problems that might arise. Let’s dive into everything you really need to know to make blankets safe for your pup and what the real risk is when puppies use blankets (it’s not suffocation).

Do puppies need blankets?

Photo of a beagle puppy sleeping under a blanket

All puppies need blankets no matter what season it is. Not all puppies are the same, so there’s no blanket that works for all puppies all the time. Your puppy’s blanket needs might change over time, with the weather and as it grows up.

Puppies need blankets because:

  • Puppies are very sensitive to the cold and blankets keep them warm
  • Puppies like to snuggle in blankets for comfort and security, much like human babies
  • Puppies that are sick need to be kept warm with blankets, so their body has a better chance to fight off infections

Should you cover a puppy with a blanket?

You can cover your puppy with a blanket if your puppy likes it and wants to be covered. If your puppy goes to sleep under the blanket, then your pup is happy. If your puppy climbs out from under the blanket, don’t force your pup to stay under the blanket.

If you do cover your puppy with a blanket, make sure the blanket is loose enough so your puppy can move around and decide whether it wants to sleep under, on top of, or next to the blanket.

You will soon learn whether your puppy likes to sleep under a blanket or not. I have one dog that will snooze for hours wrapped up in a blanket. My other dog doesn’t last more than 5 minutes before coming out for fresh air.

Can puppies suffocate under a blanket?

A puppy is very unlikely to suffocate under a blanket. When a puppy gets too hot, it will wiggle around looking for a way to get out from under the blanket. Start your puppy off with a light blanket that air can easily get through, and teach your puppy how to get out from under the cover.

Your pup will soon learn how to sleep under a blanket for warmth and how to get out when things get too hot.

If your puppy seems to struggle to get out from under a blanket or is a very heavy sleeper, don’t give your pup a large, heavy blanket to sleep under. Choose a light fleece blanket instead.

Even if your dog is a heavy sleeper or struggles to get out from under a blanket, it is extremely unlikely to suffocate under the blanket – a dog is more likely to overheat under a blanket than to suffocate.

According to Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital, here are some signs to look for to know if your dog is overheating:

  • Dry nose, mouth, and/or gums
  • Excessive panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive drooling

If you think your puppy might be overheating, feel the skin inside its ear flap. If the skin feels hotter than usual, help your dog out from under the blanket and use these tips to cool your dog down.

What kinds of blankets can puppies have?

Lightweight polyester fleece, nylon, faux fur, Sherpa, quilted, coral fleece, and polar fleece are some of the best materials to use for puppy blankets.

Fleece is the most popular material for puppy blankets because these blankets are:

  • Lightweight enough to let air through so your puppy can breathe
  • Thick enough to keep your puppy warm
  • Soft enough for your puppy to snuggle into and feel safe
  • Machine washable
  • Last a long time
  • Tend not to collect dog hair

Puppies with short, thin coats and smaller breeds tend to feel the cold more and need thicker blankets than puppies with longer fur coats.

If you have a puppy that likes to chew and swallow non-food things, it’s better to invest in puppy-safe or chew-resistant blankets. These blankets are more durable and make it harder for your puppy to bite off pieces and swallow them, which is very dangerous and can choke your pup.

Do puppies need a blanket at night?

A puppy needs a blanket at night because its fur isn’t always enough to keep it warm. Every puppy needs at least one blanket, sometimes more. Your puppy will decide if it wants to use the blanket to stay warm or simply for comfort at night.

One thing we know for sure is that your puppy needs many hours of uninterrupted sleep at night to develop and grow. Click here to find out how many hours of sleep is “normal” for a healthy puppy (you might be surprised!)

Can you give a puppy a baby blanket?

Baby blankets are safe for puppies. These blankets are often very soft and snuggly, and thin enough to let air through so your dog can breathe under them.

My dogs have baby blankets in their dog beds and they love them.

Final thoughts

Blankets are safe for puppies and every pup needs at least one blanket to snuggle under. Help your pup learn how to safely use its blanket by showing it how to climb under and out of the blanket.

Start with a light fleece blanket and, if your pup still gets cold, add some more blankets to your puppy’s bed or crate, or get your pup a warmer blanket to use.

Do Puppies Swallow Their Baby Teeth?

Do Puppies Swallow Their Baby Teeth?

As puppies grow up, they lose their baby teeth. If you’re here then you’re probably wondering what many puppy owners ask themselves at some stage – do puppies really swallow their baby teeth? It turns out that…

Puppies usually swallow about 14 of their 28 baby teeth. Loose baby teeth are often swallowed if they fall out while puppy is eating or drinking. If puppy is chewing on something, loose baby teeth may just get stuck in the chew toy or be spat out.

In this article, I’ll discuss what to expect when it comes to your puppy’s teething schedule. We’ll look at what happens to a puppy’s baby teeth when it loses them and how to know if your puppy is losing teeth. We’ll also go a little more in-depth into whether or not swallowing baby teeth is dangerous for your pup.

When do puppies start losing their baby teeth?

Infographic showing the puppy teething timeline

Puppies start growing their baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth or milk teeth, when they’re about three weeks old. By the time they reach six weeks of age, puppies usually have a complete set of 28 baby teeth.

When puppies are about three months old, their baby teeth start to loosen and fall out as part of the normal teething process, which usually ends when puppies reach six to seven months. By that time, they should have a complete set of 42 permanent adult teeth.

While teething, a puppy’s gums are achy and uncomfortable just like a human baby’s, so the puppy tries to soothe this pain and help the new teeth break through the gums by chewing on things.

What happens to a puppy’s baby teeth?

When puppies lose a baby tooth, one of three things usually happens:

  • The tooth gets stuck in whatever the puppy is chewing
  • Puppy feels the tooth in its mouth and spits it out
  • Puppy swallows the tooth

Of the 28 baby teeth that puppies have, about half of them or more end up being swallowed when they come loose from the gums. These teeth often fall out when a puppy is eating dry food, and your puppy might not even notice that a tooth is mixed in with the kibble being swallowed.

Is it dangerous if a puppy swallows baby teeth?

Photo of a smiling puppy

It’s not dangerous if a puppy swallows its baby teeth. Many puppies swallow their own teeth by accident, making it quite a common and normal thing for puppies to do. A puppy’s baby teeth are very small, and, most of the time, the puppy won’t even realize it has swallowed a tooth.

Baby teeth pass through a puppy’s digestive system harmlessly and are excreted when the pup goes to poop several hours later.

Signs your puppy is teething

There will be times when your puppy loses teeth that you don’t know about because your pup can’t tell you what’s going on. But if you do want to know when your puppy starts teething, there are some things you can watch out for such as:

Your puppy’s age

Keeping track of your puppy’s age will give you a good idea of when your pup will start and stop teething.

Puppies lose their baby teeth between three and seven months of age. During this time, a puppy’s baby teeth will become loose and fall out, to be replaced by adult teeth.

Finding blood on chew toys

When a puppy loses a tooth, its mouth bleeds a little until the blood clots. If you notice some blood on your puppy’s favorite toys or anything your pup likes to chew on, this could be a sign that your puppy has loose or is missing teeth.

Finding teeth or seeing teeth missing

Sometimes puppies don’t swallow their teeth – they might spit the teeth out or leave them stuck in something they’ve been chewing on. If you start seeing sharp, tiny teeth lying around your house, your pup is definitely losing its teeth.

Even if you don’t find teeth lying around but you see a gap in your pup’s gums where a tooth used to be, it’s because your dog has lost a tooth and the adult replacement hasn’t grown out yet.

Frequent drooling

Despite what the cartoons and family comedies would have us believe, puppies aren’t naturally excessive droolers. If you notice your puppy drooling a lot more than usual, this is usually a sign your pup may have loose teeth.

Your puppy is drooling because its adult teeth are busy pushing out the baby teeth. This makes the gums and mouth sore to keep closed, so your pup keeps its mouth open and drool has a chance to come out.

Whining and pawing at the face

While your puppy can’t talk and tell you about the pain, it has other ways of showing you that it’s hurting.

Two of the most common of these is to whine a lot and paw at the face. Both of these are signs that something is hurting your puppy, and if your pup is between six weeks and six months old, that ‘something’ could very likely be related to teething.

Click here to read all the other ways dogs ask us humans for help.

A decreased appetite

If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know how bad it feels to eat when each bite causes you pain. Chances are you avoided eating anything other than soft foods until you felt better.

Puppies sometimes avoid eating when they’re losing teeth because eating hurts them, especially if all they get is dry food. If you notice a marked change in your puppy’s appetite that doesn’t seem to stem from digestive issues, check your puppy’s teeth and consider soaking your pup’s kibble or feeding wet food for a while.

How to help puppies through teething

Photo of a puppy Labrador chewing on a finger

Teething is a natural, healthy part of a puppy’s development, but there are things you can do to help a pup feel better while it’s going through this challenging time.

Never pull loose teeth

Never pull out a dog’s loose teeth!

Many pet owners think they can help their puppies by pulling out obviously loose teeth, but this is never a good idea. It can be painful and traumatic for your puppy, and it can also increase the dog’s risk of infection.

It’s also risky for you: Your puppy won’t understand that you’re trying to help. It will only know that whatever you’re doing inside its mouth is causing pain. You’re putting yourself at risk of being bitten, and your dog will probably never let you near its mouth again.

Buy the right toys

Teething puppies need to sink their sore teeth into something. Giving your pup chew toys to chew on helps both of you.

It’s good for you because it helps keep your dog interested in chewing something other than your furniture, clothes, shoes, and other items around your home. If a puppy’s going to chew it’s good to give your puppy something to chew.

It’s good for the pup because chewing eases the pressure on its gums and makes its mouth hurt less. Chewing on the right kind of toys instead of whatever’s lying around is also safer and less likely to cause digestive issues or other health problems, such as pica.

I’m a huge fan of Kong products, and, luckily, Kong has a teething rubber chew toy available on Amazon. This is a great product because it’s durable, and will keep your pup busy and mentally stimulated when you put treats inside it.

Feed ice cubes

Ice numbs the skin. Giving your pup ice cubes to eat can help your dog with teething pain, and the hard texture of the ice can help loose teeth fall out.

If your puppy doesn’t want to eat ice made with plain water, add a little dog-friendly broth or the water after boiling chicken to the ice cube tray. My dogs can’t get enough of these tasty cubes and they are a regular treat on hot summer days.

Final thoughts

Every puppy goes through the teething stage, and every puppy ends up swallowing a few teeth when baby teeth fall out.

Don’t worry, this is perfectly safe. If you notice a few new holes in your puppy’s mouth but don’t see any teeth lying around, they might turn up when your pup goes out for a bathroom break.