Dear VetBabble, is it okay for my 5-month-old puppy’s adult teeth to come in before his baby canines fall out? And should I be concerned if he seems less playful during this time?
Hello! It’s wonderful to hear from a thoughtful and proactive pet owner like you. Puppyhood can indeed be an exciting yet challenging time for both puppies and their humans. Concerns about teething and a change in playfulness are common, and I’m more than happy to provide some guidance and assurance on these matters.
Understanding Puppy Teeth and the Teething Process
Puppies typically start the teething process around four months of age, which involves losing their baby teeth and growing new, adult teeth. It is completely normal for the new teeth to come in before the baby canines fall out. In many cases, the baby canines will fall out on their own after the adult teeth have fully grown. To learn more about how to determine your puppy’s age using its teeth, you can read our article How Can I Tell my Puppy’s Age with its Teeth?.
If you notice that the baby canines haven’t fallen out by the time your puppy reaches the age of six months or if their teeth seem overcrowded, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian. They may recommend removing the baby canines, especially if they are not wobbly or causing discomfort.
Changes in Activity Levels During Teething
As for your puppy’s playfulness during teething, you might observe some temporary changes in behavior. Teething can cause mild discomfort or pain, and your pup may be less interested in playing or chewing on their toys. This is normal, and they should bounce back to their playful selves after the teething discomfort subsides. However, if a decreased playfulness lasts for more than a few days, or if you notice other concerning symptoms such as fever, lethargy, or loss of appetite, consult your veterinarian right away.
To make your puppy’s teething process more comfortable, provide them with plenty of suitable chew toys or even chilled, wet washcloths for them to soothe their gums on. For more tips on keeping your pup’s dental health in top shape, check out our article on Dog Teeth Cleaning & Dental Care.
Provide the Best Care for Your Puppy’s Overall Health
Throughout every stage of your puppy’s life — especially during teething — ensure that they are receiving proper care. Good preventive health care is essential. You can learn about the basics of caring for your dog, such as veterinary visits, vaccinations, and nutrition, in our article Basic Preventative Health: What Does Your Dog Need?. Remember to consult your veterinarian for tailored advice on your puppy’s specific health requirements.
As your pup grows and develops, providing a safe and nurturing environment is crucial. Make sure your puppy has a comfortable space to relax and recover from any discomfort they might be experiencing due to teething. You can learn more about acclimating your puppy to their new home and setting both of you up for success through our article, First Night Home with a New Puppy. What to Expect.
Teething is a natural and necessary process for puppies and, while it can be slightly uncomfortable for them, it’s a temporary phase they’ll soon overcome. Keep an eye on their teeth and overall health, and continue to shower them with love, support, and care. Happy puppy parenting!