When Rocco was a puppy, I remember how much he loved to chew. He would sit down with a Himalayan Yak Cheese and chew for hours on one. He would chew on his toys. He would chew on the walls. He even tried chewing on electrical cords.

Puppy teething in Chihuahuas is normal, and no puppy is born knowing instinctively what is and is not okay to chew on. Rocco had to learn these things through trial and error, with a little help from his owners who didn’t want him to find out the shocking truth about electrical cords.

After some bitter apple spray on the walls and a few kind redirections from the furniture to a yak cheese, (amazon/chewy) Rocco got the idea that things like toys and chews were fine for chewing, but walls and furniture were not. (We fenced off exposed electrical cords with an x-pen until he was well past the teething stage.)

When Puppies Teeth

Puppies are not born with teeth. Their initial 28 puppy teeth burst through around 2-3 weeks of age. They don’t start getting their permanent teeth until a little bit later—about 3-4 months old. When this happens, their gums may feel sore and inflamed. They seek relief by chewing on things.

Your pup will chew on just about anything to get relief from their discomfort. It’s important to never shout at them for chewing, as it will only cause them to be secretive about it.

Instead, redirect chewing on inappropriate items to an appropriate one. If you are always taking them away from the table leg and giving them a chew instead, they’ll quickly understand the chew is fine but the leg is not.

You can encourage this by putting bitter apple spray (amazon/chewy) on table legs and other inappropriate items as well.

Puppies generally stop teething around 9 months old. Although they are no longer in pain or discomfort, they may still have a strong urge to chew things for the next couple of years. Ensuring they have a variety of appropriate chew items can help stop them from experimenting on inappropriate items.

Teething on People

It’s natural for your pup to put anything in their mouth when they are young. This includes your fingers and arms. Puppy teeth are extremely sharp, and for good reason. Those needle-sharp teeth are designed to hurt their litter mates, so that each pup learns to control how hard they bite.

Bite inhibition is an extremely important part of puppy hood. It’s so important that if a pup is taken too early from the litter or is the only pup in a litter, it can cause problems with the puppy their whole life.

Once a puppy is brought home, they may still chomp on people and dogs, just like they chomped on their litter mates. You can teach your puppy not to bite (or depending on how you feel about it, how softly they can mouth on you) by shrieking when they bite down on you.

By mimicking the yelp of a puppy in the litter that has gotten too hard of a chomp, the puppy learns whether they can put their mouth on you at all, and if so, how hard. If your puppy doesn’t get this and still chomps down, end play immediately and remove yourself from his presence.

Your pup will quickly learn that the fun stops if he bites too hard. This is a very valuable skill and well worth taking the time to teach your pet.

Teething is a very difficult time for both you and your dog. Keep a lot of chews on hand for your pet and try not to scold them if you see them chewing on inappropriate items. It’s a whole big world out there, and they’re not born knowing what is okay and not okay to chew on yet.

If you’re not sure what some good chew options are, we’ll be going over some of our favorites next week.

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