Puppies even as young as 7 weeks old want to chew. Their puppy teeth begin to erupt at 3 weeks of age, and by 6 to 8 weeks, they have all their baby teeth. At 7 weeks old, puppies are still in the litter and learning to chew with their littermates. Safe chews made for puppies will entertain them and satisfy their chewing instinct.
If you've put your hand in a puppy's mouth, you know those little teeth are as sharp as needles. That doesn't mean they can chew hard bones, though. Puppy teeth are brittle and break easily. At 7 weeks old, a puppy is just weaned and learning to eat dog food. He needs his sharp little teeth to cut through puppy kibble. Don't allow a young puppy to chew on hard bones or chews made for adult dogs that could break a tooth. The rule of thumb is that the chew should not be harder than the tooth.
A dog's need to chew is instinctive and if you don't provide safe chews, puppies will chew whatever they find -- from your computer cord to chair legs. Provide inedible chews made for puppies less than 3 months old. Chews should not have pieces that can break off easily. These can pose a choking hazard to young puppies or cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed. Soft, rubber toys or bones that the puppy can chew and squeak will entertain him and satisfy his urge to chew.
By 3 months of age, your puppy will start to lose his baby teeth and you will find them around the house. At 7 weeks old, your puppy is still teething and eager to chew. He will pick up sticks, rocks and other items outside that he shouldn't chew. He requires constant supervision. Puppy-proof your house or keep puppies in an ex-pen so they can't reach things that could be dangerous for them. When puppies start to lose their baby teeth and the adult teeth begin to erupt, the need to chew intensifies. Stronger puppy chews can be offered at this stage, but continue to avoid chews that can break in the puppy's mouth.
From 7 weeks of age through teething, rubber toys such as Kongs that can be filled with yogurt, peanut butter or soft dog food make excellent chew and teething treats. Fill the toy with food and freeze it. The frozen food helps soothe the puppy's gums and chewing on the toy satisfies his need to chew. These treats take most puppies a long time to empty, which is an added benefit. Always supervise your puppy when he chews any treats, and never leave him alone to chew them.
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