Dogs may chew to ease tooth and gum pain at different stages of life, especially when baby teeth are coming in and when baby teeth fall out and adult teeth start to erupt. Adult dogs may chew if they have a gum disorder, broken or injured tooth, or some other form of mouth discomfort that can be soothed by chewing on objects.
Puppies and Teething
When puppies teethe, they chew on things to help their emerging teeth break through their gums. The pain of this process can be soothed by gnawing on appropriate doggy chew toys, or by chewing shoes, children’s toys or even the body parts of the pup’s human companions. This is a good time to direct your puppy to appropriate teething resources like rubber chew toys. Consider giving your pup ice to chew, as this can soothe sore gums. Even though it might seem cute for your puppy to chew on you, it sets a precedent for bad behavior, so don't let this become a habit.
Juveniles and Teething
You may notice your juvenile dog teething if you start seeing baby teeth around his chew toys, or find your pup drooling and chewing a lot. Continue the techniques you used when your puppy was developing his baby teeth and keep him focused only on appropriate teething items. Keep valuables and favorite personal items away from your pup, as they can all become teething toys in the eyes of your growing dog.
Human babies are often cranky during the teething process, and teething can be painfully uncomfortable for your dog as well. If it seems your dog is having an especially difficult time with teething, consult your vet. He may refer you to a veterinary dentist to help you decide the best course of action for handling your dog’s oral hygiene needs.
Other Dental Issues
If your dog exhibits teething behavior after typical teething periods have passed, he may be suffering from gum disease or a sore or fractured tooth. Fast vet attention is essential to curbing pain and stopping the potential for infection entering the bloodstream. Take swift action if your dog has bloody or swollen gums or a visibly broken tooth.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.