Here's what you need to know about puppies and their teeth
Q: Why are puppy teeth so sharp?
A: Puppies are born without teeth but then develop two sets. A temporary, deciduous set of puppy teeth erupt around three to four weeks of age, which are replaced by a second set of permanent teeth that gradually replace the former, starting at around 12 weeks of age.
Puppies need teeth to break up their very first samples of meat and, having relatively weak jaws, sharp teeth are an advantage. It also helps start the weaning process. Teeth begin irritating their mother when puppies suckle — she starts to resent nursing and therefore moves away once she is sure they have had their fill. Deprived from the ‘milk bar’, the puppies will become naturally drawn to other food sources.
Having sharp teeth also helps a puppy learn the basics of bite inhibition, moderate the strength of its bite, and thereby avoids inflicting harm. As well as hurting its dam, those teeth also irritate the puppy’s litter mates while play fighting. Puppies will likely be heard to squeal and withdraw from playing. This teaches the biting puppy to be less rough with its mouth and it eventually learns that when it bites hard, good things stop.
Why has my teething puppy become destructive?
Q: My puppy loves chewing her kennel and sleeping box. Is it something I have done and if so how can I put it right?
A: Young gundogs start to shed their baby teeth and gain their adult teeth between three and six months of age. As with children this is a very stressful and painful time for young gundogs and chewing is a way to try to relieve the teething pain.
An old-fashioned remedy is to give a would be a young gundog a few chunks of frozen tripe and/or a frozen whole carrot to chew on. This does help ease puppy teeth pain and will help to preserve your kennel and sleeping box. I am 100 per cent sure when the adult teeth are through and the teething pain has stopped training will return to normal.