..... or a tale of .....
.. Teething .. Toys .. Toothpicks ..  and Boredom ..”

As with so many things to do with dogs, if you can understand what’s going on, then the best way to cope with it becomes  a little clearer  - he says hopefully!

  • “Teething.”
    Like us, dogs are born without teeth.....
    And then.....
    At 3 weeks, their “milk” teeth start to appear - from front to back.....
    And then.....
    At 12 weeks, they have a full set of 22 immaculate little white razor-sharp needles! .....
    And then.....
    These are up-rooted and replaced by its 42 second / permanent teeth.
    This whole process is usually completed by 28 weeks.
    You can now perhaps understand however, that life in a puppy’s mouth during this time, is pretty busy - and can be most uncomfortable - for everyone!
    There’s no doubt that something good and really hard to chew on seems to help things along - and if it’s your ankles or knuckles that are the nearest things available then, “they’ll do very nicely , thankyou!”
    Obviously the answer is to provide it with a bone. We used to suggest a beef marrow bone, sawn into 3 inch chunks. We’ve recently started to become a little concerned about the possibility of small chunks of bone being broken off and swallowed. We’ve also become concerned about hygiene. Fresh bones go stale, become smelly, attract flies and can become “soiled” - but can’t effectively  be cleaned. We now use a product called “Nylabone”. These come in different flavours and sizes, are virtually indestructable and can be easily washed and cleaned . Along with these, we use hide chews, a hard rubber ball, crisp raw carrots and apples - all helping with the teething process, gum massaging and general dental hygiene.
    We leave the nylabones / chews / ball in its playpen / sleeping area at all times, leaving it free to have a good chew whenever it feels like it. The carrot - or  a very generous thick slice of fresh apple - no core or pips -  is offered after its afternoon meal.
  • “Toothpicks.”
    It always amuses me to watch a dog returning from a walk with a small branch in its mouth. Once home, the branch that has been lovingly carried for miles, is gripped firmly between the front paws - and chewed to destruction, hopefully whilst still in the garden or back yard. If these “tooth-picks” and “gum massagers” aren’t readily available, then the next best thing could be a chair leg - be warned!
  • “Boredom.”
    A gundog is a very sociable animal - loves human company, children and just about everybody else. It positively hates being left on its own for any great length of time - it’s a form of forced isolation from its pack. It can become bored, worried, frustrated and lonely. Even with plenty of toys and bones around, it can start to chew anything and everything, including itself!
    Our Vet told me recently of a dog that had been brought in with a serious and painful wound to its front ankle - caused by constant chewing - as a result of being left alone whilst its owners were out at work.
    If you haven’t got somebody to keep your dog company - or provide a puppy with “one on one” attention, then please don’t buy one - for the puppy’s sake!
  • Just in passing......
    If you’re thinking of giving your puppy one of Dad’s old slippers to play with and chew, remember this.......
     Labradors are very intelligent , but many find it impossible to tell the difference between Dad’s old slipper and Mum’s latest pair of “Gucchi’s”. There are dozens of excellent toys available on the market - stick to them!

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