When puppies go through teething, they’ll start chomping on anything within arm’s length. Providing chew toys for puppies gives your pup something safe and soothing to chomp on (that’s also much more appealing than your favorite leather shoes).
Puppies lose their teeth and go through the teething process just like human babies do. This means that your pup will go through an uncomfortable transition period as his teeth grow in.
Many puppy teething toys are specifically designed to numb soreness and alleviate irritation. Toys made for teething puppies are unique – they should be made of a soft, malleable rubber than will not harm your pup.
As your dog gets older and matures, you’ll want to consider graduating to harder, tougher rubber toys. But when they’re young, stick to softer toys, with a gentler design made for puppies and their sensitive little gums.
Handle Your Pup’s Mouth Early. Start handling your puppy’s mouth as early as possible – this will make brushing your dog’s teeth much easier when they are older, plus allows you to get a good look at how your pup’s teeth are coming along!
Look Out For Double Teeth. If your pup’s milk teeth don’t fall out on time, your puppy may end up with a double set of teeth! Make sure to consult your vet if this happens, as vets may need to remove the milk teeth so that your pup’s adult teeth have room to grow. Double sets of teeth can also cause dental hygiene issues and mouth crowding, so definitely don’t ignore the issue!
Encourage Your Pup to Chew The Right Thing. If your pup is chewing items you’d rather have him or her avoid (whether it’s their puppy bed or your suede shoes), there are a few strategies you can employ. The obvious is to make the desired chew toy look more appealing than your antique rug. Play with the toy, wave it around, have fun with it, and your pup may get curious. You can also put peanut butter or treats on toys, while spraying cayenne pepper spray (or some other brand of chew proof dog spray) on items you want your pup to stay away from.
Be Firm With Corrections. Even if you pup is going through teething discomfort, it’s important to stay consistent and correct him when he chews inappropriate items. Unfortunately, as pups teeth, they also tend to nip. This can be cute and playful at first, but you still need to teach your puppy that nipping is is inappropriate behavior. Most dogs grow out of nipping naturally as adults, but if your dog isn’t taught that nipping it bad behavior, he may learn to use it as a tool for dominance (which is not a road you want to go down, trust me)!
Hold Off On Tug-Of-War. Playing tug-of-war while your pup is teething can affect the growth of teeth, so hold off until your pup’s a bit older.
Remove Broken Toys Immediately. Dogs will eat anything (really, anything) they can swallow. Any item, whether toy or chew, that begins to splinter and break apart should be taken from your pup right away.
When hunting down the best chew toys for teething puppies, consider this list of what to look for vs. what to avoid.
Rope Toys. Make sure the rope toy is good quality – otherwise your dog may be able to pull off fibers and eat them.
Firm, Durable Rubber. The most popular type of puppy teething toys are made of durable rubber. However, they shouldn’t be too hard – the rubber should have some give to it.
Quality Toys. Puppy teeth are razor sharp, so they can chomp through any poorly made, thin material. This can be very dangerous if your dog is able to break up and ingest a toy (and as your dog ages, you may need to seek out ultra-tough dog toys for rough chewers). They also may sharpen a toy to the point where it can cause damage to their gums! For these reasons, you don’t want to skimp on quality for your puppy teething toys.
Puzzle Toys. Puppies can have short attention spans, so you’ll want to make sure your teething toys keep them engaged. Treat-dispensing puzzle toys can be a great way to keep your dog entertained – just make sure that they’re tough enough to withstand your pup’s teething chompers!
Frozen Chew Toys. Some puppy teething chew toys are designed to be frozen. The cold helps reduce swelling and inflammation in your dog’s gums, as well as numbs some of the discomfort. You can also try freezing a wet washcloth that has been tied into a knot!
Teething Treats. Keep an eye out for edible treats that are specifically created for teething puppies. Ice cubes work well and can be made at home, but you may be able to find even fancier options at the pet store – or alternatively, consider stuffing food-friendly toys with delicious treats and freezing them (we cover great toys for doing this below)!
Long Strings & Ribbons. Teething puppies might be liable to swallow toys like these entirely.
Squeaky Rubber Toys. When your pup is in super-chewy-phase, he might bust a squeaky toy right open and eat the squeaker!
Toys With Foam Stuffing. Similarly, your dog could rip out and eat the foam from a soft push toy during puppy teething time.
Small Toys. Toys should be at least as big as your pup’s mouth to keep them from swallowing anything!
Sharp Angles or Corners. Toys with sharp angles or corners can damage your puppy’s sensitive gums.
In the video below, one owner shares her favorite puppy chew toys. We can’t personally recommend all these toys, but it’s a great glance at what puppy toys have worked for other owners!
Check out our list of the very best chew toys for teething puppies, made to withstand those adorable yet razor-sharp teeth!
About: The Ring Bone from Nyladbone is a toy specifically designed for chewing pups, with fun textures and colors for your pup to chomp on.
PROS: Reported to withstand tough pup chewing and keep dogs entertained.
CONS: Cannot be frozen or have treats added to it.
About: The Kong Puppy Ball is a teething toy designed by Kong, one of the most well-known and reputable dog toy brands on the market.
PROS: Owners report that the Kong does a great job of keeping pups occupied, plus it’s a great way to feed you dog his dinners without him making a mess or eating too quickly.
CONS: Make sure to order the correct size, as some owners report receiving Kongs that are too small for their dogs.
About: The Nylabone Romp N’ Chomp is a chewy blue toy with a center that can be filled with treats.
PROS: Can be filled with treats or water and frozen – it seems to get frozen quite quickly.
CONS: Some owners report that the refill treats you can order for this toy pop out and are not the correct shape.
While the toy withstood most pups’ chomping, some owners found that the toy was torn apart quite quickly by their dogs .
About: The Benebone Peanut Butter Wish Bone toy is a chew that lets your dog chew and chomp all day long.
PROS: Owners note that their dogs can’t get enough of the Benebone. Plus, these things tend to last quite some time, taking months to get worn away.
CONS: A few owners report that their dogs chew the bones sharp enough that their gums begin to bleed. Bleeding is fairly common with teething puppies, but you’ll still want to take away bones once they become sharpened to avoid any injury.
About: Elk Antler Chews are natural chews that provide nutrients while your dog is teething.
PROS: All-natural source of protein and long lasting chew fun!
CONS: Harder material than classic puppy chews. Also, make sure to buy from reputable sellers to ensure that elk antlers are truly natural and don’t use preservatives. See our list of the best elk antler chews for dogs to learn more!
Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!