Shih Tzu Puppy Teeth: Your Ultimate Guide to Teething Stages & Care Tips
Understanding the dental development and teething process in puppies, particularly Shih Tzu pups, is paramount, especially for new parents. It’s key to their dental care. This breed undergoes a unique dental development process, including teething, that can significantly impact their health, behavior, and overall dental care. It’s important to understand that different breeds may have varying experiences.
The journey of dental development starts when teething puppies’ instinct to chew kicks in around the third week, often causing discomfort due to the teething phase’s changing tooth texture. A teething toy can help in this stage. A suitable toothbrush, paired with appropriate dental care and toothpaste, can alleviate the distress of dental development and satisfy their need to chew.
This blog post provides an overview of the dental development process in Shih Tzu pups, emphasizing chew toys and a toothbrush as essential steps towards ensuring your dogs’ well-being during this challenging teething period. The blog post offers valuable insights into how you can help your teething puppies, or pups, navigate through the teething phase effectively using a teething toy.
Identifying Teething Stages in Shih Tzus
Initial Stage: Baby Teeth Emergence
The teething process of a shih tzu puppy, or pup, starts with the initial stage, characterized by the emergence of deciduous or baby teeth. A toy can help in this stage. This teething phase usually begins when the puppy, ready for its milk teeth or deciduous teeth, is around 3 to 6 weeks old, often needing a teething toy. During this puppy teeth phase, you might notice your little fur-baby chewing on almost any teething toy or object they can get their deciduous teeth on as their milk teeth grow. This discomfort and irritation from the eruption of these new teeth can be eased with a teething toy.
A Shih Tzu puppy will grow 28 baby teeth like a toy breed.
- Twelve incisors
- Four canines
- Twelve premolars
These teeth are small, sharp, and temporary. They serve as placeholders for permanent adult teeth.
Middle Stage: Transition to Adult Teeth
The middle stage of the teething phase happens when your Shih Tzu puppy starts losing its baby teeth to make way for adult ones, often using a toy to soothe the discomfort. This transition of puppy teeth, or deciduous or milk teeth, usually begins around three to four months and may continue until they’re seven months old.
During this stage:
- The deciduous teeth, often called puppy or milk teeth, are replaced by six upper and six lower adult incisors.
- The four baby canine teeth give way to two upper and two lower adult canines.
- The twelve puppy teeth, milk or deciduous, are replaced by eight upper and eight lower adult premolars.
- Four molars grow at the back of their mouth.
This is an important stage in your pup’s milk teeth development, involving many changes in their mouth. Be patient if they seem unusually fussy or chewy during this time.
Final Stage: Full Set of Adult Teeth
The final phase marks the end of your shih tzu’s teething period when they have developed a full set of adult teeth – typically by seven months old. They should have about 42 strong, healthy adult teeth that should last them a lifetime with proper dental care.
The final set of teeth includes:
- Twelve incisors
- Four canines
- Sixteen premolars
- Ten molars
Remember to keep an eye on your pup’s teeth during this stage. Regular dental check-ups are essential to ensure the health and longevity of their adult teeth.
Recognizing Shih Tzu Teething Signs
Increased Chewing and Biting Behaviors
One of the first signs that your Shih Tzu puppy is teething involves a noticeable increase in chewing and biting behaviors. This is common, as puppies use their mouths to explore the world around them. The teething process can cause discomfort, leading your pup to bite on anything within reach – from toys to furniture, shoes, and even your fingers.
A few examples of commonly chewed items include:
- Soft plush toys
- Chewable dog toys
- Furniture edges
Drooling and Changes in Eating Habits
Another sign of teething in Shih Tzu puppies is an increase in drooling. Changes in eating habits as well might accompany this. You may notice that your pup has lost interest in food or struggles to eat hard kibble due to the discomfort.
Visible Discomfort or Distress
Visible discomfort or distress is another tell-tale sign of teething. Your Shih Tzu puppy might exhibit behaviors such as rubbing their face against surfaces, excessive pawing at the mouth, pinched nostrils, or a wrinkled nose. These are all indications that they are experiencing discomfort from emerging teeth.
Finding Loose or Fallen Out Baby Teeth
You may find baby teeth around your home as part of the teething process. It’s normal for puppies to lose their baby teeth as adult ones begin to grow. However, if you notice any bleeding gums or missing teeth without finding any loose ones, it’s best to consult a vet immediately.
Shih Tzu’s Transition from Puppy to Adult Teeth
Timeline of Dental Development
Shih Tzu puppies, like other breeds, are born without teeth. The first set of tiny teeth, often called milk or deciduous, appear around three weeks of age. These baby teeth pave the way for the adult dog’s 42 canine teeth. Typically, a Shih Tzu puppy begins losing its baby teeth by six months old as adult ones push through the gums.
Potential Complications During Transition Phase
While most Shih Tzus transition smoothly from puppy teeth to adult ones, some may face complications. One common issue is retained deciduous teeth, where a puppy tooth refuses to fall out and makes room for an incoming adult tooth. This can lead to overcrowding in the mouth and potential tooth decay if not addressed promptly.
Another complication could be delayed eruption, where an adult tooth takes longer than expected to emerge. This might cause discomfort and difficulty in eating for your pup.
The Importance of Regular Dental Check-ups
Regular dental check-ups during this transition period are crucial for early detection and prevention of potential issues such as those mentioned above. A vet can monitor the progress of your Shih Tzu’s dental development, ensuring all deciduous teeth have fallen out and that molars are growing correctly.
Here are some signs that should prompt a visit to the vet:
- Persistent bad breath
- Difficulty chewing or loss of appetite
- Redness or swelling in gums
Changes in Diet and Chew Toys Suitable for this Phase
As your Shih Tzu transitions from baby to adult teeth, changes in diet and chew toys will be necessary. Soft foods suitable for tiny puppy teeth might need replacement with harder kibble that encourages chewing and promotes healthy growth of adult canine teeth.
Chew toys also play an essential role during this phase:
- Teething toys: These soothe the gums and provide an appropriate outlet for chewing.
- Dental chews: Apart from keeping your pup entertained, these help clean teeth and prevent tartar buildup.
Remember, every Shih Tzu is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s always best to consult a vet before significantly changing your puppy’s diet or toy collection during this crucial transition period.
Optimal Dental Care for Teething Shih Tzus
Regular brushing is one of the most effective ways to maintain your Shih Tzu puppy’s dental health. Using a dog-friendly toothpaste, brush your puppy’s teeth at least once daily. This helps remove food particles stuck between their teeth and prevents plaque buildup, which could lead to more serious oral problems later on.
Safe Chew Toys for Stimulation
Providing safe chew toys is another way to care for your Shih Tzu’s teeth. Chewing is an instinct for dogs and can help keep their teeth clean and healthy. However, it would be best if you were selective with your chew toys to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your puppy’s size and age. Here are some options:
- Rubber toys
- Rope toys
- Dental chew toys
Regular Vet Check-ups
Regular vet check-ups are essential in maintaining your shih tzu puppy’s oral health. Your vet can perform an oral health assessment to detect potential issues like gum disease or tooth decay. Moreover, vets can provide professional cleaning services to help remove tartar buildup that cannot be removed by brushing alone.
Balanced Diet Supporting Dental Health
Lastly, feeding your shih tzu a balanced diet is crucial in supporting their dental health. Certain foods can promote healthier gums and stronger teeth, while others might contribute to plaque accumulation or bad breath.
- Dry kibble: The crunchy texture of dry kibble can help clean your puppy’s teeth as they chew.
- Raw bones: Raw bones are known to naturally clean dogs’ teeth but must be given under supervision.
- Dog treats: Some dog treats are specifically designed to promote dental health.
Remember that dental care for teething shih tzus involves more than just brushing teeth. It includes providing safe chew toys for dental stimulation, regular vet check-ups for oral health assessment, and feeding them a balanced diet that supports dental health. By considering these options and incorporating them into your pet care routine, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu puppy will have strong and healthy teeth as it ages.
Effective Use of Ice Cubes in Teething
Soothing Effect on Inflamed Gums
Ice cubes can provide a soothing effect to your Shih Tzu puppy’s inflamed gums during the teething phase. Just like human babies, puppies experience discomfort when their teeth start to grow. The cold temperature of ice cubes numbs the area, relieving the pain.
- Tip 1: Wrap an ice cube in a clean cloth and let your puppy chew on it.
- Tip 2: Freeze some chicken broth into cubes for added taste.
Cleaning Teeth Naturally
Chewing on ice cubes also helps clean your Shih Tzu puppy’s teeth naturally. As they gnaw, the hard texture of the ice helps scrape off plaque and tartar buildup. This method is effective and safe, as it doesn’t require any toothpaste that might contain harsh chemicals.
- Example: Dry food can also help clean teeth but may not be as effective as ice cubes due to its soft texture.
Introducing Ice Cubes to Puppies
Introducing ice cubes should be done gradually. Start by letting them lick an ice cube from your fingers. Once they get used to the taste and feel, you can allow them to chew on it under supervision.
- Let them lick an ice cube.
- Allow chewing under supervision.
Precautions When Using Ice Cubes
While beneficial, some precautions need to be taken when using ice cubes for teething:
- Size matters: Ensure the cube size is appropriate for your puppy’s mouth size.
- Supervision is key: Never leave your puppy unattended while they’re chewing on an ice cube.
- Alternative options: If your puppy doesn’t take well to ice cubes, consider other teething toys designed specifically for puppies.
Addressing Frequently Asked Shih Tzu Teething Queries
Shedding of Baby Teeth
A Shih Tzu puppy begins to lose its baby teeth around 3 to 4 months. This is a natural process and part of their growth journey. It’s similar to how human children lose their milk teeth.
Duration of Teething Process
The teething process in a shih tzu can last until they are about six months old. However, this can vary slightly from one puppy to another. You may notice your pup’s increased chewing during this time, as it helps relieve some of the discomfort associated with teething.
Handling Retained Baby Teeth
Sometimes, a baby’s tooth doesn’t fall out as expected. This situation requires immediate attention because it could lead to dental problems such as overcrowding or misalignment. In such instances, you should seek professional advice from your vet, who might recommend extraction.
Managing Teething Discomfort
Teething can cause pain and discomfort for your Shih Tzu puppy, but there are several ways you can help manage this:
- Use special canine teething toys: These are designed to relieve the gums.
- Cold treats: Ice cubes or frozen carrots can numb the pain temporarily.
- Over-the-counter remedies: There are dog-friendly products available that can ease the pain. Always consult with your vet before using these.
Patience and understanding during this period are crucial for your pet’s comfort and health.
While every shih tzu goes through teething, each experience is unique. Observing your pet closely will give you insights into what works best for them during this challenging phase. Always consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns or if the teething process seems unusually prolonged or distressful for your furry friend.
Ensuring Your Shih Tzu’s Dental Health
Maintaining your Shih Tzu puppy’s dental health is essential to their well-being. Understanding the teething stages, recognizing signs of teething, and knowing how to care for your puppy’s teeth properly can help ensure a smooth transition from puppy to adult teeth. Using tools like ice cubes can relieve this uncomfortable period, and addressing common queries about Shih Tzu teething can equip you with the knowledge to better care for your pet.
Remember, every Shih Tzu is unique and may experience teething differently. Regular check-ups with a professional veterinarian will monitor dental health and contribute to their general health. Don’t hesitate to consult a vet if you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms in your puppy. Now, let’s move on to frequently asked questions that might help clarify doubts about Shih Tzu puppies’ dental health.
FAQ 1: At what age does a Shih Tzu start losing its baby teeth?
Shih Tzus typically begin losing their baby teeth around three to four months of age.
FAQ 2: How long does the teething process last for a Shih Tzu?
The entire teething process for a Shih Tzu usually lasts until they are about six months old.
FAQ 3: What are some signs that my Shih Tzu is teething?
Common signs include excessive chewing, drooling, loss of appetite and potential behavioral changes such as irritability or lethargy.
FAQ 4: How often should I brush my Shih Tzu’s teeth during teething?
Brushing your pup’s teeth at least twice weekly during the teething stage is recommended.
FAQ 5: Can I give my Teething Shih Tzu chew toys?
Yes, chew toys designed specifically for puppies can help alleviate discomfort and promote the healthy development of adult teeth.
FAQ 6: Is it normal for a Shih Tzu to have bad breath during teething?
While it’s common for puppies to have slightly bad breath during teething, excessively foul breath could indicate an underlying health issue. Consult with your vet if you’re concerned.
FAQ 7: What should I do if my Shih Tzu puppy’s teeth aren’t falling out as expected?
Consulting with a veterinarian is important if your Shih Tzu puppy’s baby teeth aren’t falling out as they should. They may need to be professionally removed to prevent dental problems in the future.