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Friday, 7 October 2011

Teething problems

Billy, my five-month-old puppy, is teething and is having trouble sleeping.

He is waking up at about 11.30pm and staying awake playing until 2am, then going back to sleep. We’ve begun to wake him up at about 9pm and let him play until 11ish to try to move his active period further forward but he is barking quite a bit, which isn’t making the neighbours very happy.

He has torn apart the sofa-bed and door frames. We’ve tried bones, ice cubes and nylabones – in fact we could set up a pet shop with the number of toys we’ve tried! - but nothing we’ve tried is helping. I did expect a certain amount of door-frame chewing with a little one so don’t actually mind too much, but wonder if anyone might have a secret bit of knowledge they could pass on to help us all sleep a little better at night. I imagine its quite a painful time for Billy too, so I’d be really grateful for any tips to help soothe his teething.

Thank you,
Nicola, by phone


  1. Frozen, stuffed Kongs will help to soothe his teeth & gums, as will freezing a Nylabone. Also try him on StagBars, my dog wouldn't look at Nylabones when I first got him, but loves his StagBars, you could probably throw them in the freezerfor a little while too.

  2. Try freezing whole carrots, they are cooling and edible!

  3. Have you ruled out other medical issues? Has he swallowed something that may be causing him distress? If you feel the behaviour is above normal I would have him checked over by a vet, often we look at the elephant in the room and not notice anything else. Also look at the context of the behaviour. Is it when he is alone etc? If it is just teething in the past I found that a frozen wet face cloth works wonders.

  4. It may be something more than just teething causing him to not settle. He may be over stimulated from too much play or exercise. He may be anxious if he is not settling when left alone. He may also be having growing pains. If normal toys are not helping him then I would consider getting him checked out by your vet and asking a reputable trainer or behaviourist for some advice. He may need taught to settle down and rest which is not always an easy thing to teach an active puppy! Too much activity during the day can cause pups to be 'wired but tired' in the evenings which is really not good for them or you. Good luck!

  5. If you think it is a teething problem then oil of cloves or the stuff that babies have rubbed on their gums may help.

    Otherwise check out what food you are feeding your youngster on, and how high the protein levels are. A change of food to a more 'natural' one may be all that is needed, so try and rule out one that is filled with cereals and artifical preservatives and colourings.

  6. Hi,

    I just wanted to thank everyone who has posted advice/ support so far!
    Billy is still having a few "issues" (!) but we have had him checked at the vet & there's nothing medically wrong - apart from him teething of course :-(.
    Joanne posted a very good comment - he is "wired but tired" at night.. he has a mad puppy look in his eyes!
    But we are persevering with the different ideas people have suggested.. and are waiting to hear back from a dog trainer friend we know.
    Any more ideas would be appreciated!
    Thanks again,
    Nicola - and Billy!