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Puppies bite a lot, especially Golden Retriever puppies.
And this biting and chewing can become even more intense during your puppy’s teething phase when they lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth grow in.
The good news is that teething doesn’t last forever, and there’s a lot you can do to reduce unwanted puppy biting and chewing as those big adult teeth come in.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- When does the teething phase start?
- How long does it last?
- How to minimize biting and chewing during teething
- What NOT to do when your puppy is teething
- And much more!
But first, let’s dive into the biggest question you’re probably asking yourself…
When Do Golden Retrievers Stop Teething?
Most Golden Retriever puppies stop teething at 6 or 7 months old when they lose all of their baby teeth. Their adult teeth may still be settling in past this age, but the worst of teething is usually over by this time.
It’s a good idea to periodically check your puppy’s teeth to see which baby teeth remain.
Typically, when the adult tooth grows in, this pushes the baby tooth out.
But sometimes the adult tooth can come in, but the baby tooth doesn’t fall out.
This is called a “retained deciduous tooth” or a “persistent tooth.”
You might see an adult tooth with a small baby tooth layered in front of it, or right next to it.
Definitely notify your vet if you notice this happening with your puppy, as it can lead to things like crowded teeth, increased plaque buildup, dental disease, and even abnormal growth of the jaw.
Retained baby teeth usually need to be removed by a veterinarian to avoid any of these issues.
Editor’s Note: My Golden Retriever Puppy had this happen to him, as you can see in the picture below. Our veterinarian had to remove it.
Now let’s back it up a bit and talk about when teething starts, then how to handle it…
When Do Golden Retrievers Start Teething?
Their 28 baby teeth last just three or four months before their 42 permanent adult teeth start to push through their gums.
How Long Does The Teething Phase?
The teething phase for Golden Retriever puppies usually lasts about two to four months. They start teething at three or four months old, and stop teething at six or seven months old.
Once the teething phase is over, they will bite a lot less.
What are the Signs that My Puppy is Teething?
The most obvious sign that your puppy has begun teething is that baby teeth are missing from their mouth.
Often, the very front top teeth are the first to go, but this also can vary.
If you’re unsure if your puppy has started teething, you can gently lift their lip and check for any missing baby teeth.
Some other signs that your puppy is teething include:
- Blood spots on toys and bones
- Baby teeth found on the carpet or floor
- Increased biting and chewing
- Irritability and restlessness
- Decreased appetite
- Red, swollen gums
Puppies will often swallow teeth once they’ve fallen out, so if you don’t find any teeth on the carpet or stuck in a toy, that’s probably why.
If you’re concerned about your puppy’s behavior and aren’t sure if it’s due to teething or something else, you can always consult your veterinarian.
How to Help Your Teething Golden Retriever Puppy
Before they ever start teething, most Golden Retrievers are pretty bitey.
In fact, even adult Golden Retrievers can be pretty mouthy.
This is because of the breed’s genetics.
Golden Retrievers were bred to, well, retrieve!
As gundogs, they were historically bred to retrieve shot birds for hunters.
For many generations, breeders have bred a strong desire to have something in their mouths into Golden Retrievers.
That something could be a toy, a sock, or your hand.
So when you combine a genetic desire to be mouthy with the teething stage, there’s going to be a lot of biting!
Here are some tips for you:
Ensure Your Teething Puppy Gets Enough Sleep
What’s worse than a teething puppy?
A teething, overly tired puppy!
Puppies can often get a little cranky when they’re teething.
Their gums are sore and painful and they sometimes just don’t feel well.
Puppies need a lot of rest, especially when teething, or else they can become quite irritable.
When a puppy is overly tired, they can become even more bitey and wild, sometimes even throwing a tantrum.
Golden Retriever puppies need about 18 hours of sleep and rest every day to ensure they are developing properly physically and mentally.
So make sure your teething puppy is getting enough rest to keep them happy and healthy.
Typically, once a puppy has been awake and active for an hour or two, they are ready for a snooze.
Give Your Puppy Safe Options To Bite
Teething puppies are very good at finding outlets for chewing that we don’t want them to chew, such as shoes, rugs and furniture.
Stop them from chewing on these items by giving your puppy tons of dog-friendly options that are enticing and soothing for their sore gums.
It can help to leave out a few chewing items on the floor, so your puppy can easily access something whenever they feel the need to put their teeth on something.
Here are some ideas:
- Bully Sticks
- Himalayan Yak Chews
- Frozen stuffed Kongs
- Whole raw carrot (frozen or not)
- Knotted rope toys
- Petstages Crunchcore Bone
- Tuffy Stuffed Toys
Always supervise your puppy while they’re chewing for safety.
If you’re concerned about your puppy’s safety while chewing, consult your veterinarian.
Redirect Your Puppy to Appropriate Options
If you find your puppy using their teeth on something inappropriate, such as the leg of a chair or your foot, redirect them to something that they are allowed to chew.
This is where having multiple options easily accessible can be helpful, so that there’s something enticing no matter what mood your puppy is in.
Sometimes it can help to move the toy or chew around to spark your puppy’s interest.
This allows you to easily and gently guide your puppy away from chewing something they’re not supposed to, and toward something more appropriate.
If you go to grab your puppy in an attempt to interrupt biting or chewing, they will likely dodge you or run away, creating an annoying habit of “catch me if you can.”
The drag leash gives you a way to gain control of the situation without having to grab or chase your puppy.
Use Smart Puppy Management
Let’s be honest — sometimes redirecting your puppy just doesn’t work.
They persistently want to nip your hands and clothes no matter what amazing stuff you show them.
Or they keep going back to chomp the same corner of the coffee table despite your attempts to distract them with something else.
This is where having good puppy management strategies comes into play.
Puppy management refers to changing the environment to make unwanted behavior unlikely or impossible.
You can’t always control your puppy, but you can manipulate the environment to your advantage.
If your puppy is safely enclosed in a pen, they can’t be nipping your skin or gnawing on the rug.
It might mean closing your puppy’s leash in a door or looping it around a table where they can only reach the delicious stuffed Kong and chew toys you’ve set out for them.
Perhaps you can put your puppy behind a baby gate so your pant leg is safe from their sharp little teeth.
Puppy management is simple, yet critical to surviving a teething Golden Retriever puppy.
Giving a teething puppy too much freedom is a recipe for disaster, so utilize puppy management whenever you need to.
Your home and sanity will thank you!
- Potty train your Golden Retriever faster! Download the FREE Potty Training Cheat Sheet here
Remove Yourself From the Situation
Playing with a teething puppy can be tricky.
They want to interact with you, but their mouths are sore and painful, and it can be hard for them to not nip or chomp on your skin, clothes or hair.
If you find redirection doesn’t work, it’s best to remove yourself from the puppy to show them that biting you simply ends the playtime.
You can try walking away, though some puppies will get up and follow you so they can chomp you some more.
Going onto the other side of a baby gate is a great way to show the puppy that they lose access to you if they get mouthy.
If your puppy is tethered by their leash to something heavy, you can also get up and walk away if the biting gets to be too much.
The tether keeps them from following their human chew toy.
Of course, you also need to be providing them with lots of things they are allowed to chew if you’re using this technique.
Over time, the puppy will learn that biting makes you go away, and they’ll get better at controlling their mouth.
What NOT to Do When Your Puppy is Teething
All the biting and chewing that comes from puppy teething can really be frustrating as an owner.
While you might feel upset or annoyed in the moment, it’s best to avoid resorting to punishing your puppy.
Remember that nipping and chewing are normal parts of puppy development.
Puppies have to use their mouths; it’s a need like food and water.
So it really isn’t humane to punish a baby animal for doing something that they need to do.
Punishing a puppy can sometimes make the biting even more intense, and it can also damage the trust between you and your puppy.
And isn’t having a strong bond with your puppy the reason you got them in the first place?
Here’s what to avoid while your puppy is teething:
- Holding their mouth closed
- Spraying with a water bottle
- Pinning the puppy onto their backs (also called an “alpha roll”)
- Rolling their lips over their teeth
It’s best to stick with the techniques discussed earlier when it comes to managing your puppy’s teething phase.
Those strategies will help you minimize the frustration and pain that can come with puppy teething while allowing you to build a strong, positive bond with your pup.
Remember Teething Won’t Last Forever
While it can be a tough stage of raising a puppy, teething isn’t forever.
Those few months may be frustrating, but just know that life with a puppy won’t always involve so much nipping and chewing.
That said, Golden Retrievers will still need plenty of appropriate chewing outlets even once they’re out of the teething phase.
It may not be as intense, but older Goldens still enjoy chewing, so keep the good stuff coming their way.
As a bonus, chewing helps keep those big adult teeth nice and squeaky clean.
P.S. Want to raise your Golden Retriever puppy into the dog of your dreams? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook
- 8-Week-Old Golden Retrievers: Training, Sleeping, Eating & Behaviors
- Spay or Neuter Your Golden Retriever: Pros, Cons & When To Do It
- Best Treats For Golden Retrievers
About the author:
Alisa Healy is a professional dog trainer in the Chicago suburbs, with a wide range of training experience from shelters to in-home training to dog sports. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and is passionate about helping people and dogs live fulfilling, harmonious lives together.