Do puppies go off their food when teething?

Updated 08 April 2024
Read time: 6 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer

It’s heart-warming to learn just how many of a dog’s life stages mimic our own - and teething as a baby is no exception. Puppies start to grow milk teeth from the ages of three weeks to six months old, and lose them all as adult teeth start to come through. Just like with human babies, this is a new and uncomfortable sensation for the little pup, and they may even go off their food in the process. 


Let’s delve into puppy teething a little further, so that if your puppy doesn’t seem as hungry all of a sudden, you can recognise it alongside the other signs of teething and rest assured that everything is happening as it should be. 


Is it normal for puppies to go off their food when teething?

Teething can be painful, often causing a sore mouth and jaw and inflamed gums. For this reason, it’s very common for puppies to stop eating as their teeth cut through, especially if they eat dry puppy food which becomes hard work to crunch. You might even see baby teeth around a puppy’s feeding area and food left in the bowl - a sure fire sign that teething is putting your pup off their kibble. 


Signs of puppy teething

If your puppy doesn’t seem to want to eat, remember that they could be suffering from food poisoning or sickness. If you notice any of the following signs at the same time, however, you’re probably dealing with teething:


  • Baby teeth falling out We’re not sure if there’s a doggy tooth fairy, but there should be - as puppies lose all their milk teeth just like we do. You may even find a rogue puppy tooth discarded around their food bowl, or stuck in a chew toy they’ve been particularly engrossed in. This might seem weird, but it’s a good sign!
  • Chewing and mouthing a lot Puppies are obsessed with chewing things when they’re teething as it’s comforting and reduces mouth pain. However, they also don’t mind at all what they chew, which can cause havoc in your home, or even an injury. Having lots of puppy chew toys available should deter them from chewing spiky sticks which could hurt them, as well as clothing, the furniture and your limbs.
  • Drooling more We know that dogs are natural-born droolers, but during teething, your pup will dribble a lot more than usual. Wipe-cloths at the ready!
  • Whining and crying Very young puppies tend to cry a lot, but it usually settles down - that is until teething will have them whining and crying again. 
  • Bleeding or swollen gums If you gently look in your pup’s mouth when they’re teething, you may see their gums are red and swollen. They may also leave a few drops of blood behind if they’ve been gnawing on fabric or clothing. 
  • Not wanting to eat As we’ve covered, if your pup has strangely gone off their food, this is a common sign that their mouth and gums are sore from teething. 


Dalmatian dog with toy in mouth on a pink background


How long do puppies teethe for?

Puppies grow quickly - they will start teething as early as three weeks old, and have usually grown all their adult teeth by about six months. So you and your puppy will be going through the teething stage for around five to six months in total. 


What to do when your teething puppy is not eating

If your puppy refuses to eat while they’re teething, don’t panic or berate them in any way. It’s completely understandable that they don’t want to bite down when their poor mouth is feeling so sensitive and sore - you’d be acting the same way! 


What you can do is make the food more palatable for your pup - perhaps by adding a bit of warm water to their kibble to soften it, crushing it up into smaller pieces with a fork or rolling pin, or even mixing with a small amount of wet food. 


Chat to your vet for recommendations over what kind of food may be suitable for your puppy at this stage (we also have some suggestions below) - and don’t completely switch your puppy’s food, as this could result in stomach upset.


What to give a teething puppy

A teething puppy will try to ease their discomfort by chewing and mouthing on all kinds of things - including furniture, clothing, items around the house or even your hands or ankles. To discourage them from going to town on your sofa or table legs, you can offer more appropriate things for them to chew on. 


Dog chew toys made specifically for teething are irresistibly chewable to puppies, and you could even try putting one in the fridge or freezer to add some soothing coldness before giving it to your young pooch. 


Edible dog chews are also a great idea, such as dental dog treats. Not only will the chewing and meaty flavour distract your puppy from teething pain, but it will brush their teeth and freshen their breath, too.

Best food for teething puppies

It’s normal for your pup to turn their nose up at food when they’re teething. To get a teething puppy eating again, try the following food boosting tricks: 


Dry puppy food softened with warm water

Take your usual recipe of healthy dry puppy food and add some warm water. This should soften the food making it easier to chew, and release those yummy meaty flavours and smells so your pup won’t be able to resist. 


Dry puppy food mixed with some wet puppy food 

Another tip is to mix your usual puppy food with some wet food, again making it easier to swallow and much more palatable for your (temporarily) picky pup. Don’t completely replace your puppy’s food with wet food if they’re not used to eating it, as this is likely to upset their tummy.


Dental chews for dogs 

As mentioned, puppy teething treats such as a tasty dental chew for dogs is a great way to ease your pup’s discomfort while releasing ingredients for good dental health.

Puppy food supplements 

It’s vital that puppies get the right amount of nutrients as they grow and develop - and that includes when teething. If you’ve softened your pup’s food with water or added some wet food, a boost of puppy probiotics or other puppy food supplements will help strengthen your pup’s adult teeth as they cut through, and ensure your growing puppy is as happy and healthy as they should be. 


Follow the advice above, and before you know it, your teething pup will have a mouthful of grinning adult gnashers - and most certainly have their appetite back! 


Do you have any other questions about the teething stage for your puppy? Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help. Until then, nourish your fast-growing pup with Pooch & Mutt’s range of tasty grain-free puppy food and supplements.

Comments (6)

Do puppies get extra sleepy when teething? Our 3 month old chihuahua mix has been very lethargic and sleeping a lot more than normal. She is teething and this just started yesterday.

Melissa - Jun 22 2023
Pooch Admin

Hi Melissa, vet Linda has come back with the below in relation to your question:
“Most dogs handle it well and have no real signs (other than chewing everything in sight!).
Uncommonly, dogs are quite uncomfortable and we may notice mild lethargy and drooling.
In this case, a vet visit is best in case the dog would benefit from some pain relief and/or anti inflammatories”
If you have any further questions please get in touch with the team [email protected] :)

Team Pooch - Jun 23 2023

My puppy will eat some treats but not her food,however I made her some scrambled egg,and she ate that. Is this ok? She’s teething like mad and 5 months old.

Toni - Dec 13 2023
Pooch Admin

Hi Toni,
If they are refusing to eat their food, it could be that this is a little too hard on their gums whilst teething. If feeding kibble, you can try soaking this a little to make it softer and easier for them to chew whilst their gums are sore. :)

Team Pooch - Dec 13 2023

My dog does not even taste his food nor drink water. It makes me quite worried. Is it OK to sprinkle water into his mouth?

Jeny - Mar 07 2024
Pooch Admin

Hi Jeny,
We wouldn’t advise doing this and your pup should drink when they are thirsty. If you have any concerns, we would advise reaching out to your vet to discuss this further.

Team Pooch - Mar 07 2024

Leave a comment

Never miss a treat!

Subscribe to our newsletter and get blog articles amongst other treats delivered to your inbox


close button