The process of teething is something that no parent ever looks forward to or enjoys. That beautiful bundle of joy seems to wail non-stop, no matter what you do to soothe them.
You sympathize with the poor thing, but at the same time, you just want that noise to stop so you can finally get some sleep. You can almost feel your hair turning gray. And just as you settle down and start to drift off, it starts all over again.
So it’s only natural to wonder whether your German Shepherd puppy will go through the same process and whether it’s going to be as much ‘fun’ as with a human baby!
Check out this guide below to find all the information you need about German Shepherd teething. You’ll find all the answers to your questions, with some tips and advice to ease your puppy’s pain.
The Stages Of German Shepherd Teething
German Shepherd puppies are born without teeth, but their baby teeth will start to grow between the ages of 2–8 weeks old*.
Unless you have pups born at home, most German Shepherd owners won’t be present for this early stage as the mother will still be nursing them.
However, if you are caring for young pups and the mother dog at home, you need to keep a close watch on them. The puppies may whine, but that’s what they do.
It might be that they’re complaining about their gums hurting, it could be growing pains, and it might just be that they are experimenting with sounds.
During this time, the incisors will grow first, followed by the canines and then the premolars.
Your pup now has its milk teeth, and there should be 28 in total. Even though they won’t be there for very long, these puppy teeth still need to be kept clean.
At around the five or six-week mark, the breeder (or you) will start weaning the pups, so they will need those teeth as they progress to eating solid food.
*Some sources say 2–4 weeks, others say 6–8. It’s unlikely to be earlier than this. If it goes past 8 weeks and there’s still no sign of any little teeth, then you should check with the vet to see if there is a problem.
The next teething stage for German Shepherd pups starts at around 12 weeks of age, when all those milk teeth start to fall out. This will usually happen in the same order in which they grew.
Sometimes one or two teeth can stay behind, which can cause problems. These are known as retained milk teeth, and if they don’t fall out, they can overcrowd the mouth, leading to pain and discomfort.
The puppy could have difficulty eating and may develop gum disease and tooth decay due to trapped food and bacteria. Your vet will most probably recommend that any retained milk teeth be extracted.
Between 12 and 16 weeks of age, all their adult teeth should have grown through. By the time they are 8 months old, the German Shepherd teething process should be over, and they should have all 42 adult teeth.
Now we know the different stages, let’s look at the process in more detail.
German Shepherd Teething Symptoms
The first sign of a German Shepherd puppy teething is that they will chew everything in sight! This is normal behavior for all pups anyway, and the German Shepherd dog is no different.
Dogs don’t have useful things like hands, so they explore with their mouths. It’s a puppy’s way of finding out more about this strange new world they’ve been thrust into.
But it can be kind of annoying, especially when they chew through your personal belongings like there’s no tomorrow. It’s always a good idea to keep stuff out of their reach if you don’t want it destroyed.
During the teething process, the gums can feel irritated and uncomfortable. One way to overcome this is through chewing.
They’ll chew on your fingers, their bedding, carpets, furniture – anything and everything that they fancy, just to relieve that weird feeling in their gums.
So, puppy chewing starts off as exploration, gets much worse during teething, but then can become a habit. We’ll come back to this later on.
Another telltale sign is drooling. This usually accompanies chewing, so you’ll notice that the chewed-up stuff is covered in goop.
Any parent who’s been through the teething nightmare with their own offspring will relate to this stage. It sometimes seems that everything is coated in drool.
You might also notice that your pup is whining more often. Young puppies make whining and whimpering noises, but this usually starts to tail off as they get older and more settled.
A sudden increase in whining, especially when eating or chewing on toys, might indicate that they are in pain.
If the whining becomes excessive and prolonged, then get your puppy checked out by the vet just to make sure there isn’t another problem.
Swollen, red, and bleeding gums are a sure sign that the teething process is in full swing. Again, this shouldn’t be excessive.
If you notice a lot of blood, rather than a few spots on chew toys, then you should get them checked out by the vet.
If you feed them kibble, you might see that they are struggling to eat it. This probably means that their gums are hurting.
Finally, you may find one or two of your puppy’s baby teeth lying on the floor or stuck in a chew toy. You probably won’t, though.
Don’t worry if not; it’s perfectly normal for young dogs to swallow them while they’re eating. What you will notice is that they have missing teeth, which is a normal part of the process.
At What Age Do German Shepherds Start Teething?
The German Shepherd teething age usually starts between the ages of 2–8 weeks. These tiny milk teeth will soon fall out, to be replaced with their adult teeth at around 12–16 weeks.
The whole teething process should be over by the time your dog is 6 months old!
It’s always difficult to predict exactly when certain biological events will take place because each dog is different.
Puppies from the same litter may be several weeks apart in terms of growth and development, so there’s no need to worry too much if your pup seems to be lagging behind a little.
However, it’s a good idea to make notes of when you reach milestones or notice any changes. These will help you keep track of what’s going on and could be useful if you need to take them to the vet.
How Long Does German Shepherd Teething Last?
It’s difficult to determine an exact timescale, as we’ve already pointed out because all animals are so different. The first stage of teething could be a matter of a couple of weeks, but it might last twice as long.
The final stage, when the adult teeth grow in, can last longer, perhaps three or four months or more. If it goes well beyond six months, it’s time to check with the vet.
The main thing to remember is that it will soon be over, and your dog will be fully grown! You need to make sure you are on hand to make this process as easy and painless as possible.
When Does A German Shepherd Stop Teething?
Most GSD puppies will stop the teething process at six months of age. By then, your dog’s teeth should have all grown through fully. However, it could be as late as 8 months.
Again, you need to make allowances for individual dogs. Your pup might have their new teeth much sooner, which is great for them, and a huge relief for you.
But if it goes beyond 8 months, and they still haven’t got all 42 teeth, then it is always a good idea to get advice from your veterinarian.
Do Dogs Have Diarrhea When Teething?
This is an excellent question and something that all new dog owners need to be aware of. First, the answer is: yes, puppies can experience gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. They may also become lethargic and lose their appetite.
The worrying thing is that these could be symptoms of a more serious problem.
If the symptoms are mild and are accompanied by the other signs of teething, then all should be well. However, if it becomes severe, then you need to make sure that your puppy isn’t suffering from one of the following conditions:
• Worms – it’s believed that all puppies are born with worms because they are present in the mother’s womb, where they lie dormant for many years. Responsible breeders will start deworming their puppies as soon as possible, but once you take the pup home, it is your responsibility to continue deworming treatment.
• Parvovirus – this virus kills hundreds of pups every year. It has a mortality rate of about 91% and can kill within two or three days of being contracted. The main problem is severe (sometimes bloody) diarrhea, which causes serious dehydration. Your breeder should have at least begun the vaccination process, but opinions vary as to when the three vaccines should be given. The likelihood is that they will have only had one shot, and you need to arrange the remaining two.
• Distemper – with symptoms similar to parvovirus, the two are often mistaken. However, you may notice that your puppy has difficulty breathing and will be leaking liquid from its eyes. Again, vaccination is the key to beating this, and it requires three shots, usually administered at the same time as the parvovirus vaccine.
If you are worried about your puppy and you aren’t sure whether they’re just teething or have one of these problems, seek veterinary advice immediately. It’s always better to err on the side of caution!
German Shepherd Teething And Ears
German Shepherd dogs are famous for their upright, pointed ears. Some German Shepherd owners become concerned when they notice that their pup, whose ears had started to become straight, suddenly start to flop down, coinciding with the onset of the teething process.
This is a natural phenomenon and nothing to worry about. As the teeth break through the gums, calcium is extracted from elsewhere in the body to make the teeth strong. Calcium is present in the cartilage that provides strength to the ears, which can make them floppy.
Once the teeth have grown, the calcium levels are restored, and the ears will stand upright.
At What Age Do German Shepherds Stop Biting?
Ideally, your puppy will stop biting after a maximum of 32 weeks of age. There’s a chance it might continue after this, which can be a big problem.
Check any dog forum online, and you’ll find dog owners asking, why do German Shepherd puppies bite so much? It’s a common problem!
As we saw earlier, chewing and biting are a natural part of a puppy’s development. If you know dogs, you’ll have seen them ‘mouthing’ while playing.
This is when they keep their jaws slightly apart and jump at their siblings (or at you!) and gently bite…or not! It can get a bit rough and painful. Their playmates will yelp or nip back to warn them off. You might yelp, too, as those pin-like teeth can easily break your skin.
This behavior is also a way to learn about their surroundings. They sniff, lick, and chew their way around their environment, testing textures, smells, flavors, and so on.
Chewing and biting while teething is for a different purpose entirely, helping to relieve the pain and discomfort. There’s also another reason behind puppy biting: they are learning how to control their bite strength.
Another factor to consider is that puppy bites and nipping get a reaction. A playful puppy will watch how you behave and learn from the experience.
If you cry out in pain when they nip you, but you carry on playing and fussing over them, they’ll take this as a sign that this behavior is acceptable. They will also associate biting with getting attention, even if you aren’t happy!
The trouble is, biting can become a habit. Once this happens, it can be difficult to shake.
To counter this, your best course of action is to start obedience training as soon as possible. As GSDs are among the smartest dog breeds, this shouldn’t be an issue.
This should help to stop the biting habit as well as teach your pup how to behave themselves.
German Shepherd Teething Tips
All dogs are different, and some will have a better experience than others when it comes to German Shepherd teething. Hopefully, your pup will be one of the lucky ones!
Either way, it’s never nice to see them suffering, so it’s good to have some idea of what to do to help them. Here are a few ways to ease their journey through this difficult time and help their sore gums.
• Dog chews are similar to toys but are usually made of natural materials. Many experts warn against using rawhide chews these days because of the dangers of choking and blockages of the digestive tract. However, there are dozens of safe alternatives on the market.
• Ice cubes can be a great help, as long as you take precautions. This has been quite a controversial subject since an unverified report circulated on the internet claiming that a dog died from bloat after drinking water with ice cubes in it. Some people will advise against giving your pup ice cubes, while others will heartily encourage you to do so.
There are fears that the ice is so hard that it might crack a tooth. The best thing to do is make ice cubes from stock or meat jelly and crush them slightly. Alternatively, you can rub ice on your dog’s gums.
Many people allow dogs to chew on knucklebones, antlers, animal hooves, and marrow bones to help with teething pain. Most dog experts agree that this is unwise, especially for puppies, as they can easily break canine teeth.
Also, splinters of bone can damage soft tissue in the mouth and digestive tract and cause intestinal blockages if swallowed.
German Shepherd Teething Toys
Teething toys are one of the best ways of helping them through the teething period. KONG toys and Nylabone are among the more popular products.
Some people like to fill the KONG toy with peanut butter, which is great, but avoid any brands with xylitol in them as this is toxic to dogs. Be sure to select a good-quality product, as cheap ones will be inferior and could cause harm.
Hard plastic chews can fracture teeth, and cheap ones may break, allowing the dog to swallow small pieces that can rupture the intestinal lining.
Looking After Your Dog’s Teeth
Understandably, German Shepherd owners often ask, when do German Shepherds stop teething? It can be a trying and distressing time for the dog and the owners.
Once they’ve got their new teeth, then it’s up to you to look after them!
Teeth can tell you a lot about a dog – or any other animal, in fact. For example, did you know that you can tell how old a cat is just by looking at her teeth? Check out the cat teeth age chart for more!
As you can see, teeth are extremely important for all animals, so you need to take good care of them.
Only use the best quality dog foods, and always remember to brush your dog’s teeth to keep them clean. Tartar build-up on teeth can cause serious damage over time, which leads to gum disease and tooth decay.
This can also result in serious infections that may even be potentially fatal.
Always try to be aware of what your dog is chewing on. Sticks, dog chews, and toys are one thing, but some items can cause a lot of damage, including fractures and tooth loss.
Let’s finish with a quick recap:
You’ll get your pup between the ages of 8 and 14 weeks if you get them from a breeder – unless you have a whelping mother at home.
By this stage, they will be losing their baby teeth, which allows their adult teeth to grow through.
This process can last until the dog is around six months of age.
Your job is to keep a close eye on how they’re coping, and if they seem to be suffering or displaying any severe symptoms, you need to intervene.
Give them things to chew on, but take care that the chewing doesn’t become a habit. Obedience training is your way out if it does!
Otherwise, enjoy spending time with your German Shepherd pup, and use the time to strengthen that bond of loyalty and affection.
You’ll soon be able to put the days of teething behind you and look forward to many happy years ahead.