Just like humans, German Shepherd puppy teeth will eventually fall out and give way to a new set of adult teeth.
Believe it or not, dogs aren’t born with any teeth at all. Just like they are born blind and deaf, puppies don’t have any teeth yet. Those first puppy teeth won’t start erupting through the gum line until approximately three weeks, give or take a few days. What do you need to know about German Shepherd puppy teeth?
- How many teeth does a German Shepherd puppy have?
- How to puppy-proof your house
- How to make puppy teething easier
- A note on bite inhibition training
How Many Teeth Does a German Shepherd Puppy Have?
German shepherds begin with a set of 28 tiny baby teeth (a.k.a. primary or deciduous), lasting them for about 6-8 weeks from age 2-4 weeks. In the end, your little one will settle with 42 adult teeth.
Weeks 2-4: Puppy still with mother; baby teeth start coming in.
Weeks 5-6: All puppy teeth in, weaning off wet food to dry food.
Weeks 8-12: Puppy can be adopted out/ separated from mother and siblings (preferably not before).
Weeks 12-16: Teething, puppy teeth are falling out, slowly replaced by adult teeth
Baby Teeth Order:
- Front teeth (incisors)
- Canine teeth: can begin transitioning to solid foods
The German Shepherd puppy should have all of his or her baby teeth by the eighth week.
The incisors (at the front of the mouth) and the canine teeth (the fangs) erupt first, followed by the premolars. Dogs do not have any baby molars (Williams, Krista. DVM.).
— VCA Hospitals
The teething process can seem like a dreadful experience for any first-time dog owner. If you just happen to be one of those proud first-time dog parents, you might think there is something behaviorally wrong with your pup. Why is he chewing on everything, from the rubber coating on those electrical cords all the way to the walls themselves? Why can’t I touch him without being "bitten"?
Any veteran dog owner knows this is normal behavior, and there is nothing to worry about. There isn’t anything wrong with your German Shepherd puppy, and millions of other dogs have gone through the same process. It will get better and understanding helps.
When your German Shepherd puppy is teething, his teeth and gums will hurt. Biting and chewing helps relieve that discomfort. There are two main steps you should consider in order to cope well with your German Shepherd puppy teething and make it a fairly smooth process.
Step One: Puppy Proof Your House
Puppies can get into a lot of trouble if left unsupervised, but teething puppies are exponentially worse! They will literally put almost anything into their mouths they can get a hold of (I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned chewing on walls). From furniture and toys to rubber wiring, it’s all game.
Not only can something like destroyed cables, for example, become very expensive, but it can also pose a danger to your pet. Make sure you ‘puppy proof’ your pup’s living area!
- Either raise or cover with strong adhesive tape absolutely all of the wiring around your German Shepherd puppy.
- Make sure any small objects, such as child’s toys, aren’t within reach.
- Make sure any furniture isn’t accessible, or your pup might decide to use it as a chew toy.
- Crate training is especially important now in order to keep your puppy safe when you can’t observe him.
- Constant leashing by your side is a fantastic idea, especially if you are working on potty training also.
Step Two: Make Puppy Teething Easier
Now that your German Shepherd puppy’s living area is ‘puppy proofed’, the next two weeks or so will be much easier for you. To make the puppy teething process even easier, go out and grab some great chewable, but durable, toys.
First of all, you want to be sure the toys you offer are safe and won’t break apart. The age-old rubber ‘Knog’ (puppy size) is a wonderful idea! No matter what toys you offer, make sure they will stand up to those little ‘needle teeth’ and not break into chunks your pup can swallow. Because these toys are probably ‘puppy sized’, you’ll likely soon replace them with larger toys.
‘Nylabones’ are also very durable, but your pup might enjoy the chewy feeling of a rubber Kong more.
You’ll still want to watch your German Shepherd puppy during playtime and check these toys occasionally to be sure they aren’t breaking apart. Don’t offer anything the little one can chew up or swallow, like tennis balls. Some great examples to offer can include:
- Frozen treats
Rawhide chews, especially the larger ones are not all that great for dogs younger than 5-6 months old. Offer them smaller and softer treats to start with and see what your dog can handle before leaving him alone with certain chewies. Once the new teeth are there and your dog has enough bite power, rawhide chews are ok for most dogs. It’s best to offer a variety of many different chew toys, as long as they are safe. Freezing treats inside your Kong offers a great alternative distraction.
Bite Inhibition Training
It’s important to teach a puppy to control bite pressure and avoid human skin, but any training attempts at this early stage might not yield many results. Your German Shepherd puppy is biting your hands because they are something ‘chewy’ to clamp down on, and it is very natural. Nearly all pet owners deal with this, I actually enjoy playing with my dog, it's just important that he knows when to stop and what is play and what is serious.
You don’t want to use any aversive ‘possibly scary’ training methods with your pup. The best way to teach him to avoid your hands during play is to immediately stop playing after responding to the bite with a ‘non-frightening ouch, simulating an injury, exactly what a sibling puppy would do. Eventually, your pup will learn to avoid your skin, because an accidental bite means the game immediately stops and that isn’t what he wants.
- Monks of New Skete. The Art of Raising a Puppy. LBC, 2011, 352 p.
- P. L. and A.T. Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month: Everything You Need to Know. Alpha, 2016, 352 p.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2021 Sam Shepards