Dogs aren’t all that different to humans when it comes to teething. Just like us, they have baby teeth, and Shih Tzus really are no different; be prepared, because Shih Tzus will teethe. If you have ever had children, it’s not that dissimilar; you have to deal with all the baby phases which includes the infamous Shih Tzu puppy teething stages that I will describe further.
I have a very clear memory of when we got our first ever dog. During the puppy months we would find tiny teeth on the floor which would come out as he chewed everything in sight to relieve his sore teeth and gums. This chewing is a huge part of the teething process but is something you can make easier for your Shih Tzu puppy to contend with.
Today I want to share everything I have learned about why Shih Tzus teethe, at what age they lose their baby or milk teeth, what to expect as an owner, and how to help them… plus ways to stop them chewing your furniture!
My intention is for this to be the only guide you would ever need to read about the dental development of your Shih Tzu.
The teething stage of a Shih Tzu puppy
First things first; don’t be concerned if you start seeing small blood spots on your Shih Tzu’s toys or loose teeth in your carpet. This is completely normal during the teething phases. But when should you expect this to start and then finally stop?
Here’s an overview of the teething stages you can expect to experience with a Shih Tzu puppy.
1. Shih Tzu puppy baby teeth start coming through – between 2 and 3 weeks old
Shih Tzus are born without teeth. Shih Tzu puppy milk teeth (aka baby teeth) don’t actually start to push through their gums until around the 14-day point at the earliest.
In terms of the puppy’s overall dental development, the baby teeth coming through do so at the same point that they begin to open their eyes. The 2-week point in their life is a massive time in their growth and becoming the Shih Tzus we know and love.
Of course, most Shih Tzu owners will never get to see this phase in their dental development stage as Shih Tzu puppies should not be leaving their mother until they are at least 8 weeks old.
Here’s the order in which your Shih Tzu’s baby teeth will come though:
- Front teeth (incisors).
- Canine teeth (at which point they can start on solid foods).
- Pre-molars (stop coming through after about 6 weeks).
By 8 weeks of age, your Shih Tzu should have grown all of its 28 milk teeth.
2. Shih Tzu starts teething and growing adult teeth – 12 weeks of age onwards
The next stage of dental development is the teething phase. Shih Tzus don’t have their milk teeth for as long as you might think and won’t be long until the adult teeth start to push through.
When do Shih Tzus lose their baby teeth?
Shih Tzu puppies will lose their baby teeth at around 3 months or 12 weeks old. This the age at which Shih Tzus start to teeth as they lose the milk teeth which fall out.
There are 28 baby teeth in total, and surprisingly, 32 adult teeth which will grow through in the place of the milk teeth.
3. Shih Tzu puppies stop teething – 7 to 8 months of age
When do Shih Tzus stop teething?
Shih Tzu puppies will typically stop teething at around 7 to 8 months old. It’s not always this specific, as some Shih Tzus will stop the teething phase before this, and possibly even after this age.
4. How long do Shih Tzus teethe for – can be as long as 20 to 24 weeks
The majority of Shih Tzu puppies will stop teething once they hit 6 months old, but don’t be surprised if it takes longer, it’s not an exact science and can vary from dog to dog.
Shih Tzu adult teeth take a lot longer to grow and push through compared to their baby milk teeth. The molars at the back are the ones that are particularly stubborn.
At the very latest, your 8-month-old Shih Tzu puppy should have stopped teething. Anything after that age would be unusual, but still not unheard of. Most Shih Tzus will now have all 42 adult teeth.
Handy Hint: Does you Shih Tzu bit you with those sharp teeth…. here’s how to stop it!
Signs of teething in Shih Tzu puppies
As you might have already experienced with your Shih Tzu puppy, the first sign of teething is them chewing everything in sight. Here’s all those teething signs in full.
- Small baby teeth: One of the more obvious signs is finding their cute little teeth (yet sharp). They might be on the floor, embedded in a toy, or near a food bowl.
- Blood spots on toys: As Shih Tzus teethe, they will chew on their toys to relieve the pain. This can result in blood when baby teethe come out or gums are irritated.
- Lots of drooling: Teething puppies can drool, so expect to see more saliva than usual coming from their mouths.
- Even more chewing: When Shih Tzus teethe, they need to relieve the pain and the best way to do this is by chewing. Give them chew toys and keep them away from anything that you value!
- Sore gums: Teething Shih Tzus will get inflamed and red gums. They will look really sore, because the larger adult teeth are pushing up through.
- Change in behavior: Your Shih Tzu puppy will be in pain from time to time and might even be irritable. Try to distract them with teething toys and lots of attention.
- Mild fever: If you have ever had kids, you will know that they can get a little hot when teething. Shih Tzu puppies are the same.
- Misaligned teeth: As the adult teeth come through, they might not always push a baby tooth. Your Shih Tzu might have a bit of a redneck look at the two teeth sit together until the milk tooth falls out.
Recommended Shih Tzu teething toys
All puppies need something to chew on when new teeth are coming through. They will try to chew your shoes, furniture… pretty much anything. To help them out, give them toys to chew on, but not the soft stuffed ones – those simply won’t cut it.
To help your Shih Tzu puppy when teething, instead invest in some teething toys that are hard and durable enough to give their gums relief.
There are two teething toys we used with our own puppy which always worked a treat.
Firstly, there’s the Kong chew toy on Amazon. Not only is a great for Shih Tzus to get their teeth around, but you can also put treats inside of it to mentally challenge them as well.
What we also used to do was place ours in the freezer before letting our teething puppy have. That way it was really nice and cold and helped to soothe his sore gums.
My second recommendation is the Nylabone dog chew on Amazon. It’s a fantastic alternative to chews like rawhide, and our dog still has this chew toy 3 years down the line. It’s extremely durable and hard-wearing.
This is how much they will end up chewing it!
How to stop your Shih Tzu puppy chewing when teething
Once those milk teeth start to fall out, your Shih Tzu puppy will want to get his or her teeth around anything to give much needed pain relief. You might have to hide things, reduce their access to certain rooms, and keep a close eye on them.
It’s a dog’s natural instinct to want to chew during the teething phase, so as owners, it’s our job to help them out. Here’s what you can do.
- Chew proof your home: You might need to install stair gates to restrict access to certain rooms where your prized furniture is located. You might have to move things above their height. Nothing is safe from a teething Shih Tzu puppy!
- Give them frozen treats: As well as chew toys, a piece of frozen carrot or an ice cube can really help to soothe their sore gums.
- Keep them exercised: Shih Tzus that have energy to burn will chew more than those that are tired out. Give your Shih Tzu puppy a couple of walks a day and provide plenty of indoor play time too.
- Keep them entertained: Bored Shih Tzus tend to be destructive. Get their toys out to keep them mentally challenged and distracted whilst teething.
- Give them chew toys but not rawhide chews: I’ve already shown you what toys we use. But please don’t let them chew rawhide. It’s dangerous for dogs and can cause choking.
Puppies can cause utter devastation whilst teething. You just need to look at how chewed the corner of our wooden dining room table was during the teething phase.
What other owners say
I am part many different Shih Tzu social media groups, and recently asked people about their own experiences with their own puppies and teething.
Here’s a selection of the best responses on how to help teething Shih Tzus that chew things:
“Make sure you have lots of chew toys, so your Shih Tzu has options and doesn’t get bored. Bored Shih Tzus will start chewing your things when they teethe. Mine loves to chew but he’s always been good about only chewing his toys. I’ve always made sure he had many different kinds so he doesn’t get bored with them. Nylabone and Kong Toys are two of my faves.”
“Get lots of rawhide alternatives! Bully sticks and Himalayan cheese sticks are good. Kongs are wonderful too as you can stuff them with banana and peanut butter (make sure it isn’t the kind sweetened with Xylitol) and freeze it! We also use real bones from the meat department at our local store, frozen so they last longer, and our dogs love them.”
“As to teething, freeze your Shih Tzu some ice cubes with some meat jelly in them. If your Shih Tzu is teething and eats dry food try and soften the biscuits as chewing hard food can be a big turn off put for them as their gums can be quite sensitive.”
“Shih Tzu puppies should have a variety of several different texture chew toys. Puppies crave different things at different times and are learning what their teeth can do in addition to the teething that they are going through. Don’t be surprised if you find your puppy chewing on the drywall. it’s all about the texture. I recommend 20 different teething toys and rotate them. Kong’s with treats are great as well.”
“When your Shih Tzu is teething put lavender oil on things. They hate the smell and it will stop them chewing your stuff. And give him chews. It is boredom that makes them chew more than anything.”
“We used old tea towels when our Shih Tzu was teething. Just put a knot in each end and wet them, then freeze them! He loved it and still just loves playing with tea towels now at nearly 2 years old. Would recommend putting the tea towel in a food bag when freezing.”
At the age your Shih Tzu starts to teethe, he or she will suffer with sore gums and the pain of their baby teeth being pushed through. How much pain they are will vary from puppy to puppy – our own dog had quite mild teething pain from what we could tell, but it depends on the dog.
But, almost all of them will chew. You can expect to see little teeth on the floor or stuck into things they have chewed on, plus those little blood spots I mentioned.
During your Shih Tzu’s dental development just give them plenty of love, attention, understanding… and chew toys!
At this time of their dental development, your Shih Tzu puppy will need your love and support, plenty of chewable toys, patience, and understanding.
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Image used in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/pet-shih-tzu-dog-puppy-2530265/