Could a puppy losing teeth cause a change in behavior?
Original Question: Good morning I am a new pet mama of a Lab/Beagle mix. I have to admit I know very little about dogs as I never had animals growing up but am quickly learning. We got Ace on Boxing Day at 8 weeks old (born Oct. 28th). He has been a tough puppy to train but has learned so much. He whined and howled all night long for over a month. He went pee in the crate multiple times a night for six weeks even with being let out every 1-2 hours. For two weeks now he has been holding it 3-4 hours at a time. He has stopped biting us and being super aggressive and there’s been a lot less barking. He is becoming a very happy puppy and we are so proud of all the progress he has made. All of this background brings us to today. Over the past two days we have noticed he is starting to lose a couple teeth and adult ones coming in. His gums are bleeding a little. He appears like he is in distress. He has been moaning and groaning constantly for two days including all night. He is barely sleeping. He will not eat any of his treats which is so abnormal and he loves his treats. He has been drinking water and eating his kibble. He is still enjoying his frozen Kong’s. When he tries to sleep it’s like he can’t get comfortable. He paces around the crate or bedroom and he tries to circle and find a comfy spot for 3-5 minutes. Then he gives up and moves to another spot and tries again to no avail. I am worried it might be something else. His tail is down and he doesn’t want to cuddle or be touched and this is just very out of the ordinary. You helped my brother years ago with his lab first on your radio show then at the clinic so I feel in good hands but don’t know what to do. We had his four-month booster shots three weeks ago. They found roundworm in his sample, which was a disappointment after having found that out with a previous vet and doing multiple rounds of deworming and medication to treat worms. We just started the second round of treatment on Sunday. Yesterday I saw a vet technician at the clinic to check his gums/teeth and ask questions. She said she didn’t think it was his teeth and that we should monitor it and always come back and see the vet. She said he didn’t have a temperature and didn’t make any noises when she touched his stomach however we had another sleepless night of groaning and moaning and I’m just worried for my boy. Should I be doing something else? Any advice or guidance you could give me would be much appreciated. Thank you! - Courtney
Thanks for your question about your puppy.
It sounds like you are a really dedicated new pet parent! Occasionally, puppy losing teeth can experience discomfort when they lose their deciduous (“baby”) teeth and the permanent teeth erupt. This process generally starts around 4 months of age, and most puppies will have their full adult set of teeth by 6 months of age. Veterinary intervention is generally not required during this time.
When problems do occur, it is important that your veterinarian is consulted. One problem I have seen is excessive bleeding (the bleeding does not stop quickly after a tooth falls out) which can be one of the first signs of a blood clotting disorder. Malocclusion (misalignment) of either the deciduous or permanent teeth is another problem that can lead to significant pain and infection. It is important that these issues are identified and treated promptly to prevent further complications.
The signs you described could be due to a variety of underlying problems and may or may not be related to your puppy’s mouth. I would encourage you to have a consult with your vet to see if there could be more going on. I would also suggest that you make sure to follow up with their recommendations for treating the intestinal parasites.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Kim Hester
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