Dealing with ridgeback teething isn’t going to be a smooth ride, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you might think. You likely have many questions about when your ridgeback will start teething, when he’ll stop teething, how to handle teething, and much more…
This article has everything you need to know to make it through the teething stage without breaking a sweat!
When Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Start Teething?
Rhodesian ridgebacks begin teething early at around 3-4 weeks old. This is when their set of baby teeth start pushing through. By 6-8 weeks old, all 28 deciduous teeth (baby teeth) should have come through and teething is already well underway.
So to the surprise of many owners, teething actually begins while the puppy is still with the breeder.
The real fun begins when the baby teeth start to make way for the adult teeth. This is when teething really becomes a significant event for both your ridgeback and your shoes!
When Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Stop Teething?
Most Rhodesian ridgebacks will stop teething by around 8-9 months of age. I say most ridgebacks because all Rhodies are different and exact timing is hard to predict. Some may stop teething before 8 months while others will take up to 9 months.
It’s also important to know that teething isn’t just a straightforward onslaught. It comes in waves of severity.
Some days or weeks, the teething will be minimal, and you’ll notice an improvement in his temperament and behavior. Then on other weeks, teething will hit your pup hard, and the effects will be immediately evident.
Ridgeback Teething Timeline
Let’s run through a more detailed timeline of events. While this will be fairly accurate for most ridgebacks out there, all are different, so yours might not follow this exactly.
3 weeks old:
Your ridgeback’s set of 28 deciduous teeth (baby teeth) will start pushing through.
6-8 weeks old:
The full set of 28 deciduous teeth should all be present. At this stage, your ridgeback will be desperate to use his newfound set of gnashers. They will be sharp and he’ll be eager to bite everything that comes his way.
12 weeks old:
The set of 28 deciduous teeth will now start to make way for a set of 42 adult teeth. This will happen slowly over the course of several months. The first baby teeth to come out are usually the incisors.
4 months old:
This is when the canines and adult premolars start to push through.
6 months old:
The adult molars start pushing through. These usually take around 1 month to fully come out.
8-9 months old:
By now, your ridgeback should have more or less his full set of 42 adult teeth. 20 will be on the upper jaw with 22 on the bottom.
Your Rhodesian ridgeback will have 12 incisors (small teeth at the front) 4 large canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars. This is a great chart to indicate this.
Typical Reactions To Teething & What To Expect
As your ridgeback enters the most grueling stages of teething, which is when the adult teeth start pushing through, there are numerous changes to expect.
First of all, we have to remember that this process can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful for many dogs. It leaves them with inflamed, irritated gums, that are sensitive and itchy. Naturally, and understandably, this leads to some dramatic changes in temperament, focus, and behavior (usually all for worse!).
Increased chewing and biting will be the biggest reaction to teething. Chewing down and biting on various textures provides significant relief to the itchy gums and promotes healthy blood flow to support the entire process. Despite its obvious negatives, chewing is actually super important for teething.
This is kind of ironic, as many owners constantly talk about how they can “stop” the chewing. Actually, we shouldn’t be stopping the chewing at all! It’s all about managing WHAT your ridgeback chews. Chewing your fingers and furniture is not acceptable, but he should be encouraged to chew his toys until his heart is content.
Change in temperament and obedience will be another noticeable difference. Due to the increased pain, it usually causes most ridgebacks to get a little irritated and unfocused. Not only does this make them rather disobedient, but also puts a strain on any training you might try.
As teething comes in waves of severity, so too will the chewing habits and temperament changes. Some days or weeks, it will seem like the chewing and bad behavior is finally coming to a halt… Then suddenly, it comes back in full force. It’s crucial to remember that teething is not a smooth ride.
Normal reactions to teething:
- Change in eating habits (food refusal if teething is very painful)
- Blood (perfectly normal, but should only be a little, and infrequently)
- Increased chewing and biting
- Increased irritability and bad behavior
- Lack of focus with training
The Importance Of Redirecting Your Ridgeback’s Chewing
If there’s one section to read again, it’s this one! Redirecting your ridgeback’s chewing is a crucial training process that must happen.
The thing is, puppies have no idea what they ARE and ARE NOT allowed to chew. They simply haven’t been taught yet. So it will inevitably happen that your pup will stray from his toys to your shoes and furniture in no time at all.
But the answer isn’t to try and stop him from chewing. The answer is to teach him what he is allowed to chew instead.
The truth is that this is a long-drawn-out process that doesn’t work after a few tries. And you’ll be needing to redirect his chewing multiple times a day, every day for a while.
But, it’s so vitally important and it must be done…
Not only does chewing help teething in multiple ways, but redirecting his chewing is actually training him good behavior and chewing habits for the rest of his life!
The importance of redirecting his chewing goes way beyond teething. Because chewing doesn’t magically stop when teething does… So if he hasn’t got a good grasp of what he is and isn’t allowed to chew, he’ll keep chewing your shoes and furniture for years!
The redirection process when you witness him chewing something he shouldn’t be:
- Call his name (startle him to gain his attention)
- Give a firm “No!” (no shouting but in a raised deep tone)
- Redirect him to his own toy
- Wait for his attention to remain on the toy (3-5 seconds)
- Praise heavily with voice AND treats
This should become almost second nature after you do it for a few days straight.
After a few weeks of constant redirection, you’ll notice that he doesn’t opt for items he isn’t allowed to chew.
Keep at it, every single time he grabs those shoes… redirect.
If this sounds like a pain, imagine having a ridgeback that has had years of uncorrected chewing and biting behavior to deal with. Trust me, that is a whole different story…
Put in a few months of consistent effort now redirecting his chewing, and you’ll be putting in the groundwork to have a ridgeback that only chews what he’s supposed to, for the rest of his life.
3 Tips To Help Your Ridgeback Throughout Teething
Let’s run through some of the most important tips I’ve learned over the years that have always helped me, help my teething pups.
1. Keep toys on rotation
Plenty of fun and interesting toys are extremely important to help both of you throughout teething. New toys will hold his attention for longer and mean less destruction of your slippers, chairs, and hands…
But to save having to buy new toys all the time, just rotate them… This works great and it’s simple. Keep two to three toys locked away while he plays with one or two, then after a week, swap them over.
The changing of toys will help him forget the old ones and be excited for them again in another week’s time. This really does work. Get yourself a batch of toys, and start rotating.
2. Puzzle toys and slow feeders
There are multiple kinds of puzzle toys out there on the market, but the ones I’m talking about specifically are essentially like slow-feeders. The classic KONG toy is an example, and so is the Star Mark Bob-A-Lot.
These toys are both satisfying to chew, and you can leave your pup with them unattended. You simply place a handful of kibble or low-calorie treats in there and his attention will be occupied for a good 30 minutes at least.
It doesn’t sound like long, but 30 minutes can sometimes be a lifesaver. Ensure you have a KONG toy or a Star Mark, ready for use.
3. Freezing toys and treats
One way to offer your pup some instant pain relief is to freeze his toys and treats.
Rope toys are a great option here as you can wet the rope and pop it in the freezer. Your pup will be intrigued by the ice-cold temperature, have something to chew on and receive some much-needed pain relief.
You can also freeze dog-friendly peanut butter inside of a KONG toy. This works as perhaps the ultimate distraction, should you ever need it. Your pup will be fixated on that toy as the PB slowly thaws out.
You can also infuse ice cubes with kibble, peanut butter, or meat stock. These are short-lived treats, but they will offer some instant pain relief for your pup.
For longer-lasting treats, try freezing large whole carrots and bananas. These can be given individually as healthy snacks (and to help with the pain). Keep carrots and bananas large and whole, baby carrots could be a choking hazard.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Teething FAQs
Below are frequently asked questions on ridgeback teething. If you have any more questions please let me know so I can add them below.
What’s the best way to help Rhodesian ridgeback when teething?
The best way to help your puppy when teething is to be understanding of what they are going through, be tolerable with them, and provide a lot of chew toys to satisfy their cravings to bite, and offer frozen treats for quick pain relief.
Should you brush your ridgebacks teeth while they are teething?
Although you don’t need to brush your ridgeback’s teeth until they have their full set of adult teeth, it’s important to get the familiarization process underway. The earlier on you start holding and touching your puppy’s mouth, the easier brushing his teeth will be later on.
How long do Rhodesian ridgebacks teeth for?
Rhodesian ridgebacks begin teething at around 3-4 weeks of age, and the entire process usually takes them up to around 8-9 months of age. Some ridgebacks finish earlier than this, but the majority usually take around 8 months.
Is it normal if my ridgeback’s mouth bleeds when teething?
A small amount of blood here and there is completely normal and to be expected. However, common sense should always be used here and if you notice an unusual amount of bleeding, you should contact a vet immediately, or better, take your puppy straight there.
How to help ridgeback to eat their meals when teething?
It’s first necessary to be sure that it is the teething that’s the problem and not an underlying health issue. After that, you can try adding water to the kibble to make it easier to eat, or substitute some kibble for puppy-approved wet dog food, which is much easier to chew (and tastier!)
Thank you for reading! More Rhodesian Ridgeback articles >