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Published: May 23, 2012

Once your puppy is 3-and-a-half to 4 months old, you may notice it is drooling, reluctant to eat or has an increased interest in chewing. This is because the dog is teething, and growing in its set of adult teeth.

This process can be painful for puppies, and you might notice your canine is more irritable than normal because of heightened sensitivity in its mouth. During this time, the dog's adult teeth are growing beneath the surface of the gums, pressing up against the primary teeth until they eventually fall out, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. You can help your puppy through this uncomfortable process by providing it with plenty of chew toys to discourage it from choosing shoes and furniture instead. An ice cube is another good treat your puppy may enjoy chewing because it soothes irritated gums, The Daily Puppy recommends.

While teething is a normal part of raising puppies, owners should also look out for signs of abnormal dental development. Retained dog teeth occur when a primary tooth's roots are not fully resorbed, causing the tooth to stay in place and the adult tooth to grow in at an abnormal position, VCA reports.

Retained teeth usually need to be removed because they can rub against other teeth and wear away the enamel, grow into the roof of the mouth and cause alignment or growth issues with the rest of the teeth and the jaw. They can also lead to dental disease in dogs because they increase the likelihood food and debris will get trapped in the teeth.