Does your pup drive you mad by chomping on everything in sight? Our vets in Sacramento talk about dog chewing problems, why they do it and what you can do to stop them.
Chewing Problems: What Is Your Dog Thinking?
Similar to human infants, puppies use their mouths to explore their new world — which can lead them to eat almost anything they come across, from paper, sticks and smelly old shoes to toxic plants, furniture and electrical cords...and that new bag you bought.
You might be surprised to learn that dogs don’t chew our things to spite us, but they love scents that remind them of their owners (this explains why your sports gear and shoes are so tempting). They also live in the moment, so won’t connect the destroyed items with your anger and any subsequent discipline.
Reasons Your Dog Chews
There are many reasons your dog may chew (none of which are to spite you). Dog chewing problems may persist due to:
- Lack of training
- Natural instinct
- Seeking attention
- Attempting to relieve anxiety or fear
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
Dogs do not understand right from wrong. Therefore, they won’t be able to connect your anger and discipline to their actions (such as chewing up your headphones).
Contrary to what you’d hoped, unlike a child a dog won’t understand or change their behavior after being punished. So don’t scold, muzzle or spank them. Try these instead:
Keep Valuables Tucked Away
Got some new sneakers or stiletto heels you’d rather keep free from your dog’s chompers? Place them high on a shelf, or in another place they can’t reach.
Training & Supervision
For puppies, close supervision at home is key as they learn good habits and what not to do.
Exercise & Stimulation
Pet parents will learn early on that a tired puppy or dog is a happy pup. Learn your pup’s energy levels and needs, then tailor exercise and playtime to him. Use 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise as a rule of thumb, unless your vet discovers a medical issue that prevents this.
How Your Vet Can Help
Fortunately, excessive dog chewing behavior dwindles by around 18 months of age for most, but will likely continue to some degree, depending on your dog’s breed and other factors, for their entire life. If you see excessive chewing, consult your veterinarian. They can:
- Check for medical reasons your dog might be chewing and provide treatment
- Advise whether you should let certain items pass, when your dog needs to come in for an exam and when you should induce vomiting if he or she has chewed an inappropriate item
- Provide advice and pointers for modifying your dog’s behavior
- Suggest appropriate chew toys, treats, deterrents or training methods
At Elkhorn-Walerga Animal Hospital we can perform a complete health checkup and provide advice on how to solve this frustrating problem.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.