How to stop your dog from inappropriate chewing
Chewing is as essential to a dog as talking is to a human. For dogs, chewing is a form of entertainment and can help relieve boredom and anxiety. If you're having problems with inappropriate chewing and your pooch keeps destroying your Italian leather shoes, it's not too late!
Part of our responsibility of being a pet owner is providing our dogs with entertainment. Lack of sufficient toys and interaction can result in boredom and depression which can cause further behavioural disorders.
Inappropriate chewing can be caused by a number of factors such as:
It's best to section off anything likely to be chewed on from your dog until they have learnt what is acceptable. In some cases, it will be easier to section off whole rooms or keep your dog in a contained area. Just make sure they do get adequate exercise if they are confined to a room or crate for long periods of time. If there are items you cannot section off easily, try applying a chewing deterrent like the Rufus and Coco Chew Stopper or another alternative is using dilute Tea Tree Oil.
Never give your puppy or dog old shoes or clothing rags to chew. Your dog will struggle to differentiate between which shoes are the right ones to chew and which aren't. Be careful with giving your dog old stuffed toys to chew on, accessories like buttons or eyes can easily be pulled off and ingested. Tuffy have plenty of dog safe toys in all different sizes to suit every pooch!
Could your puppy be teething?
Like humans, dogs have two teething cycles, when their puppy teeth come through and when those are replaced with adult teeth. The first set of teeth grow through between 3-6 weeks of age and the adult teeth at 4 months. During this time, your puppy's gums will be swollen and sore. They will take to chewing to try and alleviate some of the discomfort.
Some recommend giving your puppy ice cubes to chew but these can be too hard on their gums. Instead, look at cloth or rope toys like the Kong Bone with Rope which can be submersed in water and frozen. Once frozen, these will provide a safe, numbing effect.
Is your dog bored?
An obvious reason to your dog's compulsive chewing is because they have nothing else to do. If your dog is left alone a lot, try providing them with stimulating, interactive toys like the Kong Wobbler. If you can exercise and play with your dog more, this will tire them out which can help limit their desire to chew.
Separation and other anxieties
Dogs that are feeling overly stressed or anxious can develop destructive behaviours like chewing. Try to identify what is casing your pet's anxiety, have you moved recently or had a change in the household, either humans or pets? Separation anxiety can also lay way to inappropriate chewing when you are away. Check out our other anxiety help guides to manage your pet's condition if you think this is the cause of destruction. Products like the Adaptil diffuser or collar can help your pet by releasing calming pheromones. See our Guide on How to Use Adaptil.
Is your pet getting enough nutrition?
If pets are not getting enough good nutrition from their food, they can take to chewing other items to try and satiate their hunger. Usually these items will smell like food or be in some way edible. Check the food that you are giving your pooch as low quality, "budget" brands use a lot of filler ingredients that bulk up the food but have a very low absorption rate. See our article Don't be tricked by Cheap Pet Foods to find out more.
Some pets are just natural born chewers, increased physical activity can help reduce their need to be destructive. Make sure you have plenty of different toys, treat toys will be you and your dog's best friend! Use deterrents on objects that you don't want your pooch chewing and smear tasty condiments like peanut butter on their toys so that they know what's acceptable to play with.
Owner of a small Chihuahua army and lover of all things pets; when Jess isn't managing her pup Nacho's instagram you can find her writing about all the awesome new products on the Pet Circle website!
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