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Dog Chewing Problems: Why They Chew & How To Stop Them

Some dogs go through a faze of chewing. This most often happens as a puppy when their first teeth erupt. But what about when they are older? Here, our vets in Perry share some information about dogs with chewing problems and what can be done to deter this behavior.

Dog Chewing Problems

If you have a new puppy then you might have realized how much they use their mouth to explore the world. This can lead them to chew almost anything in sight, from paper and smelly old shoes to furniture, electrical cords, toxic plants and unfortunately, that new purse you just bought.

Although it can feel like it, dogs don’t chew to spite us or to get revenge against us. However, they do love scents that remind them of their owners, which is why your shoes and sports equipment can prove to be overwhelmingly tempting for your dog. Our beloved canine companions also live in the moment, which means that they won’t connect their destructive behavior from the afternoon with your anger when you get home from work in the evening.

Why Your Dog is Chewing

So, if your dog isn't chewing your things out of spite, or to get at you, why are they chewing? Below are a few common reasons why destructive chewing behaviors may occur:

    • Their instinct is to chew
    • A way to relieve boredom, anxiety, or fear
    • As a way to seek attention
    • Teething discomfort
    • Lack of training

How to Stop a Dog From Chewing

Now that we've looked at some of the reasons why dogs chew, let's consider some ways to help curb this destructive behavior. Below are tips commonly recommended by vets and trainers to help stop a dog's destructive chewing:

Provide Adequate Stimulation

Tired dogs make for happy, well-behaved dogs. Match your dog's exercise schedule to their natural energy level. Different breeds, and individual dogs within each breed, require vastly different amounts of exercise to leave them feeling relaxed and contented.  Some breeds are less energetic and only require short walks and playtimes (think of Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Great Danes), whereas other dogs may need an hour of activity twice a day to stay calm when left alone (such as Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Dalmatians and Jack Russels). 

Ensure Proper Training & Supervision

Good behavior and habits are learned. this means that providing supervision at home and dedicating enough time for training will be vital in developing your dog's good behavior.

Because your pooch will not associate their morning actions with your evening disapproval it's important to catch your pooch in the act and react immediately with a firm 'no', then remove the item. You can then give your pup an appropriate chew toy accompanied by a positive 'yes' and lots of pats when they chew on the correct item.

Put Your Favorite Things Out of Reach

'Dog-proofing' your home is going to be an essential step when bringing home your new puppy or adopted adult dog. This means that your beautiful Manolo pumps or favorite golf shoes need to be stored in a safely dog-proofed closet or other space well out of your pup's reach.

Remember, if your pooch can't reach them, they can't chew them.

Don't Reward Undesirable Behavior

When your puppy nips your fingers, let out a high-pitched puppy-like yelp, pull back, and leave the room. When your dog snatches a valuable item and runs off, quell the urge to chase them (yes we know how hard this can be). Instead, call your pup to you and offer a treat or toy in exchange for the item being chewed. Tell your dog 'good come' to make it clear that you are rewarding the fact that they came when you called, rather than a reward for taking the item.

It is also important to teach the command 'drop it'. Begin teaching 'drop it' when your dog has a ball or a toy of their own in their mouth, when they obey your command and drop it give your dog a treat and lots of praise. There are loads of helpful training videos online to help you teach this skill.

Unhealthy Items for Dogs to Chew On

Some of the things that you shouldn't allow your dog to chew on include:

  • Bones, antlers, and hooves
  • Rawhides
  • Sticks

Healthy Chew Toys for Dogs

Some things that are perfectly safe for dogs to chew on are:

  • Soft Chew Toys
  • Rubber Chews like a Kong
  • Treat-Filled Chew Toys
  • Dental Cleaning Chews

How Your Vet Can Help

Dogs usually grow out of chewing habits by the time they are a year and a half old. even so, destructive chewing may occur from time to time throughout your dog's lifetime, depending on your dog’s breed and other factors.

Contact your vet if you see excessive chewing, or if your dog is chewing on things they shouldn't be. 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

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.

Has your dog chewed and swallowed something they shouldn't have? Contact our vets in Perry right away. Ingestion of foreign objects can lead to life-threatening intestinal blockages.

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Perry Animal Hospital is accepting new patients to our clinic! Our kind and knowledgeable vets are passionate about the care of Perry dogs and cats. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.

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