Chewing is something that all dogs do, especially when they are puppies. But what happens when this extends beyond chew toys and onto your belongings? Here, our Toledo vets talk about destructive chewing and shed some light on why your dog is exhibiting this behavior.
Dog Chewing: Why Won't My Dog Stop?
Your dog will use their slobbery mouth to explore everything in the world around them. Chewing can also be a way for puppies to relieve teething pain and for adult dogs to keep their jaws strong and teeth clean.
That said, while chewing is healthy behavior in dogs, your pup may have crossed over into the realm of dog chewing problems. Here are some of the most common reasons behind dogs chewing on things they shouldn't:
Your Dog is Anxious
Our furry friends are social creatures at heart and many pets suffer from separation anxiety when their owners are away. Chewing may be a way for your dog to comfort himself in your absence.
Boredom Got the Better of Them
If your dog spends extended periods of time alone without mental stimulation they can quickly become bored and may resort to chewing on any interesting objects that they find around your house as a way of passing time.
You Have a Teething Puppy
Puppies go through an uncomfortable teething period just like human babies. Chewing is how your new puppy will relieve any pain that they are experiencing with teething. If you are concerned about this you can always schedule a visit for a dental examination with the vet.
They Are Just Plain Hungry
It is not uncommon for dogs on calorie-restricted diets to begin chewing on objects in an effort to find other sources of nutrition. Typically, dogs exhibiting this behavior seek out objects that smell like food.
Ways to Deter Dogs From Chewing
When trying to prevent your dog from destructive chewing, it is essential to start by identifying the cause and eliminating any of the problems listed above. Step two is to focus on redirecting your dog's chewing to more desirable objects, such as chew toys.
Provide Them With Lots of Exercise
Adequate daily exercise is the key to a happy and contented pup. Making sure that your pooch gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house is one of the best ways to curb destructive chewing. High-energy breeds such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Brittany and Springer Spaniels need at least two hours of exercise every day, while more laid-back breeds such as Pomeranians, Pugs, and Shih Tzus often do well with as little as 40 minutes of exercise daily.
Keep Them Entertained
To help reduce separation anxiety or boredom in dogs that spend extended periods of time alone, try training your dog to associate alone time with positive experiences. When you leave, provide a puzzle toy stuffed with food, and a variety of fun, special toys that your dog only gets to play with while you are away (to retain the novelty).
Providing your pooch with lots of interesting toys will not only create a positive association with alone time, but it will also serve as a distraction from the objects that you don't want your dog to chew on.
Dog Proof Your Home
If you don't want your dog to chew on something the answer is simple, put it away. Place valuable objects out of reach, make sure your laundry is put away or in a closed hamper, and ensure that books and children's toys are stored out of your dog's reach.
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
When you encounter your dog chewing on an item they shouldn't be, say "no," take it away, and replace it with a chew toy, then be sure to provide lots of praise when your dog chews on that instead. If none of the suggestions above are successful in stopping your dog's destructive chewing, you may want to try spraying any objects you don't want your dog to chew with a dog deterrent spray.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.