Are you wondering how you can cure your dog's chewing problems for good? Our Rancho Cucamonga vets offer some tips on how to help your four-legged friend improve their habits.
Dog Psychology 101
Like human babies, puppies use their mouths to explore their new world — which may lead them to eat almost anything they come across, from sticks and paper to toxic plants, furniture and electrical cords...and those brand new shoes you bought.
You may be surprised to find out that dogs don't chew our things to spite us. However, they do love smells that remind them of their owners (this explains why your well-worn clothes, shoes and sports gear are so tempting). They also live in the moment, so won't connect the fact that they've destroyed your items with your anger and any subsequent discipline.
Reasons Your Dog Chews
Your dog may chew for several reasons (none of which are to spite you). Dog chewing problems may occur due to:
- Natural instinct
- Seeking attention
- Attempting to relieve fear or anxiety
- Lack of training
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
Dogs do not understand right from wrong in the moral sense. Therefore, they won't connect your anger and discipline to their own actions (such as chewing up your pillow).
Contrary to what you'd hoped, a dog cannot be compared to a child — they won't understand or change their behavior after being punished. So don't spank, muzzle or scold 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 one. 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 Rancho Regional Veterinary Hospital we can perform a full 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.