Curious about fixing your dog's chewing issues? Our vets in Ketchum offer some tips on how to help your dog develop better habits.
Dog Psychology 101
Like human babies, 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 hew on our belongings to make us mad. Instead, they are attracted to scents that remind them of their owners, which is why your sports equipment and shoes are so appealing to them. Additionally, dogs live in the present moment, so they don't correct their actions to your anger or any punishment you might give them later on.
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
- Seeking attention
- Attempting to relieve anxiety or fear
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
Dogs don't grasp the concept of right and wrong, so they won't link your anger and discipline to their actions, like chewing 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
Do you have 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
To help puppies develop good habits and learn what's right and wrong, it's crucial to closely watch them at home.
Exercise & Stimulation
Pet owners will quickly discover that a tire puppy or dog is a happy one. Understand your pet's energy levels and what they require, the adjust their exercise and playtime accordingly. As a general guideline, aim for 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise unless your veterinarian identifies a health problem that makes this impossible.
How Your Vet Can Help
Thankfully, most dogs naturally reduce their chewing habits by about 18 months old. However, some degree of chewing might persist throughout their life, influenced by their breed and other factors. If your dog chews excessively, it's wise to consult your vet. 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 , 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.