Whether it’s a puppy or an older pet, coming home to find they’ve chewed up furniture, plants, and anything else within reach is more than frustrating. Rather than cleaning up the mess, learn why they chew and what you can do about it. It’s a natural instinct they’re following, and there are plenty of pet care methods to break the habit.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Many puppies begin chewing to alleviate the discomfort of teething. This can grow into a habit they hold on to once their teeth are fully in. Other dogs may chew out of boredom when they’re alone for long stretches, such as when owners are at work. Dogs also act out when they aren’t receiving enough attention. If your dog realizes they can receive attention — even if it’s negative — by chewing, they will continue to do so. Further, chewing can be a reaction to fear, stress, and separation anxiety. Sometimes dogs grow out of this; in other cases, you’ll need to focus on creating a more comfortable environment for them.
Breaking the Habit
Initially, you’ll want to puppy-proof your home. Keep all chewable items, including trash, food, sofa pillows, blankets, and containers, out of reach, especially when you’re away. Should you find your dog chewing, interrupt them by making a loud noise. Don’t reprimand them; instead, provide a chew toy as a replacement. If you notice your pet is drawn to certain items, such as furniture legs, coat them in bitter apple and other unpleasant tastes. You also need to create a personal space for your dog, such as a kennel, where you can leave them when you’re away.
To prevent boredom-related chewing, make sure your companion gets plenty of exercise during the day. If you’re concerned your dog is dealing with separation anxiety, leave recently worn clothes that smell like you with your pet. Additionally, establish a word or action you use every time you leave that assures them you’ll be back. If the problem is more severe, speak with your pet care professional, as they can recommend medications to relieve anxiety.
Whether you’re concerned about destructive chewing or it’s just time for your pet’s annual wellness exam, turn to the professionals at Canal Road Animal Hospital. This Orange Beach, AL-based clinic offers comprehensive pet care services ranging from dental exams to surgery and preventative medicine. They focus on educating owners and creating custom treatment plans for each pet. You can explore their full scope of services online and connect on Facebook for more pet care tips. To schedule a checkup, call (251) 968-7387 today.