Are you looking for a lasting solution for your dog's persistent chewing issues? Our veterinarians in Woburn are here to provide valuable insights and guidance on helping your furry friend develop healthier habits.
Dog Psychology 101
Similar to human infants, 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.
It may come as a surprise, but dogs don't chew on our belongings as an act of defiance; instead, they are drawn to scents that remind them of their owners. This explains why your sports equipment and shoes can be particularly enticing to them. Additionally, dogs live in the present moment and do not make a connection between the items they've damaged and any subsequent frustration or disciplinary measures you may take.
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 do not understand right from wrong. Therefore, they won't be able to connect your anger and discipline to their actions (such as chewing up your headphones).
Unlike children, dogs do not comprehend or modify their conduct in response to punishment. Consequently, it's ineffective and inappropriate to scold, muzzle, or physically discipline them. Consider these alternative approaches:
Keep Valuables Tucked Away
Are you looking to protect your new sneakers or stiletto heels from your dog's playful chewing tendencies? Safeguard your footwear by stowing them out of reach on a high shelf or in a secure location.
Training & Supervision
For puppies, close supervision at home is key as they learn good habits and what not to do.
Exercise & Stimulation
Pet owners quickly discover that a contented canine is often a well-exercised one. Get to know your dog's unique energy levels and requirements, and customize their physical activity and playtime accordingly.
A general guideline is to aim for about 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise unless your veterinarian identifies a medical condition that contraindicates this activity level.
How Your Vet Can Help
Fortunately, excessive dog chewing behavior dwindles by around 18 months of age for most. Still, depending on your dog's breed and other factors, it will likely continue to some degree 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 they have chewed an inappropriate item
- Provide advice and pointers for modifying your dog's behavior
- Suggest appropriate chew toys, treats, deterrents, or training methods
At Woburn Animal 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.