Managing a Dog That Chews Too Much
Many pet owners complain of a gnawing behavior problem: Their dog chews too much! However, this is a natural activity for all canines. They chew. They gnaw. It’s that simple.
Most pets gnaw on things out of boredom (or out of canine anxiety). If they have nothing to do they will find something to chomp on in order to occupy their time. It is important to leave things he is allowed to munch on around the house. Rawhide flips, Nylabones, cow hooves, KONG toys and the like are long-lasting chewable treats that your pet will absolutely love.
By leaving enough of a variety of proper things to occupy him, there is a lesser chance that he will choose to eat your dining room table legs or couch pillows.
Human babies teethe, and so do puppies. Always keep appropriate toys for the puppy to chew on (and ultimately destroy). By providing things that are acceptable for him to be chewing annihilating, you will be protecting the items you don’t want him to tear apart.
Make It Harder to Chew the “Bad” Stuff
Don’t forget to pick up things like shoes and socks that you don’t want him to chew while you’re not home.
Some trainers have even recommended smearing a little petroleum jelly laced with hot sauce to couch legs and other likely chewing zones — but this seems a bit overboard to us. Logic suggests that the deterrent won’t make your dog learn to stop chewing but rather that he should chew on something else. There are commercial “stop dog chewing” sprays (such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple) and gels that serve the same purpose. Use these deterrents under supervision.
Reprimand in the Act
If you catch your pet in the act of chewing on something inappropriate, you can reprimand him by shaking a can filled with coins or some other distraction like clapping your hands loudly and yelling “No!” Then immediately provide a toy that is acceptable to chew and pet him when he starts chewing this “good” toy. He’ll get the idea.
Never reprimand well after the fact — so if you come home and find a destroyed sock, it’s too late to yell. Just pick up the sock, throw it away and hold back your anger. You have to catch him in the act for any correction to work. A bit of patience is required on your part.
But… This Dog REALLY Does Chew Too Much
All that said, maybe you do have a dog that chews too much. Some do. They have a crazy need to munch on everything they possible can find. Sometimes they even eat dangerous items like nails or wood! (This is really bad.)
For any of these few problem doggies, we would advise crating them when you are not watching them. This not only keeps your stuff safe but keeps your pet safe too. A lot of people don’t realize that one bite on an electrical cord can kill your pet and/or set your house on fire. Neither option is acceptable, so sometimes it is better to kennel or crate your dog when unattended.
Furniture that has been made out of particle board may have creosote in it. Creosote is toxic to dogs. We know you don’t want your furniture destroyed, but we also know you don’t want your pet dead either. The safest thing if you want to know what to do if your dog chews too much is to confine him. Dog crating safeguards your property, your home and your puppy.
If your dog chews too much and nothing you have tried works, have your veterinarian take a look. Sometimes destructive dog chewing can signal pain with the teeth or gums.
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This guest post was compiled by the writing team at Pets Adviser, a pet advice website. You can find safe, healthy pet treats and dog chews at the Pets Adviser Shop.