While chewing is a normal activity for any dog, you likely don't want to sacrifice your new shoes, socks or a favorite book to your dog's pastime of choice. If you're at the end of your rope with your dog's destructive chewing, our Montecito veterinarians are here to explain why your dog may be chewing and how to help curb this habit.
Why won't my dog stop chewing things?
Chewing on objects is one of your dog's major ways of exploring the world surrounding them. Shewing can also be a means for your puppy the relieve pain they may be feeling from teething, or for adult dogs to keep their jaws strong and teeth squeaky clean.
All of that being said, chewing may be a healthy behavior in dogs but your dog may not always choose to chew the right things. Why is that?
Stress & Anxiety
Our canine companions are social creatures at heart. Many pets suffer from separation anxiety while their owners are away. Dogs that are experiencing stress or anxiety can often turn to chewing on things as a source fo comfort.
If your dog is spending long periods of time all alone and without any stimulation, they can become bored—just like people—and will resort to chewing on interesting objects they may find around your house as a means of entertaining themselves.
Puppies will go through an uncomfortable period of teething, just like human babies. While your puppy is teething, they are likely to chew more frequently in order to alleviate their discomfort or pain.
It isn't uncommon for dogs that are on low-calorie diets to start chewing on objects in an effort to find other kinds of nutrition. This kind of chewing is generally directed towards objects related to food or that smell like food after having been in contact with it, like plastic bowls.
How do I stop my dog from chewing my stuff?
When you are trying to prevent your dog from destructively; chewing, it's critical that you start by identifying the cause of the chewing by addressing any of the issues listed above.
After that, focus on redirecting your dog to chew on more desirable things like chew toys.
Making sure your pup receives an adequate amount of daily exercise is the key to a happy and healthy dog. Making sure that you dog gets the exercise they need before you leave the house for long periods of time is one of the best ways to curb their destructive chewing habits. Higher energy breeds like German Shepherds, Springer SPaniels, Border Collies and Brittnays require at least two hours of exercise every day. More laid-back breeds like Pugs, Shih Tzus and Pomeranians will do just as well with 40 minutes or less of exercise every day.
In order to help to reduce your dog's separation anxiety when they are bored or spending extended periods of time alone, try training your dog to associate alone time with positive experiences. When you leave home, give them a puzzle stuffed with food or a number of special toys they only get to play with while you're gone. This can help retain the novelty of these experiences for your pup.
Providing your pooch with lots of interesting toys will not only create a positive association with alone time, but it will also serve as a distraction from the objects that you don't want your dog to chew on.
Removing other temptations for chewing can be helpful in ensuring that your dog only chews on designated objects. Make sure to place valuable objects well out of your pup's reach, your laundry is stored away and that children's toys or books are stored away too.
Discourage Unwanted Chewing
When you find your dog chewing on an item that they shouldn't be, tell them "no" and take it away. Replace it with a chew toy and then be sure to provide them with plenty of praise when they chew on that instead. If thew suggestions we've provided aren't successful in curbing your dog's destructive chewing, you may want to even consider spraying objects you want to discourage your pup from wrecking with a dog deterrent spray.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.