Dogs and Why We Expect Them To Chew
Similar to human infants, puppies are known for exploring the things around them by using their mouth — which can lead them to eat almost anything they come across, even things that we wouldn't think to be too pleasant to the tastebuds.
You might be surprised to learn that dogs don’t chew our things to spite us, but they do love scents that remind them of their owners (this explains why your sports gear and shoes are so tempting). They also live in the moment, so won’t connect the destroyed items with your anger and any subsequent discipline.
Some of the Reasons Your Dog in Chewing
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
- Natural instinct
- Seeking attention
- Attempting to relieve anxiety or fear
Ways You Can Help Stop Your 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).
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 Important Items Out of Reach
Got 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.
Set Your Puppy Up With Regular Behavioral Training
For puppies, close supervision at home is key as they learn good habits and what not to do.
Provide Your Dog With Plenty of Exercise
Pet parents will learn early on that a tired puppy or dog is a happy one. Learn your pup’s energy levels and needs, then tailor exercise and playtime to him. Use 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise as a rule of thumb, unless your vet discovers a medical issue that prevents this.
What Your Vet Can Do To Help
Fortunately, excessive dog chewing behavior dwindles by around 18 months of age for most, but will likely continue to some degree, depending on your dog’s breed and other factors, 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 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 American Veterinary 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.