Have you ever come home to find that your dog chewed up your shoes, or destroyed a couch cushion? If so, you’re not alone! Fido has many adorable habits, such as his tail wags, head tilts, and playful antics, but he also has a few not-so-adorable ones, like chewing. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses stopping problematic chewing in dogs.
Dogs chew for many different reasons. Separation anxiety is one common cause. Fido could also be chewing out of hunger or boredom, or due to excess energy. If you’re not sure why your pooch is chewing, consult your vet or a professional dog behaviorist.
Teething is also a common cause of chewing, particularly in puppies. Try giving Fido ice cubes to chew on. Kong toys are also a good option.
It’s important to realize that chewing is a natural behavior for Man’s Best Friend. It helps keep dogs’ jaws strong, and it also cleans their teeth. Therefore, it’s important to make sure Fido always has suitable chew toys. Keep an eye on your furry friend, to find out what he likes best. You’ll also want to change his toys out frequently, so he doesn’t get bored with them. Edible chew toys, like bully sticks, can be beneficial, but they can be dangerous if not used properly. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Taste deterrents can be very helpful for stopping problem chewing. Check your local pet store, and ask your vet for recommendations.
Training is also important. If you see Fido sniffing or licking something he shouldn’t, tell him ‘Don’t chew that’ and give him a chew toy. If he goes for it, reward him with treats and praise.
It may seem like a good idea to give Fido that old shoe you were going to throw out, but don’t do it: this will only confuse him.
Finally, when working on your pet’s etiquette, avoid negative reinforcement, such as punishment or muzzles. Focus on rewarding Fido for doing well.
Remove or protect anything that could be dangerous, such as toxic plants; small or sharp objects; shoes, purses, and other personal items; medicine; chemicals; and plastic bags, wrappers, or ties. Ask your vet for more information.
Please contact us, your Fort Collins, CO pet hospital, anytime. We’re here to help!