If you have a new puppy, you most likely have a home that reflects their presence. Ripped cushions, frayed shoes, teeth marks here and there can be irksome and expensive to mend. But chewing is natural behaviour for your furry friend. They use their mouths to explore and investigate the world around them. When it is out of control and your home resembles a war zone, you know there are deeper issues. Compulsive chewing is the result of a bored, stressed, anxious or lonely dog.
If your pooch is left alone for long hours, they have to entertain themselves with objects that catch their interest. Before you figure out ways to pacify them, try to find out the reason behind their behaviour. Some dogs chew out of boredom. Others from anxiousness or loneliness. A few chew just for fun. Perhaps they like the taste of the object or are simply playing with them. If the chewing is out of control, there are a few ways to help them calm down:
The Lone Ranger
If your little one has little to do, chewing may be a habit to entertain himself. An stimulating environment can be supremely boring to a smart pooch. Make sure your pup is taken for a daily walk. Create a little play area that he can amuse himself with. A kennel crate is a good idea, or perhaps the yard. Until your pup is of a respectable age, try to supervise his activity. Give them chew toys to gnaw at. That way they may not busy themselves on your cabinets or furniture. Make sure the objects don’t resemble the forbidden items. Your pooch will see no difference between old shoes and new ones.
Leave the crate door open from time to time once they are a little older. If you still come home to a war zone, you will know that your pup is suffering from separation anxiety.
The Young and Anxious
Social isolation is not something that your pooch was born to deal with. Dogs are pack animals who love company. They don’t take very well to being alone for too long. Introduce them to the crate gently, not as a punishment. They should feel safe and secure inside. Drop in their favourite chew toys to keep him busy. Try replacing the chew toys with a meat-scented toy bone and play “fetch.” The chances are that they will turn their attention on the bone for chewing purposes rather than your shoes or cushions.
Once they get comfortable with the crate, try confining them with the door open for longer periods of time, but no longer than 20 minutes. Increase the length of time very slowly. If you come back to bloody paws or your dog trying to escape or barking the place down, you may want to consult a professional for a behaviour modification program and suitable medication.
Normal and Problem Chewing
Before you turn anxious about an anxious pet, it helps to remember that chewing is normal for all dogs of all breeds and ages. Chewing strengthens their jaw muscles and keeps their teeth clean. Chewing helps little pups dispel pain from teething just like it does for a human baby. The discomfort usually lasts for about six months, but the chewing continues into adulthood.
Problem chewing comes from behavioural discrepancies. It could be from stress, separation anxiety, hunger, fear or attention seeking. If it gets out of hand, give us a call.
Mississauga Veterinarians @ Eglinton Hwy 10 Veterinary Clinic
Dr. Davinder Jassal is a licensed veterinarian in our full-service Mississauga Veterinary Clinic, treating all types of pets and animals. Your pet’s health is as important to us as it is to you. We go to every length to provide the best possible care. We provide highly experienced emergency care, vaccinations, animal surgeries (including spay and neuter), pet dental, and more. Call us today for any concerns.