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Chewing Problems in Dogs

Any pet parent knows that dogs and puppies commonly face the issue of chewing. Although it's a widespread problem, you can take steps to curb this activity in your dog. In this article, our vets at Harrisburg explore the reasons behind dogs' chewing habits and guide you on how to prevent them.

Why Dogs Are Notorious for Chewing

Your dog actively engages with the world by gnawing on various objects. Chewing is a way for puppies to find relief from teething discomfort, while adult dogs keep their jaws strong and teeth clean by engaging in this behavior. However, your pup may not always choose the right items to sink their teeth into, even though it's a healthy habit. Why do they choose to make these decisions?

Your Dog is Stressed or Anxious

When their owners are away, our furry friends often experience separation anxiety, as they are social creatures at heart. Dogs often turn to chewing as a way to comfort themselves when they feel anxious or stressed.

Boredom in Dogs & Puppies

When dogs are left alone for long periods without mental stimulation, they can easily become bored. This boredom often leads them to chew on various objects they find in your house as a way to entertain themselves.

The Puppy Teething Process

Puppies experience an uncomfortable teething period similar to human babies. While teething, your puppy will likely chew frequently to alleviate pain and discomfort.

Your Dog is Hungry

Objects are often chewed on by dogs on calorie-restricted diets as they seek alternative sources of nutrition. They usually direct their chewing towards objects related to food, like plastic bowls or ones that have food-like scents.

How to Stop a Dog From Chewing

To prevent your dog from destructive chewing, first identify the cause and eliminate any of the problems listed above. Redirect your dog's chewing to more desirable objects, like chew toys, to keep them engaged and satisfied.

Give Them Plenty of Exercise

Ensuring your pup gets enough daily exercise is crucial for their happiness and well-being. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house to effectively prevent destructive chewing. Breeds such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Brittanys, and Springer Spaniels need at least two hours of exercise every day. In contrast, breeds like Pomeranians, Pugs, and Shih Tzus tend to do well with only 40 minutes of exercise per day.

Provide Entertainment When You Are Busy

Train your dog to associate being alone with positive experiences in order to help with separation anxiety or boredom during extended periods of time. Before you leave, make sure to fill a puzzle toy with food and provide a variety of fun toys that are only available while you're gone to keep them entertained.

Engaging toys for your pup create a positive association with alone time and provide a distraction from items you'd rather your dog not chew on.

Dog-Proof Your Home

By removing any other distractions, you can ensure that your pup only chews on the objects you've designated for them. Keep valuable items out of reach, store your laundry away or in a closed hamper, and make sure that books and children's toys are stored out of your dog's reach.

Take Precautions To Deter Chewing

If you happen to find your dog chewing on something they shouldn't, firmly tell them "no," take it away, and replace it with a chew toy. Remember to praise your dog when they choose to chew on the toy instead. If your dog's destructive chewing persists despite trying these approaches, you may want to consider using a dog deterrent spray on the objects you wish to protect.

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.

Do you need to get your dog's destructive chewing under control? Contact our Harrisburg vets today. We'd be happy to help.

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Colonial Park Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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