How To Stop A Dog From Chewing 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

 

 vet

A Word From Dr. Joyce Ashamalla

Stopping a dog from chewing furniture or shoes is difficult to deal with and expensive for owners.  The question of how to stop a dog from chewing isn’t is as simple as we would like it to be. In this blog, we will explore the reasons why dogs chew and some effective solutions on how to break them of this bad habit.  

Why Do Dogs Chew?

Dog lovers forget sometimes that our pets are descendants of wild animals. Many animals in the wilderness chew on things, sometimes for hours at a time. Here are some reasons why dogs chew furniture, shoes or other inappropriate objects.     

  • Exploring: Dogs have an excellent sense of scent and their mouths also play a part in understanding their world. This tactile behavior helps them comprehend the environment in which they live.
  • Teething: This is commonly found in puppies but a dog of any age that has dental discomfort can resort to chewing furniture or shoes. Dogs find that the counter pressure exerted on their teeth tends to dull the pain caused from oral discomfort.
  • Separation Anxiety/ Stress: Dogs are sensitive, emotional beings and grow very attached to their owners. Some dogs become anxious when separated from their loved ones and chew on things as way to express their anxiety. When asked about how to stop a dog from chewing, most professionals will point out that solving the anxiety issue is critical.
  • Lack of Exercise or Boredome: Most dog breeds have a tremendous about of energy. Chewing is one way for bored dogs to provide entertainment for themselves.  In addition, a lack of exercise and mental stimulation can be a prime reason that they resort to destructive chewing.
  • Allergies, Behavior Abnormality, or Medical Conditions: When the question is posed about how to stop a dog from chewing their own paws or other parts of the body, it is important to understand why they do this. The behavior could be caused by environmental allergies, known as atopy. In addition, there is a condition called psychogenic licking which motivates some dogs to chew on their paws. Lastly, dogs who chew their paws or other parts of the body might be dealing with allergies, external parasites, skin infections, autoimmune disease or other medical conditions. It is very important to contact your veterinarian if your pet is chewing on themselves.

Stopping a Dog from Chewing  

Getting your dog to stop chewing inappropriate objects can be a real challenge for pet owners. However, there are effective ways to encourage them to stop or minimize this destructive behavior.
 
  • Toys: The best way to get your dog to stop chewing your furniture and shoes is to provide alternative objects for them. Dog chew toys such as Kong and other suitable products are a great way to divert attention away from furniture and shoes.  A cookie or treat can be placed in the Kong or chew toy to further motivate the animal. Peanut butter in the dog chew toy is also a real crowd pleaser. Dog chews made from polymerized rubber are very durable and will last a long time.  Freezing chew toys with the peanut butter or treat inside it also goes a long way in the satisfaction department.  Giving dogs chew toys made from animal rawhide is a controversial topic. Read more about rawhide chewing products here
  • Chew Sprays & Liquid Deterrents: Many pet owners have had success with spraying products such as Bitter Yuck or Bitter Apple (also known as no chew spray) on furniture and other items. Dogs find the smell and taste of these products very unappealing and will tend to stay away once they taste objects that are sprayed with them Some no chew sprays don’t work for certain dogs, so some trial and error may be needed.
  • Training & Classical Conditioning: When it comes to changing your dog’s behavior, nothing is more effective than some good old fashioned dog discipline training. A great technique is classical conditioning. This method of dog discipline training takes time and patience. Experts state that dog owners should get some advice from a professional before trying to train a dog on their own. A trainer or behaviorist is strongly recommended when an animal has a bad chewing problem or is not responding to dog discipline training methods at home. These people can help you better understand why dogs chew and find solutions tailored to your situation. 
 
The question of how to stop a dog from chewing has no simple solution. We love our dogs, but cannot allow them to damage our homes or property.  Understanding why dogs chew is the first step in finding an answer.  When trying to help a dog stop chewing on their own paws, it is important to know the reason causing this behavior. If you see your pet doing this or chewing on other body parts, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. To avoid other kinds destructive chewing, dog chew toys or no chew sprays can be effective. Breaking this habit may take time, but the canine in your life is well worth it.
 
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