Key tips to stop dogs from destructive chewing

by | Dog Care |

Does your dog chew on things they shouldn’t? Dogs chewing on inappropriate objects, such as furniture, is a very common issue for pet owners. We spoke with Dr. Dave Wilson, Senior Director of Shelter Health and Wellness, to weigh in on this popular canine concern.

Reasons Dogs Chew

Wilson says your dog chews on objects in order to deal with either physical pain or behavioural issues.

Imagine you have a serious toothache; it would be very distracting, right? You’d probably go see your dentist or use over-the-counter medications/drugs to numb the pain. Wilson says because dogs can’t take themselves to the dentist, they will look for other ways to relieve their pain, which may be caused by dental issues, jaw malformations or arthritis.

Without a proper chew toy to help to relieve their pain, dogs tend to make a beeline straight to furniture or other objects.

“Chewing on furniture is an outlet for the pain, like babies using teething rings,” Wilson says.

In this case, he says the best thing you can do for your pet is to visit to your veterinarian and order a physical exam for your pooch.

Behavioural Issues

If a veterinarian assesses your dog and there are no medical or physical issues, Wilson says it’s time to examine what behavioural issues may be causing their constant chewing.

Dogs experience fear, boredom and anxiety just like humans do. Whether it’s an unexpected visit from the postman, a thunderstorm or a playful pup looking for something to occupy their day, dogs will look for something to relieve a buildup of tension.

“If furniture is handy, it’s often what will bear the brunt of their fear, anxiety or boredom,” says Wilson.

How to Stop the Chewing

Wilson recommends observing your pet’s routines to identify behavioural patterns associated with their chewing. He suggests implementing toys and activities with longevity and staying power in order to keep your pet occupied. This will help to relieve their tension on toys, rather than on your furniture.

One recommendation Wilson has, is to stuff a hard rubber toy with peanut butter, freeze it overnight, and then give it to your pet when you leave for the day.

“It has a double benefit: the dog is occupied doing something, while they’re working on getting the treat, but then afterwards they’ve worked out their physical energy and their anxious tension too,” he says.

Wilson also suggests trying toys that can be controlled remotely via an app on your smart phone or toys on timers to provide your dog with stimulus throughout the day.

Pet cams are another way to interact with your pet when you can’t be at home, through two-way interaction programs. Wilson says this way your recognizable voice can be a soothing agent for an anxious pup when a thunderstorm hits or an unexpected visitor knocks on the door.

Wilson says distractions are great, including: treat dispensers, the radio, white noise machines, or downloadable music for pets that match their heartbeat, such as classical music for dogs, or reggae for cats!

There are numerous toys and devices on the market for you to try for your pooch, “There isn’t one solution that will solve all of your chewing problems, but there’s lots of little things you can do that will have a positive effect,” says Wilson.

Looking for more great tips to help manage your pet’s health and behavioural wellness? We’ve got a great resource to help you with all of those needs.

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Speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves

Keep up the good work speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves. A society who cares for their animals is a better society.  Thanks for your good work!