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Pet Bucket Blog

Why dogs love chewing your prized possessions

 by yunus on 06 Jul 2016 |
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A dog may be man’s best friend, but it doesn’t always feel that way when you come home to find he’s destroyed your favorite pair of shoes or gnawed the arm of the sofa. There are several explanations for Fido’s fixation on chewing, however, ranging from separation anxiety to boredom, and identifying the underlying cause can help lead to a solution.
Dogs are most likely to chew your prized possessions as puppies, when they lose their baby teeth and turn to teething to alleviate pain as their adult teeth grow in. The good news for owners of gnaw-happy puppies is that most will outgrow this phase. Chewing comes naturally to dogs, however, and some will continue chomping away at your Italian loafers well into adulthood. Often, unwanted chewing is the product of pent-up energy that your pet needs to expel. You can prevent this boredom-relate behavior by making sure you give your pet plenty of exercise, playtime and mental stimulation. If, however, you’re sure your dog is getting enough exercise, you should pay attention to when he’s munching away at your personal possessions to determine the underlying cause. If Fido’s chewing mostly takes place while you’re away from home, it may be a sign of separation anxiety. If, on the other hand, his chewing starts suddenly, it could be a symptom of nutritional deficiencies or other gastrointestinal problems and you should seek veterinary help. Other causes could be hunger, attention-seeking or even fear.
If your puppy is chewing up the household, remember this is a phase that will likely pass and in the meantime, puppy-proof your home by moving objects you don’t want chewed out of reach. You should also take this time to establish yourself as the alpha in the relationship so you can better control unwanted behaviors as your dog grows. Remember, even after his puppy years, your dog’s natural instinct is to chew, so establishing a pack order will help lay boundaries for what is and isn’t okay to eat. If your adult dog has made a habit of snacking on your favorite slippers, focus on redirecting him to his own toys. These should be things like a Kong filled with food or rawhide bone, which won’t easily be confused with your own socks and shoes. Correct bad behavior immediately — by giving your dog a treat in return for dropping your work file, for example — because even a few minutes after the fact, he won’t remember what he did. You can also discourage chewing by “claiming” the object your dog is gnawing, using body language and assertion to show your dog that the object belongs to you. If all else fails, invest in bad-tasting sprays to deter chowing. With some effort and consistency, you should see your dog’s chewing behaviors redirected to his own toys. If you’re struggling, however, you can consider seeking professional help to rewire Fido’s fixation on mastication.


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