Predominantly an issue with younger dogs, chewing can become quite the unwanted action, considering the scope of property damage that may occur as a result. To consider the potential risks involved with chewing, let’s take a closer look at the habit.
Curiosity: Puppies tend to chew more than older dogs for many reasons, including environment discovery and easing teething pains. Just like human infants, puppies will test objects with their mouths to learn about surrounding environments and objects. This can be incredibly destructive if shoes or other items small enough to fit inside mouths are left out unsupervised.
Between 3 to 6 weeks of age, puppies grow what are known as deciduous teeth. Later, between months 4 and 6, permanent teeth begin protruding. Because growing new teeth can be rather unpleasant, puppies will chew frequently to reduce the discomfort.
The best way to go about curbing chewing issues in puppies is to provide them with appropriate toys on which they may chew. Try giving them a number of options, as they will likely choose a favorite toy.
Boredom/Anxiety: This is a tough one for pet owners who work long days outside of the home, as dogs are incredibly social creatures and being left alone can cause them to feel boredom and anxiety. As an outlet, dogs will sometimes chew any and all surrounding items in attempt to relieve stress and energy levels. Even if left in empty rooms, they can destroy moldings, walls and doors. Owners with herding or sporting breeds should be especially careful because their pets require much more exercise.
If you can’t afford to take your dog to a pet-friendly daycare or to hire a trusted dog-walker, try spending extra time exercising with them before leaving them alone for extended periods of time. Consider waking up early to take them for a walk, play fetch or to socialize at a local dog park.
Although loneliness is more difficult to treat than boredom, there are a number of ways to help dogs that are suffering from separation anxiety. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance recommends leaving for short periods of time and then gradually increasing the amount of time you spend away. This method will slowly reduce your pup’s separation anxiety. However, it’s important to make the event of departure or arrival as uneventful as possible. This ensures that either event is a simple, non-rewarding activity.
If inappropriate chewing goes uncorrected, wide-scale and continued property destruction may ensue. There are few things that will ruin a day faster than returning home to a demolished living room. If the problem persists, contact your veterinarian to see if they have any advice. If you have a pet insurance plan, costs for those treatments might even be covered.