Posted Jul 14, 2017 in Dog Questions
Chewing is something that all puppies (and adult dogs) do. While it is normal for younger dogs to attempt to chew on many items, it can become destructive. No one likes it when our dogs chew up our favorite shoe or make a hole it our new couch. It is frustrating, but you can also correct some of these behaviors by identifying why your dog does this. Here are some of the reasons why your dog may be chewing on your things. Hopefully you can better understand your dog’s action and help them in the future.
Sometimes dogs see a new item and aren’t quite sure what to do with it. One way they figure out what something is or try to understand it is by chewing. They can better grasp if this item is something they can eat or use for themselves. If your dog is chewing on a pillow or table, they may have smelled something interesting to them. They use chewing as a way to answer the question, “Can I eat or play with this?”
When your dog is a young puppy, chewing is a very common and can have many causes. During the first 2-6 months, your pup’s teeth are growing in and then falling out. When this process is occurring, they are chewing on things to soothe the pain and tenderness. In this case, it is purely instinct and helpful, so you can allow them to chew. Give them safe toys or specific teething items to chew on during this time. During the 6-12 month phase, your puppy may start to chew out of instinct to hunt. They feel as though they need to protect you or their family. Try to redirect their chewing, since they need to learn how to control this. If you don’t correct this behavior by giving them a different outlet, they may become destructive long term.
Dogs can also be chewing as form of exercise, which in turn is a way of meeting their physical health needs. Your dog may be not getting enough physical exercise, such as walks or playtime, so they use chewing as a way to do this. Make sure you are providing your dog the intense work out time they need to be healthy.
Another reason your dog may chew is to clean. Chewing can keep our dog’s gums and teeth clean, which is why there are so many toys that are used to clean the teeth and also make the teeth strong. On top of this, make sure you are taking the time to actually brush your dog’s teeth too. The toys are great, but not enough to keep them in the best shape.
There are many mental and emotional issues that can be linked in chewing. If your dog has separation anxiety or anxiety about a situation, they may chew to relieve the tension and feel at ease. If your dog is constantly carrying an item in their mouth, this is probably related to anxiety. They keep this toy near them so they can start chewing when they feel stressed. If your dog continues this for too long, they can develop an obsessive chewing disorder. Make sure you are taking note of the chewing and communicating this to your vet. Similar to lack of exercise, your dog may just be bored and chews as entertainment. To stop this, give them challenging toys and items to play with that aren’t destructive.
On top of all these reasons, sometimes dogs are chewing because they are hungry. There are good and bad reasons your dog could be chewing on things, but just always check in with your vet to let them know. Good luck!
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