Inappropriate chewing is a fairly common problem in young dogs and stems from the fact that puppies use their mouths as a means of exploring the world around them. Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies but becomes undesirable behavior when it is directed towards inappropriate objects such as your shoes, furniture, or even your hands and feet. If inappropriate chewing is not corrected then it can lead to wide scale destruction of personal property, medical problems and erosion of the human-animal bond.
Because chewing is good for your dog’s mental and physical health, it’s important that you provide them with plenty of safe and appropriate things to chew on. Fail to do so and they’ll come up with their own chew “toys,” which often wind up being your most expensive pair of shoes, the legs of your dining room chairs, the nearest electric cord, or even your arm! None of which are desirable, and several of which are downright unsafe!
Size Matters: An important warning about choosing the correct size toys for your dogs, including when you have multiple dogs of different sizes. This photo (inset) is an X-ray of a dog’s abdomen. The three snowman-shaped objects you see in the middle of the image are Kongs within the dog’s stomach! They wound up there, not because the dog’s owner intentionally gave their dog the wrong sized Kongs, but rather because their kiddo didn't supervise closely enough while this dog’s puppies were playing with their food-stuffed Kongs! Mom perhaps decided that her pups were having too much fun and wanted in on the action. Or, maybe it was as it so often is, the kids just left their mess laying around for mom to clean up … and clean up this mom did! She had to be taken to surgery to have these three Kong toys removed from her stomach. She’s doing well and lesson learned for everyone.
All dogs should be familiar with the “drop it” command, it can literally save a dog’s life by telling him to drop something before he/she ingests it. I have used it several times and have spared my dogs from eating various potentially dangerous objects. Many obedience training instructors teach this command in their classes. You can try to teach it yourself by tossing a toy to your dog. Your dog picks it up and you then say “drop it” while showing your dog a treat. The dog will immediately drop the toy and you will give the treat. Repeat several times. At some point do not give the treat any longer but rather pat him on the head praising him. Then try this command next time your dog is about to chew your favorite furniture. He should promptly stop chewing and come towards your direction. Hand him his favorite toy and praise him lavishly for taking it.
Use bad-tasting repellants and sprays. You can keep puppies and adult dogs away from some items by using impersonal correction, preferably where the “environment” does the correcting. For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a countertop, to stop counter surfers. This type of training operates on the same principle as a child touching a hot stove – if something is particularly unpleasant, most likely the child or the dog will make the decision not to repeat that behavior.
Available everywhere and relatively inexpensive, rawhides can be a good chew option for some dogs. Plenty of dogs chew rawhides without incident. However, some dogs end up with bits of rawhide lodged in their “windpipe” (trachea), causing choking; or big pieces in their stomach, causing a digestive obstruction. If your dog actually chews the rawhide, rather than biting off and gulping large chunks, they’ll likely be OK — they may even get some teeth-cleaning benefits. This is especially true if you pick up a VOHC-approved “dental rawhide.”
The desire to investigate interesting objects and the discomfort of teething motivate puppies to chew. Much like human infants, puppies go through a stage when they lose their baby teeth and experience pain as their adult teeth come in. This intensified chewing phase usually ends by six months of age. Some recommend giving puppies ice cubes, special dog toys that can be frozen or frozen wet washcloths to chew, which might help numb teething pain. Although puppies do need to chew on things, gentle guidance can teach your puppy to restrict chewing to appropriate objects, like his own toys.
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Some conditions cannot be prevented but some can. Dogs should be on monthly flea and tick preventative medication. This will prevent flea allergy reactions and irritated skin. It is important to prevent your dog from being exposed to toxic chemicals. If you spray your lawn with pesticides, your dog should not be allowed to walk on the grass until the chemical is dry. The same thing goes for recently cleaned floors or carpets. Dogs should be provided toys, attention and daily exercise. Additional activities may help prevent a dog from feeling bored or anxious.
Confine the chewing dog in his crate whenever you are unable to supervise his activity. Leave him with a couple of acceptable chewies. ACCEPTABLE CHEWIES are toys that are not easily consumed, ones that may change their form as the dog gnaws at them. Nylabones, beef marrow bones, large rawhide knots all become more interesting to the dog as he works on them; the chewing action creates all sorts of lumps and depressions that keep most canines enraptured for hours. KongTM toys can be stuffed with a variety of goodies including some of the dog’s breakfast, challenging him to work for his meal. Old shoes, towels, scrap wood, or phonebooks are not acceptable chew toys. Dogs cannot differentiate between old shoes and new shoes, or scrap wood from kitchen cabinetry. Don’t confuse your dog by giving him anything that may be mistaken for a forbidden object.
If your dog truly can’t get enough peanut butter, pick up some peanut butter dog treats to reward him without the mess usually accompanied by the creamy stuff. Some dogs get a kick out of treat dispensing toys others get the most joy out of gnawing on their favorite rawhide bones. Rawhide bones and antlers for dogs don’t just keep your dog entertained, they also help clean their teeth and promote gum health. Whether your special pooch prefers to earn an irresistible training treat or munch on some organic dog treats, reward your dog today with his favorite nutritious and flavorful dog treats.
THE ANXIOUS DOG is one who suffers from feelings of social isolation. Dogs are pack animals and many do not take it very well when they are left on their own to “defend their territory.” There is safety in numbers for pack oriented animals, and what the anxious dog needs is a secure and comfortable place to stay when he is left behind. Once again, a kennel crate may be the tool of choice. Introduce the dog to the crate in a positive manner. Never use the crate for punishment. This is your dog’s den — he should be happy and secure when he’s inside. As with the lonely dog, there should be no long, emotional goodbyes. However, before you leave his chew toy with him in his crate, rub the toy between your palms. This action imparts your scent to the toy and tends to focus the dog on this object rather than something else.
Dogs, especially puppies, explore the world with their mouth. She likes to chew because it calms her. But it destroys your stuff. Even worse -- she might eat something like a sock that could block her intestines. Break this habit now. Give her chew toys, and take away things she shouldn't gnaw on. If you catch her chewing something she shouldn’t, say “no,” replace the object with an approved toy, and praise her once she's chewing it.
Many dog owners swear by these chews, which can be stuffed into certain interactive toys and provide hours of chewing distraction (though some dogs will polish one off in mere minutes!). Bully sticks may be OK chew treats for your dog, it just depends on how many you give, your dog’s chews-onality, and how sterile the sticks are. Bully sticks contain a lot of calories, so don’t give too many; they can also harbor some pretty nasty bacteria, which is covered in this article in the Canadian Veterinary Journal. And they have been known to cause tooth fractures and digestive upset. (Lastly, in case you didn’t know, bully sticks are just processed bull penises … so you might not want to let your dog chew them on your bed.)
When you can’t supervise your dog, you must find a way to prevent him from chewing on inappropriate things in your absence. For example, if you work during the day, you can leave your dog at home in a confinement area for up to six hours. Use a crate or put your dog in a small room with the door or a baby gate closed. Be sure to remove all things that your dog shouldn’t chew from his confinement area, and give him a variety of appropriate toys and chew things to enjoy instead. Keep in mind that if you confine your dog, you’ll need to give him plenty of exercise and quality time with you when he’s not confined.
My dog chews and licks at her paws constantly. They are turning red in between each of her paws. She’s been shaking her head continuously even after we recently took her to the vet and got treated for an “ear infection”. She goes through phases where she sneezes nonstop. I dont know what’s wrong and I looked it up her symptoms and it appears it may be a problem due to foxtails getting lodged into her body. I don’t know what to do, surgery is going to be expensive but I hate seeing her suffer.
Some puppies and juvenile dogs like to chew dirty underwear. This problem is most easily resolved by always putting dirty underwear in a closed hamper. Likewise, some puppies and dogs like to raid the garbage and chew up discarded sanitary napkins and tampons. This can be very dangerous. If a dog eats a sanitary item, it can expand while moving through his digestive system. Discard napkins and tampons in a container that’s inaccessible to your dog. Most young dogs grow out of these behaviors as they mature.
Your dog may have been exposed to a certain chemical, pesticide, soap or seasonal pollen, which is causing his paws to be irritated. Cleaning supplies used on the floor or carpets may be too harsh on a dog’s paws. If your yard or your neighbor’s yard was recently treated with pesticides, it may be the reason his paws are bothering him. New shampoos or soaps may be causing an allergic reaction to the products. Grass pollen can cause great discomfort if your dog is allergic to it.
This psychological approach will tell your dog what not to chew on while offering alternate options. It works because it is a positive way to handle the issue, and dogs seem to learn better this way. Next time your dog goes for his favorite table leg, catch him in the act and startle him by saying “Aaah-aahh!” clapping your hands. Immediately, right after, toss him a chew toy. Once he chews it tell him “Good boy” in a praising matter.
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Sometimes the answer to, “Why do dogs chew their feet?” is even beneficial. When dogs instinctively lick their wounds (whether on the foot or elsewhere), antibacterial enzymes in their saliva help ward off infection, according to an article on Psychology Today’s website. Saliva also aids in cleaning abrasions and cuts, and the licking action promotes healing by stimulating cells that close the wound.
Mouthing and chewing in puppies is a completely normal, albeit annoying, thing. They begin doing this from an early age to explore their environment and learn bite inhibition through the feedback of their littermates. Mouthing is also part of normal play behavior for puppies and dogs. When you reach towards your puppy to pet him, that’s very exciting for him. He responds out of excitement by mouthing (chewing) your hand.
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