Why do dogs chew on things they shouldn’t? Understanding the reasons behind this common behavior
Dogs are known for their chewing habits. It’s not uncommon to see dogs chewing on things that aren’t food. However, when your dog starts swallowing things instead of just chewing, there may be a greater problem at hand. In some cases, dogs chew as a coping behavior when they suffer from psychological problems, such as anxiety. Likewise, if your dog is affected by certain parasites or nutritional deficiencies, they may be compelled to chew all sorts of things.
One of the most common reasons for dogs to start ingesting odd items is that they’ve got something in their system they don’t like, and they’re trying to purge it out. They usually use grass for this and tend to throw up not long after. Dogs are also known for picking up bits of odd food that they shouldn’t be eating. However, if the dog starts chewing on items they shouldn’t be, it can become a frustrating and potentially lethal problem.
A dog’s chewing behavior can sometimes signal that there’s a problem. If a canine is chewing on something they shouldn’t, like non-digestible items or potentially toxic or harmful substances, it can lead to serious health issues. So, it’s important for dog owners to understand why their dogs chew on things they shouldn’t and how to prevent it.
Dogs have a natural instinct to chew, and it’s a behavior that starts when they are puppies. Puppies chew on things to help their teeth come in and to explore their environment. As they grow older, chewing helps to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Chewing also helps to relieve stress and anxiety in dogs, which is why you might notice your dog chewing more when they are feeling anxious or bored.
It’s important to note that not all dogs chew in the same way. Some dogs are more destructive chewers than others, and some dogs may only chew on specific items, such as shoes or furniture. If your dog is a destructive chewer, it’s important to provide them with appropriate chew toys and to train them to chew on those toys instead of your belongings.
Chewing is also a way for dogs to explore their world. They use their mouths to investigate objects and to learn about their surroundings. This is why dogs will often chew on things that they shouldn’t, such as electrical cords or plastic bags. It’s important to keep these items out of reach of your dog to prevent them from accidentally ingesting something harmful.
Boredom or Anxiety
Dogs are social creatures that require attention and stimulation. When they are left alone for extended periods, they can become bored and anxious, leading to destructive chewing behavior. Chewing provides dogs with an outlet for their pent-up energy and can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
If you suspect that your dog is chewing out of boredom, try increasing their exercise and playtime. Take them for daily walks or runs, play fetch, and provide them with interactive toys that can keep them entertained while you’re away. Puzzle toys, such as Kongs, are a great option, as they can be filled with treats and provide mental stimulation for your dog.
If your dog is chewing due to anxiety, it’s important to identify the root cause of their stress. Separation anxiety is a common issue among dogs, and it can cause them to engage in destructive behavior when left alone. Consider working with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to address your dog’s anxiety and develop a plan to help them feel more secure and relaxed.
Teething or Dental Issues
Dogs, especially puppies, tend to chew on things when they are teething. Teething is a natural process that occurs when puppies are around three to six months old. During this time, their baby teeth fall out, and adult teeth start to come in. As a result, puppies may experience discomfort in their gums, which can cause them to chew on things to relieve the pain.
If your puppy is teething, you can provide them with chew toys to help relieve their pain. Chew toys made of rubber or nylon are ideal because they are durable and safe for your puppy to chew on. You can also freeze the toys to provide additional relief to their sore gums.
In some cases, dogs may chew on things because they have dental issues. Dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, and broken teeth can cause pain and discomfort in dogs. As a result, they may chew on things to relieve the pain. If you suspect that your dog has dental issues, you should take them to the vet for a checkup. The vet can examine your dog’s teeth and gums and recommend appropriate treatment.
Lack of Training or Discipline
One of the main reasons why dogs chew on things they shouldn’t is due to a lack of training or discipline. Dogs, especially puppies, explore the world with their mouths, and it is essential to teach them what is appropriate to chew on and what is not. Without proper training, dogs may not understand the difference between a toy and a shoe, for example.
Another reason why dogs may chew on things they shouldn’t is due to a lack of discipline. Dogs are pack animals, and they need a leader to follow. Without a clear leader, dogs may become anxious or bored, leading them to destructive behavior such as chewing on furniture or shoes.
To prevent destructive chewing caused by a lack of training or discipline, it is essential to establish rules and boundaries for your dog. This can include crate training, providing appropriate chew toys, and teaching your dog basic commands such as “leave it” and “drop it.” Consistency is key when it comes to training and discipline, so make sure everyone in the household is on the same page.
Prevention and Solutions
Preventing your dog from chewing on things they shouldn’t is key to avoiding destructive behavior. Here are some prevention and solution tips:
- Provide appropriate chew toys: Give your dog chew toys that are specifically designed for their size and chewing habits. This will help redirect their chewing behavior away from inappropriate items.
- Supervise your dog: Keep an eye on your dog when they are in areas where they may be tempted to chew on inappropriate things. This will allow you to redirect their behavior before they cause damage.
- Use deterrents: There are several sprays and other products on the market that can be used to deter dogs from chewing on inappropriate items. These products are safe and effective, but be sure to read the labels carefully before using them.
- Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation: Dogs that are bored or under-stimulated are more likely to engage in destructive chewing behavior. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.
- Get professional help: If your dog’s chewing behavior is severe or persistent, it may be time to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can help identify the root cause of the behavior and provide you with solutions to address it.
Remember, prevention is key when it comes to stopping your dog from chewing on things they shouldn’t. By providing appropriate chew toys, supervising your dog, using deterrents, providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can help your dog develop healthy chewing habits.