Destructive chewing is a common problem among dogs that can cause serious damage to your furniture, shoes, and other household items. If your dog is constantly chewing on things, it shouldn’t, it’s important to understand why they are doing so. In this article, we’ll explore 10 reasons for destructive chewing and what you can do to address the behaviour.
1. Boredom and Lack of Exercise
Dogs that are bored or have too much energy to burn are more likely to engage in destructive chewing. This is because chewing can provide them with stimulating activity and an outlet for their excess energy. To prevent this behaviour, ensure your dog gets enough physical and mental exercise. Take them for regular walks, play fetch or other games with them, and provide them with interactive toys and puzzles.
2. Separation Anxiety
Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety may resort to destructive chewing as a coping mechanism when left alone. They may chew on objects that have your scent on them, such as shoes or clothing, to feel closer to you.
To address this behaviour, you can try desensitizing your dog to your departure by gradually increasing the amount of time you are away from them. You can also provide them with a special toy or treat that they only receive when you leave.
Puppies that are teething may chew on objects to relieve the discomfort in their gums. This natural behaviour should subside once their adult teeth come in. Provide plenty of chew toys designed for teething puppies to prevent your puppy from damaging your belongings.
If your dog is hungry, it may resort to destructive chewing in search of food. Make sure your dog is being fed on a regular schedule and is getting enough food to meet their nutritional needs. You can also provide them with puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys to keep them occupied and mentally stimulated.
5. Lack of Training
Dogs that have not been properly trained may not understand what is appropriate to chew on and what is not. It’s important to train your dog from a young age on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Provide them with plenty of appropriate chew toys and redirect them to those toys if they start chewing on something they shouldn’t.
6. Dental Problems
If your dog has dental problems such as gum disease or tooth pain, they may resort to destructive chewing as a way to alleviate their discomfort. If you suspect your dog has dental problems, take them to the vet for a check-up.
7. Fear and Anxiety
Dogs that are anxious or fearful may resort to destructive chewing as a way to cope with their emotions. If your dog is showing signs of fear or anxiety, such as shaking or panting, consult with a veterinarian or a certified dog behaviourist for guidance.
8. Lack of Supervision
If your dog is left unsupervised for long periods of time, they may engage in destructive chewing out of boredom or frustration. Make sure to supervise your dog when they are left alone, and provide them with appropriate chew toys and other stimulating activities.
9. A Need for Attention
Dogs that are not getting enough attention from their owners may resort to destructive chewing as a way to get noticed. Make sure to spend quality time with your dog each day, and provide them with plenty of positive reinforcement for good behaviour.
10. Medical Issues
In rare cases, destructive chewing may be a symptom of an underlying medical issue such as a nutrient deficiency, thyroid disorder, or gastrointestinal problem. If you have ruled out all other possible causes of destructive chewing, consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.
11. Genetic Predisposition
Some dog breeds, such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers, are known for their love of chewing. This is because these breeds were originally bred for hunting and retrieving games, which involved using their mouths to carry and retrieve items. If you have one of these breeds, you may need to provide them with extra chew toys and engage them in plenty of physical activity to prevent destructive chewing.
12. Environmental Factors
Your dog’s environment can also play a role in their chewing behaviour. For example, if you have recently moved to a new home or changed your daily routine, your dog may become anxious and resort to destructive chewing as a way to cope with the changes.
Similarly, if you have introduced a new pet into your household, your dog may feel threatened and anxious, leading to destructive chewing. In some cases, dogs also tend to go outside the house out of frustration. Make sure to have a defined perimeter by installing dog fencing systems which you can easily buy from the Petstop home page.
13. Age-Related Changes
As dogs age, they may experience changes in their behaviour, including increased destructive chewing. This may be due to cognitive decline or physical changes such as dental problems or arthritis, which can make chewing more difficult and painful. If you have an older dog engaging in destructive chewing, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.
To prevent destructive chewing in your dog, there are several strategies you can try:
- Provide your dog with plenty of appropriate chew toys, such as bones, rope toys, and puzzle feeders.
- Supervise your dog when they are left alone, and confine them to a crate or a safe room if necessary.
- Train your dog to understand what is appropriate to chew on and what is not. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement for good behaviour.
- Provide your dog with plenty of physical and mental exercise, including regular walks, playtime, and training sessions.
- Consult with a veterinarian or a certified dog behaviourist if your dog’s chewing behaviour is causing significant damage or is accompanied by other behavioural issues.
Destructive chewing is a common problem among dogs that can cause serious damage to your belongings. By understanding why your dog may be engaging in this behaviour, you can take steps to address it and prevent it from happening in the future. In addition to the 10 reasons listed above, there are other factors that may contribute to destructive chewing in dogs.