Chewing is an annoying but natural part of a puppy’s development. It is very similar to teething in babies and the stages of chewing are necessary to help with teething problems. Expecting a puppy not to bite is unreasonable, but it can be taught to chew on the right thing, instead of on your shoes and furniture. Adult dogs that chew often are bored or suffering from separation anxiety disorder. In general, adult chewing dogs can be taught to control their behavior or chew appropriately with relative ease. Some will require the professional assistance of a dog trainer or behavior specialist.
Puppies chew when they are teething. This usually occurs sometime before the six-month stage, depending on the specific breed of dog. Some of the larger breeds may continue to chew past the six month stage and some breeds are only known for chewing behaviors. Regardless of the breed, up to six months will be problematic for most puppies. There are several steps owners can take to minimize the damage that can occur from chewing behaviors:
· Puppy-proof your home. This means removing all hanging cords, electrical cords, curtain pulls, and other hanging objects. Hanging plants that touch the ground can also be tempting to chew on and can also be poisonous.
· Keep chewable items in drawers or out of reach of puppies. For example, toys, shoes, remote controls, books, backpacks and briefcases, phones, and even laptops should be stored or kept on tables or desks out of reach of puppies.
· Provide a wide variety of chew toys while you are gone. This means different shapes and sizes. Thick pieces of cotton rope with knots at the ends are ideal for chewing. Heavy rubber balls or Nylabone chew toys are safe and virtually indestructible.
Freezing dog teething rings and leaving them in the crate or dog area of the house provides gum relief as well as entertainment.
If you notice that the puppy chews something that is not correct, do not punish him. Just say “No” and substitute what he wants you to chew. Praise them when they are chewing on the right things. Be sure to say something like “Good boy/girl for chewing on your ball (rope, toy, stick).” This helps the puppy learn the word for what he is chewing on. Later you can say “Get the ball/stick/rope” and the puppy will know what you mean.
toys to avoid
Some toys, even those sold in pet stores, should never be used with a puppy. Toys that are flimsy or have lots of chewable parts are choking hazards. Toys that have long strings or cords that could wrap around a puppy’s neck are potentially deadly toys.
Stuffed animals are appropriate for some puppies and older dogs, but for younger puppies who chew constantly, the stuffed toy will quickly shred. This leaves pieces of fabric and padding that can be swallowed and cause gastrointestinal blockages and possible choking problems.
Natural bones, even raw bones, are generally not recommended for puppies. They are usually too hard for puppy teeth and lead to chipping and breaking of existing teeth. Also, puppies are more likely to try to swallow the splinters and this can lead to bone splinters getting lodged in their gums or throat. If you want to allow your pup to chew bones, make sure they are raw beef bones from a joint. Never allow your dog to eat pork bones and never allow raw or cooked poultry bones of any kind. Supervise the puppy while it chews on the bone and remove it at any sign of chipping or when the bone becomes small enough that the puppy tries to swallow it.
The chewing phase in puppies, like the teething phase in children, will pass. Taking a few precautions with your household items, providing plenty of alternative chew toys, and teaching your pup what to chew on stage will go over just fine now or in the future.