Article contributed by freelance writer and volunteer dog walker Lucy Wyndham
The American Veterinary Medical Association has revealed that dogs truly are a man's best friend
, still holding on to the top spot
for favorite household pets
with over 43 million homes owning at least one. However, one of the most common problems that many owners experience with their canine companion is chewing, resulting in many a destroyed shoe or a house full of gnawed furniture.
This frustrating but typical problem can be handled with a little patience, understanding and trialling of different options. Recognizing that the issue goes beyond being merely a source of entertainment and getting to the source of your pet´s discomfort and anxiety
will help prevent further destruction, resulting in a happier pooch.
Identifying the problem
Dogs don't chew merely to be destructive but they do it because they are in need of an outlet due to boredom or stress. Their natural go-to in order to relieve these feelings may well involve chewing on whatever piece of furniture is
within close range.
It is common to find that your dog only chews when left unattended, for example once you have gone to work or out to the shops. This could be due to separation anxiety, in which case, there may be other signs such as whining, barking, pacing, restlessness and urination. Hunger could be another issue if your dog is on a calorie restricted diet since their chewing may come as a result of trying to find additional sources of nutrition. If your dog is still a puppy, chewing is quite natural as they are curious to discover the world around them whilst also dealing with the pain of teething.
Methods to stop a dog from chewing
Once the issue for the chewing has been identified and all aspects considered, it is possible to trial some methods that may help reduce and eventually stop the behavioural problem of chewing.
If the issue is related to teething, it might be worth trying to give your puppy ice cubes or a cold wet cloth to chew on that will help to numb the pain around their mouth.
There are also a variety of toys designed specifically for dogs to chew on. In order to keep these chew toys looking new and interesting, make sure they are enticing and rotate them.
In the event that the chewing simply comes down to the fact that they are bored, ensure that they are getting enough exercise and attention from you. When taking your dog out for a walk, keep them busy by throwing a ball for them to fetch or playing frisbee at the park with them. This will keep them running around whilst also getting plenty of interaction with you.
The benefit of distracting your dog from chomping on the arm of the sofa with the likes of chew toy will not only help protect your home, but will also fight boredom, keep their teeth clean and freshen their breath. Ultimately, keeping your dog happy will result in an overall happier home