Do you have a dog that just won't stop chewing? Are your belongings slowly disappearing in the face of your dog's destructive behavior? Destructive chewing can be caused by a variety of issues. You can typically determine the root cause by observing your dog. Even if your dog's behavior is normal, there are steps that can be taken to reduce destructive chewing.
Causes of Destructive Chewing
1. Separation Anxiety
Many dogs use chewing as a coping mechanism when they are anxious. It is very common for dogs to become anxious when they are alone or around a lot of people they don't recognize. Chewing is a way that dogs relieve stress and anxiety. Separation anxiety usually has other symptoms, such as whining, barking and pacing. Since separation anxiety is such as common issue in dogs, there are several different avenues you can take towards a solution.
If you have a dog on a restricted diet, chewing could be a way of acting out when hungry. Some dogs are on a restricted diet for health reasons, including weight loss or medication. Dogs will chew and even destroy objects as a way to find more nutrients. You will notice your dog seeking out items that look or smell like food if hunger is the cause of your dog's destructive chewing.
3. Fabric Sucking
Some dogs chew, lick and suck on fabrics. Experts believe this to mean that a dog was weaned too early. If you see your dog acting in this way, you should try to distract it from the fabric. Allowing the behavior to occur means it can turn into a compulsion with your dog, making the habit harder to break. Sometimes it can take a training expert to help with this type of behavior.
Solutions for Destructive Chewing
If you have a puppy that is chewing, consider getting toys that are meant for teething. Just like human infants, puppies go through a period where new teeth are growing in. This is typically marked by chewing that becomes more intense or destructive. If you have an adult dog that is chewing, toys can be a stress reliever and keep them occupied.
2. Tight Shirt
If you think your dog is chewing because of separation anxiety, one common tactic is to wrap him in a tight shirt. The shirt helps make the dog feel safe and secure, which eases the anxiety they feel when you leave. You can find already made shirts for this purpose at most pet stores.
3. Natural Behavior
Chewing is a very normal behavior for any type of dog. Chewing on quality dog treats keeps their teeth clean and their jaws strong. For a dog, chewing can be for stress relief, entertainment, stimulation and more.