This month we will be looking at a common complaint from new puppy owners; my puppy chews everything!!
Firstly it is important to remember that among other behaviours such as digging and scavenging; chewing is a very natural canine behaviour, Dogs simply love to chew. I am a firm believer that dogs should be allowed to express natural canine behaviours in safe and appropriate ways, so this month we will be looking at how to manage the chewing behaviour rather than how to stop it entirely.
Puppies in particular seem to have an overwhelming desire to chew and this is in part due to the teething process which usually happens at around 14 – 16 weeks of age. During this time your puppy will gradually lose all of their baby teeth and the new permanent teeth will start to erupt. The urge to chew to relieve discomfort during the teething process is very strong and not unlike that of a human baby when they are teething.
Puppies don’t only chew because they are teething; young puppies like to explore the world with their mouths (just like human babies and toddlers) and this is known as ‘oral exploration’. During this time your puppy will put anything and everything into their mouths in order to help them gather information about the world around them.
So what can we do to help stop your puppy chewing everything in sight?
This might sound simple but the easiest way to prevent inappropriate chewing is to keep valuable items out of your puppy’s reach – if it’s within your puppy’s reach then you cannot expect them not to chew it! Tidying up and putting things away becomes second nature when you have an inquisitive puppy around. Children’s toys are often the first to succumb to a puppy’s needle like teeth as they often resemble dog toys (plastic or soft, noisy and colourful!) so it is particularly important to keep children’s toys well out of reach of your puppy. Ensure that any electrical cables or other potentially dangerous items are also kept well out of your puppy’s reach.
Once you have puppy proofed your home it is really important that you provide your puppy with plenty of safe items that they can chew. Providing your puppy with a variety of chew toys gives them an appropriate outlet for the behaviour and reduces the chances of them chewing something they shouldn’t! Antler bars, Nylabones and stuffed Kongs are all suitable for puppies to chew along with toys that are designed specifically for teething puppies such as the Kong Teething Stick and Nylabone teething keys. Stuffed Kongs can also be chilled or frozen to help sooth sore gums during the teething process. Please ensure that your puppy is supervised at all times with any new chew toy item and inspect them regularly for any signs of damage. To stop your puppy from becoming bored with their chew toys I would advise to have a selection of them and to rotate them daily to keep your puppy’s interest.
If you catch your puppy in the act of chewing something they shouldn’t be give a gentle verbal interruption and then redirect them on to one of their chew toys; it is important that your puppy learns what they can and cannot chew and it is your job to make this as clear to them as possible! Be consistent with chew toy training and your puppy will soon start to choose their chew toys over other items.
It is not only puppies that love to chew, most adult dogs will continue to enjoy chew toys and it is important that you provide your dog with an array of suitable items to chew throughout their lives. Chewing can be a stress reliever for dogs and chew toys also provide vital mental stimulation.
If you would like to try a Kong toy for your dog, you can SAVE a huge 25% OFF all Kong products purchased from the practice until next Saturday (14th September) by quoting the code “CHEW”!
As always, if you would like to discuss any of the above with me, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me on 01638 554477 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org