Why Puppies Chew — and What You Can Do About It

Break the Chewing Habit

Chewing can also result from boredom. Dogs, whether puppies or adults, can chew because there's nothing else to do. Most dogs do not get enough exercise, and since they can't watch television or read a book, they turn to their doggy entertainment center, which too often is your closet or new chair. Give your dog more exercise, both mental and physical, to stave off destructive chewing. And again, be sure to provide her with more enticing acceptable things to chew on and play with.

Some cases of chewing aren't because of puppy impulses or boredom, but from anxiety. Chewing that occurs when the dog is left alone, especially if it occurs around doors and windows or if it is accompanied by scratching and digging, may be a sign of separation anxiety. Such dogs are stressed about being left alone; they spend the time panting, drooling and trying to find ways to escape and come find you. They also often urinate and defecate out of anxiety. Under natural circumstances, a puppy’s separation from her dam would be cause for distress, bringing on distressed yelping and efforts to rejoin them. Without her human or canine leader, a dog can become fearful, and after repeated episodes, that fear becomes associated with being alone. Separation anxiety can occur in dogs of all ages. Punishing the dog only makes it worse; instead, you need to work on a program of gradual desensitization to being left alone, leaving the dog for only a few minutes at a time. Talk to your veterinarian about other steps you can take.

Inappropriate chewing is not just damaging; it’s dangerous. Chewing electrical cords can lead to shocks and electrocution. Eating drugs and poisons has led to the death of many dogs. Although eating paper currency is an expensive habit, swallowing a single penny can be more expensive; unless it is removed, the penny may stay in the stomach and release zinc, resulting in zinc poisoning. Swallowing stockings and socks can lead to intestinal blockages, requiring surgery. Prevention will save you money — and, perhaps, your puppy's life!

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