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Why do dogs chew?

Updated on February 18, 2012

Chewing is natural for dogs especially for puppies. These animals are very curious of their new environment and since they are not provided with hands by nature, they use the mouth in almost everything they do. The mouth is used to eat, to investigate things as well as to play. Owners are not overly concerned with the chewing habits of puppies. Even first time dog owners know that puppies chew a lot when they are teething. What concerns most dog owners is when adult or mature dogs has taken to destructive chewing.

Pictures of chewing dogs

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Is the chewing habit dangerous?

Destructive chewing is a serious problem that can have life threatening repercussion for the dog. The dog could chew and swallow objects that could block the windpipe and cause choking. Objects swallowed can also cause intestinal obstruction that can only be removed by a surgical procedure. A dog chewing an electric wire can be killed with electric shock.

Causes of the destructive chewing habit

Pet owners would be amazed when the well behaved pet has suddenly turned into a destructive monster and chewed a big chunk of the wall or decided to remove the arm of the sofa. Boredom, loneliness, separation anxiety have always been cited as the causes of this behavioral problem. A bored and lonely dog would look for ways to amuse itself. TV, radio and computer games will certainly not be among the choices. The dog can play with other dogs or with its toys. But what if there are no other dogs and the master has forgotten to leave the dog toys? For lack of anything better to do, the dog would turn to destructive chewing. The shoe in the corner, the rug or the sofa would do. Chewing these things would while away the time. Destructive chewing can be due to a nutritional problem as well. The dog is trying to fill the nutrient deficiency by chewing things.

Coping with the destructive chewing habit

Destructive chewing can be a big concern especially if the solutions found seems to be ineffective. This is one of the reasons why dogs are abandoned. Training the dog not to chew indiscriminately should be started when the pet is still a puppy. Do not allow the puppy to gnaw on an old shoe or sock. These are intelligent creatures and they would be confused why the object has suddenly become forbidden. Introduce the dog to proper chewing toys instead. Train the dog to observe house rules. With positive training methods the dog will learn what object can be chewed and what are not. Good housekeeping counts a lot. Be responsible with your possessions. Things that are left lying around and within easy reach of the dog would entice the dog to chew.  

Dog chewing chewing gum

Dog chewing on a bone

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