Is Your Dog’s Chewing Putting a Hole in Your Pocket?

As a dog owner, I’ve read and heard horror stories involving dogs chewing everything from sofa cushions to drywall. My own dog once chewed a $1,000 hearing aid to smithereens. Can we say, “YIKES”?

The fact is that all dogs chew. Reasons for chewing are teething, anxiety, boredom, or because…well, it’s just doggone fun!

Here are a few tips that may help:

Puppies chew excessively due to teething. Offer your pup an ice cube to gnaw on or freeze some carrots for a fun and healthy treat. These cool snacks will help ease gum pain.

Dog-proof your living area. Just as you would childproof your home, make sure that anything tempting is out of Fido’s reach. For example, when you come home from work and kick your shoes off, be sure to pick up those shoes and put them away. Or when you’re watching T.V. and go to the kitchen for a snack, place the remote control where your dog can’t see it. Keep books and magazines on their respective shelves and racks. Many dogs are 4-legged paper shredders and will rip any paper product apart with gusto. You certainly wouldn’t want your 1st edition copy of Gone With the Wind reduced to expensive confetti.

Deter the chewing. For example, if you catch your dog chewing on a leg of Grandma’s antique chair, spray the chair leg with some Bitter Apple, or any of the numerous pet repellents on the market. These sprays can be very effective on a number of items. Just be sure to check the directions and ingredients to ensure pet and surface safety.

Invest in tough, durable chew toys and treats, such as compressed rawhide, nylabones and kongs. Compressed rawhide and nylabones come in a variety of different flavors, like chicken and liver. Kongs…hard rubber balls with a hollow end…can be filled with all sorts of yummy treats that will keep your dog occupied for hours. When you catch your dog gnawing on a forbidden item, startle him/her with a firm “NO!” and clap your hands loudly. Offer your dog one of the suggested chewies and give lots of praise when he/she accepts it. Also, be sure to intermittently praise your dog for lying quietly and chewing on the appropriate object.

Exercise your dog with a long jog or leisurely walk. Toss a tennis ball for an hour and encourage your dog to run and fetch. There’s an old saying that, “A tired dog is a good dog.” A pooped dog is much more likely to snooze than to chew.

Hopefully, these ideas will help keep your beloved pet out of trouble and save you a lot of grief and aggravation. Remember…your dog has no idea that a particular item is expensive or invaluable. So rather than explode at your poor pooch for gnawing on the cell phone or chomping on that Gucci shoe, work on correcting those bad chewing habits so you can save big money and your own sanity.

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