Imagine you arrive home from work and open the door, excited to be greeted by your gem of a furry friend. As you are covered in kisses and slapped by their exuberant tail, you look past the sweet pup and witness what resembles a crime scene.
The victims include a sad brown shoe, a slimy pink slipper, a mouthful of lettuce, your toothbrush, the TV clicker minus a few buttons, and the shredded remains of last night’s foam takeout container. You know you can’t punish the pup, because they have NO idea what they've done. But what can you do to stop puppies from chewing on everything?
A few considerations about the environment your puppy occupies and some adjustments in your daily routine can keep your house from becoming the canine carnival your dog imagines it to be and help with puppy teething.
What to Know About the Puppy Teething Phase
Dogs Explore with Their Mouths
Puppies use their mouths (and teeth) as a way of exploring their world. It’s normal for them to accidentally destroy things in the path of potential destruction. If you don’t want to risk adding something to the list of victims, put it well out of reach from the precious pup.
Irritate Gums Lead to Destruction
Canine baby teeth show themselves between three to eight weeks of age. These teeth are lost and replaced with permanent teeth after four to six months. Throughout this period of dental development, a puppy’s gums are irritated, and chewing helps to relieve discomfort. Accidental destruction often begins or heightens during this time.
Make a Distinction Between Toy and Treasure
Puppies have no sense of value. Avoid giving dog toys that resemble valuable household items. The old shoe you gave them to chew on looks JUST like the new expensive one they found in your closet.
5 Ways to Minimize Chewing for a Teething Puppy
1. Take a Trip to the Vet
Rule out any medical issue that might lead to inappropriate chewing. Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet, intestinal parasites, and gastrointestinal issues could be to blame.
2. Puppy-Proof Your Home
Place small, consumable items out of your puppy's reach, including cleaning agents, chemicals, and potentially toxic plants. Tuck away electrical cords, and store valued items like shoes and human toys. Limit your pet’s territory to a small puppy-proofed area of the house or consider crate training.
3. Encourage Appropriate Chewing
Offer size-appropriate chew toys, balls, and games. Provide a wide variety of toys, and pay attention to which ones your dog enjoys most. Keep a secret stash of favorites, so you can surprise your pet with a new one periodically!
4. Discourage Inappropriate Chewing
If you discover your pup involved in a destructive activity, a firm “no” will suffice. Remove the offending item from your pup's space and replace it with something more suitable, like a chew toy. Better yet, engage your dog in a game of fetch or “find the ball” as a healthy alternative to the destruction. Additionally, spritzing items that should not be chewed with bitter apple spray is often helpful.
5. Play With Your Pup
Throw a ball, go for a long walk, and play hide and seek. Dogs that are well-exercised and mentally stimulated are less likely to chew. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog!
Before you bring home an adorable tornado of affection and destruction, give some thought to puppy management. Following a few simple guidelines will save money and frustration, which enables you to focus your energy on enjoying the new pup!
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