Why is my Dog an Aggressive Chewer?
It's a normal day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you realize that your most prized possession has been chewed to bits. Whether it be your furniture legs, the walls, or even your favorite pair of shoes, now you must find out how to fix your dog's mess.
You are trying to wrap your head around why your little friend has decided to start destroying things and chewing them up. You may need to look at different types of stress relief for dogs or other ways to keep them busy — either way, we are here for you.
Here are a few reasons your dog might be an aggressive chewer:
1. Your Dog is Experiencing Boredom — One reason your dog may be an aggressive chewer may be because they are experiencing extreme boredom. Dogs may experience this when they aren't getting enough exercise. A good way to mitigate this is taking your dog on more walks or letting them run free at a dog park. A lack of excitement or stimulation can be the main source of your dog's boredom.
Another solution for this is creating a dog playroom at home. By having a dog playroom in your home, you no longer need to worry about locating your dog's belongings or treats. The first step to creating your dog a playroom is to find a space in the house that isn't being used as frequently, like an additional bedroom, or perhaps an extra closet. By creating a private space for your dog, you don't need to reorganize your house to fit toys and your dog will thank you for it!
2. Your Dog is Nervous or Stressed - Believe it or not, your dog can experience anxiety when you leave the house for a long period of time, disruptive noises, loud thunderstorms, and interactions with other dogs. There are various ways to provide stress relief for dogs including medication, sound machines, and pet gates. Before you start looking for a treatment you need to uncover the true reason why your dog is chewing in the first place.
Your dog may be nervous or stressed because of high levels of anxiety and one answer to this is to look into anxiety meds for dogs. If your dog gets a little jittery when you leave the house, your dog could be experiencing separation anxiety. Fluoxetine is a well-known FDA-approved medication to treat separation anxiety and behavior issues such as uncontrollable chewing or aggression. Clomipramine is another medicine used for situational anxiety and doubles as a tricycle antidepressant that works in the same way as Amitriptyline (which is also an option). Before trying any new medication on your own, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to see what they recommend.
Another type of anxiety that could explain why your dog is an aggressive chewer may be fear of disruptive noises. Loud thunderstorms, construction, or even kids may be making your dog an aggressive chewer. A solution to calm your dog could be investing in an oil diffuser or a white noise machine. By providing an alternative distraction for your dog, they may be less tempted to chew up furniture or rip up your couch cushions.
Generalized anxiety can spike when it comes to interactions with other dogs. Your dog may not want to rough-house or play-fight, so putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation with another dog may cause anxiety. Having a pet gate on hand may be ideal in case you need to separate the dogs from one another for safety or anxiety reasons. By taking all these precautions you are protecting yourself, and your dog.
3. Your Dog is High Energy - If you have a high-energy dog, you may want to look at "busy toys." Busy toys train the brain and create high levels of exercise for your high-energy dog. Figuring out your dog's personality and what toys are attractive to them will help you narrow down your choices. A popular busy toy is a treat dispensing toy which provides a game and a delicious reward for your furry friend. Another alternative is a puzzle toy to prevent boredom. Tug toys are also good for draining your dog's energy.
If you want to know more about aggressive chewing and what you can do about it, please contact Forever Vets today.