Ask A Vet: My Puppy Chews Up Everything. What Can I Do?

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We all know that puppies will cut teeth. It’s a normal thing for puppies to do. And as humans, we all have things that are precious to us–things that we would prefer not be used as a chew toy. If you have a puppy and you know that chewing and teething are going to be a part of growing up, how do you find the balance between letting your puppy be normal and preserving your stuff?

Best Chance for Success

Accepting that normal puppies chew is the first step. Eliminate chances to displease you (and save your stuff) by picking up all treasured items and placing them out of puppy reach. Give your puppy a “safe zone” where her stuff is all that is lying around. It is like a multiple choice test where all the answers are correct. Your puppy can make 100% on that kind of test!



Attracting the Right Attention

Purchase items that are appropriate and safe for teething and make sure that they are enticing for the puppy. You might smear them with canned puppy food, so that he really wants to lick and chew on them. Moving forward, he will start to associate that scent with “his” stuff and always gravitate to the items you have selected for him.

Distract and redirect.

Accidents will happen and your pup will undoubtedly grab something that is not your choice for her to chew. When you have to remove the object from her, make sure that you replace it with something that you approve of her chewing. Never punish her or hit her. This will damage her trust in you. If your puppy is approaching an object that you do not want her to chew, simply redirect her attention onto a better choice, so that she is distracted from the inappropriate object and rewarded by the appropriate one.

Provide for all the other needs. Make sure your puppy gets plenty of exercise, fresh water and a high quality diet. Don’t forget-never punish or hit a puppy.  Fear is not a good training strategy. Pick up items that you know would be a loss to you if damaged, so that you will not feel anger toward the puppy for choosing to chew them. Reward the right choices and redirect the wrong ones. Some dogs never grow out of destructive chewing, so establishing good habits from the start can be a life saver!

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