Playful chewing is normal for dogs of all ages. But if you live with, say, a pit bull puppy that incessantly gnaws on everything, you could be harboring a problematic chewer. What are the safe ways to stop puppy chewing?
Dogs chew for several reasons. As a pet parent, finding the root cause of excessive puppy chewing will help you minimize or end the habit completely. Read on to discover how to spot and stop destructive puppy chewing habits.
Puppy chewing could be a way to find relief from teething. Newborn pitbull puppies start to teeth when they are three weeks old. During this time, chewing helps provide relief from the pain caused by teething pushing through the gums. About six months in, all teeth should have fully grown, after which the chewing problem should reduce.
In older pitbull puppies, chewing is a way to clean and strengthen teeth. You will notice the older puppy chewing on wood, a bone, or a favorite toy to meet that need. Also, harmless chewing in older dogs is a way to pass the time, especially when bored.
We’ve rounded up a few of the most highly rated chew proof dog beds we could find…
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So when should you get concerned about destructive puppy chewing?
If a puppy chews persistently even after the 6-month window, there could be an underlying issue. Not addressing the problem may cause the puppy chewing habit to continue even in old age.
Incessant puppy chewing can be due to;
- Pent up energy
- Separation anxiety
- Weaning the puppy early
Pent up energy
Puppies work up a lot of energy that needs to be let out. For large breeds like XXL Pitbull puppies, play is important to release pent-up energy and develop their muscles. A young dog that does not receive enough play will likely develop puppy chewing problems.
The more time you spend with your pitbull puppy, the stronger the bond they form with you. So much so that if you left the dog alone for at least an hour, it would grow anxious. Your once mellow puppy can turn destructive because of separation anxiety. If you came home to chewed-up toilet paper, rugs, couches, or stool, now you know why.
Weaning too soon
A puppy that is weaned off its mother’s milk early is likely to show chewing brewing. The chewing will be mild and commonly substituted with sucking. You will notice the puppy sucking on anything soft and warm, like its sleeping blanket, as it remembers suckling its mom. Suckling is a way for puppies to bond with the dam, and this strange biting or sucking behavior is a sign your puppy needs nurturing.
Hunger or lack of enough food can lead to puppy chewing behavior. Also, a diet that is not rich in calories will force a puppy to supplement elsewhere; and most times, it means chewing on non-food items (wood, plastic, rubber, etc.) that look or smell like food.
How to reduce/manage destructive puppy chewing
Start by ruling out the conditions we underlined as possible causes of puppy chewing. If your puppy is not chewing excessively out of hunger, anxiety, boredom, or inadequate nurturing, then you can tone down the habit with the following tips.
Teething is a normal phase in a puppy’s life that you need to anticipate. You can spot early signs of puppy teething like;
- Tiny bloodstains on puppy toys
- Puppy biting when suckling. The dam might wince and pull the puppy away
- Swollen gums
- Reduced appetite
- Puppy whining a lot
You can provide relief to a teething puppy through chew toys designed for weaning puppies. Alternatively, give the puppy soft bones that are easy to chew, swallow, and won’t choke them. Start by feeding your pitbull puppy raw chicken legs.
Dog-proof your house
You won’t always keep up with your dog’s antics at home. For a pitbull puppy that just learned to use its feet, you will always walk into chewed-up items at random locations. Puppy-proof your home by putting valuable items like shoes, jewelry, and clothing out of reach. Keep your laundry basket behind closed doors and store items like books on high shelves. You also have to work on the cable management around your sound system and appliances. Another great idea is to install puppy gates to restrict your pitbull dog from accessing certain areas.
Give your dog a bone.
As your red nose or blue nose pitbull puppy grows a full set of teeth, introduce it to other chewy options like pigskin rolls and pig ears. Other alternatives include rawhide bones and bully sticks. Ask your local butcher or pitbull breeder of natural and safe bones that your pitbull puppy can chew.
Feed your dog
A consistent feeding schedule will help reduce destructive puppy chewing. Puppies feed at least three times a day. Divide the meal portions equally and serve them in the morning, around noon, and before bedtime. In between, give your puppy treats or its favorite chew toy to keep busy. Also, anticipate whenever your puppy is looking for something to chew. Substitute whatever it is going for with a toy and heap praises on the dog for opting for the toy. Reward-based training will get a puppy to stop chewing stuff quicker.
Chew deterrent spray
Chew deterrent sprays should only be a last resort if you are dealing with a stubborn chewer. There is plenty of over-the-counter chew deterrent sprays you can use to end destructive puppy chewing. However, if you have concerns about the ingredients in the product and how it affects your dog, you can always go the natural way.
You can use citrus fruits to make homemade chew deterrent sprays. Lime, lemon, and unripe oranges are good options. Test each fruit on your dog and see which taste he dislikes more. Apply the citrus juice on a piece of cotton wool and let your dog sniff and taste. If the dog makes funny sneezing sounds or begins to drool, it does not like the taste. Apply that particular juice on every item you do not want your dog to chew.
Alternatively, make chew deterrent spray with natural vinegar. Combine apple cider vinegar and white vinegar in a 2:1 ratio. The strong taste and smell will curb your pitbull puppy from chewing your stuff for good.