Information and natural remedies for the treatment of chewing in cats and dogs.
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What is Chewing?
Just as babies explore by putting things in their mouths, puppies investigate their surroundings by chewing. Although it’s frustrating for owners, it is normal for puppies to investigate their environment by sniffing, tasting and perhaps chewing on objects throughout the home.
What Causes Chewing?
Some reasons for chewing may include:
- Scavenging for food (often raiding garbage)
- Playing (chewing apart a book, shoes or a couch)
- Teething (dogs 3 to 6 months of age)
- Satisfying a natural urge to chew and gnaw (may help keep teeth and gums healthy)
- Receiving attention (even if it is negative) – owners are inadvertently rewarding the behavior
- A response to anxiety and stress (when left alone at home)
- Dogs that are confined in areas where they are insecure (digging and chewing in an attempt to escape)
Help for Chewing
Determining the cause and motivation for your pet’s chewing is essential in developing a treatment strategy. The best treatment for chewing is to provide your pet with healthy outlets for chewing. To find out what your pet likes – try a few toys with a variety of tastes, odors, and textures. The best choice may be things that can be easily torn apart such as rawhide or pigs ears (that simulate natural prey).
There are many natural ingredients in herbal and homeopathic remedies that can help to condition the gums and teeth of puppies.
Chamomilla is a well-known remedy for supporting comfort during the normal teething process, while Passiflora incarnata is used as a soothing and quieting herb for teething pets.
Homeopathic remedies such as Calc phos and Mag phos serve to promote healthy gums and teeth on a cellular level while also promoting digestive health.
More Information on Chewing
Tips related to chewing:
- For working dogs try daily work sessions (retrieving, herding and sledding) to keep your pet occupied and lessen chewing
- For non-working dogs try household games – chasings, hide and seek, retrieving, catching a ball or Frisbee, jogging, or even long walks. This will allow your pet to expend unused energy
- Try numerous toys that provide a means for stuffing food or treats inside – your pet will need to “work” to get its reward!
- Coating toys with liver or cheese spread or peanut butter may also increase their desirability!
- Dogs also chew things if they are bored or frustrated from lack of exercise, so be sure to keep walking your pet daily
- Never scold pets for chewing – they are doing what come naturally for them – rather distract them, supervise them, or remove items that may be too tempting to chew when you are not there!