Along with mouthing and biting, chewing on all kinds of objects is also normal behaviour for puppies. There are a few reasons your puppy is chewing, it’s usually boredom or sometimes can be anxiety. They will also chew hard items (like wooden furniture) when their mouths hurt and they are trying to relieve the teething pain. Just like toddlers pick up everything, young puppies chew/mouth on everything because they can’t pick them up with their hands, instead they use their mouths to taste everything, they’re learning about their new home.
Even most adult dogs enjoy a good chew, and this is really evident when they are given a raw bone, rawhide chew, pigs ear or other appropriate chew. Chewing (on appropriate items, of course) is also an essential part of good dental hygiene.
Given that chewing is totally appropriate and even to be encouraged, we need to provide puppy with appropriate toys and food to chew on. Toys like a Kong, which is a re-usable rubber toy with a hollow centre into which you can stuff all kinds of treats and food are ideal because your puppy will be rewarded for chewing this toy when food comes out. Kongs are such a versatile toy and can be filled with a variety of different things to keep your puppies busy and not become bored with the same treat.
The most common fillings for Kongs are:
- Peanut Butter or vegemit (ensuring there’s no xylitol as it’s toxic)
- Dog biscuits or treats
- Carrot Sticks wedged in at different angles
- Another good option is frozen treats! They’re especially good when teething as it soothes the sore gums. You can either place the kong into icecream containers and pour in broth or stock (without onion or garlic as it’s toxic) half way up the kong and then freezing or freezing the broth into ice cube trays and putting the ice cubes into the kong.
- Need any more inspiration? The kong website has many more Kong recipes. See here.
Rawhides chews, raw meaty bones (always RAW never cooked), pigs ears, nylabones, dentabones and dentastix are all suitable for dogs and puppies to chew on. You should always try to match the size of the item to the size of the dog ie. small dog = small bone. Always remove any fat from any bones including the marrow of those long marrow bones, this can be easily scooped out with a spoon. Occasionally, in some dogs, bones can cause digestive upsets, in these cases bones are best avoided and the dog should be provided with other chew options. In addition to the suggestions above a variety of other toys can be provided for your puppy.
Tip: Don’t leave all the toys out all the time though as your puppy will tend to ignore them if they are always available. Offering a different toy each day will keep your puppy interested. Treat balls and Buster cubes whilst not chew toys, keep your puppy occupied because your pup learns to roll these around to allow food to drop out. These are excellent toys for times when your puppy is going to be left alone for a long time, like, when you are at work. Make sure you’re providing a good rotation of other toys to chew as well, because if you don’t rotate toys to keep them exciting or don’t provide any then your pup will choose it’s own ‘chew toys’ and these are often the exact things we don’t want them chewing on!
Ways of getting your puppies away from chewing the unwanted things
Garden beds and potted plants are often a common issue for new puppies to chew on. For potted plants move them away during their ‘puppy phase’. Set them up for success! Don’t leave them all these delish potted plants around for them to sample and be surprised when they do exactly that. In terms of garden beds, fence off any garden beds that your pup is paying particular attention to, this is not forever, this is just while they’re passing through the mouthing phase.
Door frames and furniture are also common things that your puppies want to chew on. Pet shops have lots of deterrent sprays but citronella spray works too.
As said before, chewing is completely normal behaviour for puppies, as long as they’re chewing on the correct objects. If you need any more tips or help please contact your local Vetwest clinic. We also offer Puppy Preschool classes for puppies 8-15 weeks for all owners looking to give their puppy the very best start in life and the opportunity to grow into a well behaved, sociable dog. Click here for more information.