Anxious Chewing: Causes and Solutions

ToughChew Disk Dog ToyCauses for Anxious Chewing

Over the course of thousands of years, humans and dogs have forged a strong bond. If our dogs become too dependent on us, however, they can suffer extreme anxiety attacks when left alone. This serious distress can manifest itself as destructive behavior, constant, high-pitched barking, or loss of bowel and/or bladder control. You can help your dog develop a healthy attachment to you while fostering a sense of independence.

Solutions

1. If your dog is a puppy, chewing is part of their natural development. Puppies and young dogs explore and learn about the world with their noses and mouths, and part of that learning process is through chewing and tasting. Puppies will also chew when teething. Give your puppies and young dogs appropriate, durable, interactive dog toys to stimulate mouth and mind. Puppy-proof your home by removing tempting articles, such as cushions. Be proactive by helping them succeed by removing tempting articles and providing them with appropriate substitutes. Then they won't fail by destroying something of value.

2. If your dog persists in chewing once you leave for the day, ignore your dog for 5-10 minutes before leaving, and again upon returning home. Once your dog has calmed down, then you may safely encourage a low-key greeting.

3. Alter your departure rituals to avoid causing stressful anticipation.

4. Rather than allowing your dog to sleep with you, provide him with a dog bed near your bed.

5. Leave a radio or TV on when you’re not at home.

6. Teach your dog to sit and stay, and gradually lengthen time and distance apart. Dog obedience classes are a great way to spend time together in a learning environment.

7. Provide a stimulating environment with interactive toys.

8. Consider another dog for companionship.

9. NEVER punish your dog for separation anxiety issues—punishment creates more stress and anxiety.

Please see your veterinarian for additional help and information on preventing anxiety attacks in your dog.