Redirect Your Puppy’s Chewing Instinct

Young puppies are natural chewing machines. Nearly anything within their range is fair game: your shoes, sofas, kid’s toys, electrical cords, sticks, TV controllers; if it’s loose and obtainable, it might be demolished.

Mainly because it is a natural behavioral instinct for your pup to chew, it’s your duty to direct the puppy to exactly what can be chewed as well as exactly what can not be chewed. Consequently your very first task would be to puppy proof your house by keeping the puppy kept in a pet crate while you are not home plus limiting his free range to the puppy proof parts when you are home.

I learned the hard way when our daughter left her bedroom door ajar and my Golden Retriever commenced to chew up my antique collectible dollhouse and also the hand made furniture and turned them into toothpicks. It seriously looked like a bomb was dropped on the dollhouse with bits and pieces of my miniature furniture dispersed all over the floor. Crayons and telephone books were also Chris’s most desired items to chew on and my Labrador, Jake, preferred books and magazines.

After you do find that an item has been wrecked by your puppy, your initial impulse is usually to reprimand your dog. Alas, your dog does not have any clue just what you’re punishing him for,even if you’re waving the treasured artifact in your hand, after all, anything within reach is fair game and their memory is extremely short. You simply have to ignore your dog and tidy up the mess.

Pups need to chew mainly because they’re teething. Gnawing on toys gives them some relief to their sensitive gums and also dislodges their baby teeth so their mature teeth can come in. As soon as their teeth are in, then they chew because they may be bored, trying to play or even in search of attention from you.

Furnish your dog with an abundance of safe chew toys, like Kong Toys, dental chews, Greenies, and also digestible rawhides. Do not ever offer your puppy real bones to chew on. Bones can easily crack their teeth, or perhaps splinter when ingested. A variety of chew toys keeps the dog interested. When presenting your puppy a brand new chew toy, keep an eye on him to be certain the item is not shredded and swallowed, especially latex chew toys or stuffed toys with squeakers. Air Kong squeakers are Jake’s favorite chew toy they usually have a tendency to stand up to his chewing much better than every other toy we have tested out.

Keep all objects picked up off the floor and out of reach from your puppy, such as books, magazines, remotes, telephone books and Harry Potter books, (these are just a few things that were destroyed by my puppies over the years).

Regarding more substantial items, for example sofas, recliners as well as kitchen tables, you could try utilizing non-toxic bitter sprays which can be sprayed on the larger sized pieces.

As soon as you spot your puppy chewing on anything he shouldn’t, say “No” or “Leave It”, and then replace the object with a chew toy. You have to be vigilant when watching your puppy so that you could direct him to what precisely may be chewed and what is off limits.

Supply your puppy with their own “toy box”. This can be a small box or even a basket to store his / her toys in. My dog thinks it is a great game whenever I vacuum the rug and set all his toys away in the basket. He then he commences to drag just about all his toys out and plays with them 1 by 1 immediately after the vacuuming is completed.

Some dogs chew a result of separation anxiety. This topic is covered more in depth in a separate article. Your veterinarian can also help with some prescription medication to help calm your dog while you are re-training your pet in order to be left alone. Crate training your puppy when they are younger can help avoid separation anxiety from developing when they are older.

Keep in mind, chewing incidents are generally your negligence for not observing your pup closely or allowing free roaming when you are absent. Give your puppy plenty of his own toys to chew on so he will leave other objects alone. Praise your pet whenever he is actually chewing on their toys and try not to scold or yell at your dog any time you observe a valuable item chewed on when you were not looking. They has absolutely no ability to remember just after the event in order to link the chewed item to your yelling and can easily result in more harm than good

As far as my dollhouse furniture, I was able to save a few pieces, and I purchased another Harry Potter book to replace the one that was demolished. We additionally learned to keep the bedroom doors closed, and we transferred all the books to a “no dogs allowed” bedroom. I suggest you study your home through the eyes of your dog and clear away tempting objects out of their reach. Puppies can be shown what exactly could be gnawed upon and exactly what is off limits, if the puppy parent is there to instruct them.

To learn more about training your puppy, pick up our free “90 Dog Training Tips” at my new puppy care and training website:

Some Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving for our Pets

As we gather with our family and friends this weekend for food, fun and football, remember that our furry friends cannot always eat the same foods that we can. To avoid an expensive trip to the Animal ER, here are a few suggestions to keep your pets safe this Thanksgiving weekend.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Chocolate – especially dark chocolate or baking chocolate can be toxic to our pets.
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions and garlic
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Yeast Dough
  • Fatty foods – can inflame the pancreas
  • Bones – of any kind, can splinter causing perforations or can break teeth
  • Xylitol – a sugar substitute

If you need to give a pet a taste of Thanksgiving, some turkey meat and green beans are ok.

Accidental poisonings often occur from the pets ingesting their human’s medications. I have had dogs get the pill containers off the cabinets and chew the whole bottle. Place your medications out of reach of your pets and make sure your guests do the same. Also remember that Tylenol is lethal to cats. Always check with your veterinarian before you give any medication to your pet. What is safe for humans may be deadly to our pets.

Decorations can also impose a danger to our pets. Electrical cords can be bitten, tinsel and ribbons swallowed. The water for the live trees may also pose a danger. You may want to elect to put your Christmas tree in a room that can be blocked off from your pets.

Candles and patio fire pits can also cause burns in our pets. Just last week, one of my patients brushed up to the fire pit and received a burn to his side. Cats can flick their tails into the flame or knock over a candle resulting in a fire.

Holiday flowers can also cause problems with our pets. Although the poinsettia has gotten a bad rap, it is not toxic but other houseplants such as lilies, holly berries and mistletoe are.

Download my free e-book “Common Houseplants that are Toxic to our Pets”

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If your pet accidentally ingests something harmful, emergency advice is a phone call away. Call your veterinarian, emergency animal hospital of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 ( a fee applies) or visit

Puppy Care

Congratulations! Bringing home a new puppy is fun, but it is also a huge responsibility that lasts its lifetime, which can sometimes reach 12 to 18 years or longer. The first six months of your puppies life are the most critical and establishes his health and behavior for the rest of his life.puppy You, as the puppies advocate, must ensure he is protected from disease with a series of vaccinations and effective monthly parasite control. Thousands of inadequately vaccinated puppies never make it to see their first birthday because of diseases such as parvovirus and distemper. Thousands more will die from heartworm disease from the bite of one single mosquito, and even more may succumb to intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, even before they even reach 2 months old.

The majority of dogs relinquished to animal shelters is usually because of behavioral issues, such as dog aggressiveness that results in a dog bite, the inability to house train or unruly and destructive behavior. These are natural tendencies in dogs, and it is your responsibility to learn the how the dog thinks and use the natural, instinctive pack leadership skills to effectively modify both you and your dog’s behavior and solidify a great and rewarding relationship with your new puppy and family

Puppy proofing your home is another safety precaution you must establish. There are several hazards to young puppies you must look out for, such as electrical cords, toxic houseplants, foods that must not be fed, and toxic substances that need to be secured. Providing a safe haven for your puppy, such as a crate, when you are away, will keep him out of trouble and will also hasten house training.

There is so much more that I want to share with you that I have developed a series of newsletters and videos to help you take great care of your puppy and then well into his senior years. Register for my puppy care newsletter and you will also get some bonus e-books.

Recommendations for Puppies

Age 2, 4, 6 weeks of age

* deworm for hookworms and roundworms
* check for other intestinal parasites such as coccidia, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia

6-8 weeks of age

* Wellness Examination (WE) Check eyes, ears, heart, lungs, teeth, and other structures.
* DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, )
* Parasite Check
* Dewormer
* Start Heartworm preventative
* Start Flea medication
* Behavior counseling (crate training)

12 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP #2
* Bordetella #1
* Leptospirosis #1 (4 way)
* Dewormer
* Heartworm and Flea medication

16 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP#3
* Rabies
* Lepto #2
* Bordetella #2
* Heartworm and Flea medications

5months and older

* Spay or neuter
* Blood profile to screen for congenital problems prior to surgery
* give heartworm and flea medication every month all year round
* feed high quality pet foods, avoid generic brands
* Start getting your pet used to brushing teeth while they are young.

10months old

* parvo booster
* bordetella booster
* parasite check


* Wellnes Examination
* Rabies
* Leptospirosis
* Bordetella
* Heartworm (Erhlichia and Lyme) test
* Parasite Check
* Lyme booster
* Giardia booster
* If pet has received 2 Rabies Vaccinations exactly 365 days or less in a row, then pet may go to a Rabies injection every 3 years. If the two vaccines are more than 365 days apart, then they must get another vaccine within the year.
* Pets age 7 years for every 1 calender year. Physical exams on a bi-annual basis are a good way to screen for health problems before they become major.

Dr. Debra Garrison
Dr. Debra Garrison