There may be nothing quite as adorable as a puppy. However, there may also be nothing (other than a natural disaster) with the same potential to wreak havoc on your home and possessions!
If you’ve ever had the joy of bringing up a puppy, you know what I mean. For every soft, floppy puppy cuddle and wet, puppy-breath kiss, it seems like there’s also a chewed up shoe or a mutilated table leg. And as much as you treasure the experience of sharing your puppy’s babyhood, you may find yourself thinking (for the sake of your furniture anyway) that you’ll be a little relieved when it’s all behind you.
Although chewing is a natural part of puppyhood, there are things that you can do to minimize the damage. And with less time spent worrying about the things your puppy might destroy, you’ll be free to enjoy this precious, all-too-short stage of his life.
Why Do Puppies Chew?
Chewing is completely natural for dogs of any age, but puppies take it to a whole new level! One reason for this is that, although they can’t see when they are born, they can taste. So from very early on, puppies learn about the world around them by using their mouths.
Add to this the fact that, like human children, puppies go through a teething phase. For most breeds, this phase starts around the time that they are 3 months old and lasts until they are about 8 months old. During this time, you can expect your pup to chew especially enthusiastically.
How to Stop Your Puppy’s Chewing
From the time you bring your new pup home, begin teaching him the “Leave it” command. This will make it easier to discourage him from chewing an inappropriate object and redirect him towards something else.
Toys for puppies are usually smaller and softer than those designed for older dogs. Never give a puppy (or any dog for that matter) a toy that has parts that could easily be chewed off and swallowed. No matter what toys you “chews” for your pup, make sure that you inspect them regularly for loose parts that could be swallowed, and replace them before they become a choking hazard. Here are a few puppy teething toys to get you started:
Kong Puppy Binky Toy. Kong makes a full line of puppy-sized toys, but the adorable binky shape makes this one of my personal faves! These chew toys also dispense treats, so they’ll not only sooth puppy’s teeth and gums, they’ll keep his little doggy brain busy too.
The Nylabone Beef Flavored Puppy Chew Toy. This toy’s beef flavor gives it serious puppy appeal. And that’s good news for your sneakers! And it also has ridges and nubs that will clean his teeth while they are massaging his gums. For extra relief try throwing it in the freezer for a few minutes before your pup begins chewing.
Rope toys. These toys are paw-some for teething puppies because they are inexpensive and durable, and they can help to clean puppy’s teeth and strengthen his gums while he chews. Most of them can be cleaned easily with plain soap and water, and if your pup likes a cold toy to gnaw on, you can freeze them while they’re still wet.
Sprays like Grannick’s Bitter Apple have a taste that dogs don’t like, so it’s a great way to discourage a teething puppy from chewing on table legs, door jams, or other objects that you want to remain bite free. Before you spray them on fabric, however, it’s a good idea to test a small spot to make sure it doesn’t leave a mark.
The puppy months will be over before you know it, and as exhausting as this time is, when it’s behind you, you’ll most likely look back on it with fond memories. If you watch your puppy carefully and provide him with plenty of appropriate outlets for his chewing needs, you’ll probably find that most of those memories are not in the form of little teeth marks in your furniture!