You know you own a chewaholic dog when you find teeth marks all over your furniture and everything is the equivalent of a chew toy from your dog's perspective. If your dog's destructive habit has taken a "bite" out of your wallet, you may be desperately seeking some effective solutions.
Chewing is a natural, instinctual behavior in dogs that may be particularly destructive and costly when your furniture is the victim. If your puppy or dog is redecorating your new home with unsightly teeth marks, you need to go to the root of the problem. Is your puppy teething? Is your dog bored and looking for something to do during the day? Is he chewing mainly when left alone? Does he have access to enough chew toys?
Try your best to address the underlying issue. If your puppy is teething, make sure you invest in some safe chew toys for puppies. Twisting a clean, wet rag into a stick-like shape and then freezing it can help relieve your puppy's sore gums. If your dog is bored, make sure he is sufficiently exercised and provide outlets for mental stimulation. If your dog chews windows and doors when left alone, he may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Sometimes no matter what you do, your dog does not stop chewing your furniture and you may be worried he may choke or swallow large pieces. If so, investing in taste repellents may help. While some dogs may find leftover burritos or tortillas enticing, most dogs will steer clear from hot spices. A mixture of water and cayenne pepper is often used as a repellent for dogs because most dogs dislike the stinging and burning sensation produced when licked. Therefore, spreading this hot concoction on top of items that are often chewed should help discourage your dog from mouthing them.
If you want to give this hot concoction a try, mix about 1 part cayenne pepper to 10 parts water in a spray bottle, according to VetInfo. Shake the mixture carefully before using it each time since the pepper tends to settle at the bottom. Spray the mixture on the surfaces of the furniture you are concerned about and trying to protect.
When "Chewbacca" mouths the furniture for the first time, he will likely be surprised by the burning taste. You may see your dog shake his head, drool or even retch. The effect may be different from one dog to another. Some dogs may soon forget the event and go back to chew the furniture in no time, while others may never go near it again. After repeated exposure, most dogs will give up chewing the furniture sooner than later, especially if you are careful enough to apply the repellent often.
While you may have many good reasons for protecting your furniture from your dog's relentless chewing, it is also your responsibility to provide your dog with appropriate items he can actually chew. Make sure you set your dog for success by leaving around plenty of chew toys so he will be less likely to be attracted to the furniture. With plenty of enticing toys around and furniture tasting awful, your dog can ultimately only make good choices.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.