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Tuesday Tips: Ask Amy & BITE THIS! (not…)

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Does your puppy drive you NUTS with chewing? What’s your damage list–our house still has puppy teeth marks in furniture and even walls. Folks think I’m joking when I say no book manuscript escapes teeth marks. Have your dog’s gnawing habits landed him or her in the emergency clinic with broken teeth or swallowed objects? How have you managed his gnawing habit?

The latest Ask Amy question has a puppy owner nicknaming his puppy “Jaws” and begging for help.  So…what’d I miss? Lots more suggestions, of course, in some of my books like PETiQuette: Solving Behavior Problems …  and first aid info in that book in case you need a quick course in puppy Heimlich or rescue breathing.

What’s YOUR gnawing experience? Oh, and cats aren’t immune–some love to chew. Please share your tips and your BITING commentary in the comments.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

9 responses »

  1. I have one of those chewing kittens – and it was a new experience for me, I never had a cat who chews until Allegra. What does she chew? Wood, plastic, picture frames – if it’s nice and firm and crunchy, she’ll chew it. She “redecorated” my bedroom dresser, one of the corners now has a nicely rounded edge from her going to town on it.

    I tried various deterrents: Bitter Yuk (or something to that effect, there are several different products on the market), hot cayenne pepper, double sided tape, and lemon juice. The only thing that was even mildly effective was lemon juice.

    Thankfully, at 19 months, she seems to be growing out of this phase.

    • LOL Ingrid! I once wrote a feature for the (long gone…*sniff*) CATS magazine on gnawing kitties. One cat created incredible snow-flake-effect artwork on boxes. I usually recommend the gnawing kitties get a Toy dog size rawhide chew, dip in warm water or chicken broth and zap in microwave to soften. Oh, and for some cats, menthol (Vicks) will keep ’em at bay. That’s what worked on the woodworking when the Magical-Dawg was targeting windowsills. (Of course some cats think menthol is catnip…*sigh*)

      • Re: menthol being catnip. The mint family is in the same family (Labitae) as catnip. I taught aromatherapy for fifteen years and found my cats would go nuts some some scents but not others. One day, I placed a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a Kleenex and inhaled it for a headache. I fell asleep and found my Siamese gobbling up the minty Kleenex! Since every animal reacts differently to deterrents, I found what worked by trial and error.

        • Hi Layla, you’re absolutely right re: the mint family. I think that’s why many kitties love the smell of minty (chewing gum) breath, LOL! But I’ve known cats who react to olives like catnip, as well as honeysuckle (lonicera I think). Aromatherapy is very kewl and cats and dogs are so individual it’s interesting to see how each reacts. Thanks for visiting anbd commenting! Great info.

  2. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Oh dear. Well, where to begin. My Dad got a new dog about twelve years ago called Mark, a Husky/German Shepard/Wolf cross, and about the most affectionate thing you ever saw. About five years ago Dad called us over to a meeting with the Palliative Care Nurse (in Canada this is part of our public Health Care system) at which point we found out that Dad was dying. One of his concerns was Mark, and we promised him that Mark would always be well taken care of.

    Mark adjusted to Dad’s death fairly well (we had moved in to take care of Dad, so he had six months to get used to us) but as he aged, he just wasn’t looking as good. So we talked about it, and decided Mark needed a companion.

    Enter Sam. My wife really didn’t want another dog as big as Mark (60 pounds) and I was familiar with Beagles, so that’s what we got. Sam instantly imprinted on Mark. Mark, well, Mark wasn’t immediately sure of what to make of Sam, but he ended up adopting him. Problem was I’d forgotten about teething.

    Beagles teeth for a long time. Most people think that dogs are adult at a year. Well they aren’t. And while they are teething they chew. Even if you supply them chew toys, things like shoes, doors, chairs, anything that they can get their mouth open enough to chew on will suffer. Sam was chewing up will he was two years old.

    He’s settled down now, and he’s the most loveable little guy in the world – that’s him in my profile picture. He sleeps curled up against me every night.

    Mark passed away New Years day. We had him cremated, and he now sits on the entertainment unit, still wearing his collar, name, and rabies tags (we didn’t think of it at the time, but his collar fits the urn perfectly, so that’s where it stays).

    Sam spent nearly his entire life following Mark everywhere. After a week of not having Mark to follow, Sam was so depressed that he looked like he was going to die of sadness.

    After a quick talk, we started looking, and found Rose at a Beagle rescue place. She’s half Beagle and we believe half Red Tick. She was obviously abused by someone. She’s slowly getting over that. Only problem, she’s still teething. We are going through rawhide bones at a prodigious rate. Luckily in the past month the chewing has shown signs of starting to taper off…

    And we thing her other bad habit has been conquered too. She used to love chocolate. Chocolate isn’t good for puppies. The other day she managed to steal enough to make herself good and sick. She threw up in four or five places. If she reacts to chocolate like she reacted to nearly loosing her nose to a cat…

    So yes, tooth marks everywhere. But we love them. In fact I’m typing this with both of them curled up next to me on the love seat. It’s a big crowded, but everybody is happy.


  3. Wayne, my condolences on your losses–but how neat that Sam now has Rose to “train” to be a proper dog. *s* Being crowded by fur-kids is no hardship, is it?

  4. Pingback: Woof Wednesday: A Big Hairy Deal « Amy Shojai's Blog

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