Most of the time, puppies are extra curious and excited about the things surrounding them. You might see them chewing, nipping, or even swallowing all sorts of things in the house like a dog toy, small and random items, pebbles in the garden, or even grass. While this behavior may not appear harmful, it actually could cause choking or poisoning. Before anything terrible happens, we suggest discouraging this behavior as early as you can. Find out how to stop your puppy from eating everything in our short discussion below.
Why Do Puppies Love Chewing or Eating Things?
Chewing and nipping are two common behaviors of young dogs. This means that it’s one of the leading challenges that dog owners deal with when they bring home a new and juvenile dog. Young dogs often use their mouths to explore their new environment.
In most cases, they end up eating whatever they put into their mouths. Dogs usually outgrow these urges after a couple of months, so it’s not a cause for concern for many dog owners. However, this specific behavior can also stem from other issues such as:
Pica is an actual condition among animals that compels them to ingest inedible items like pebbles, metals, and plastic. Veterinarians explain that this usually stems from a psychological problem.
However, there are some instances when pica occurs because of malnutrition or other medical issues. If you observe symptoms of pica like swallowing random items, vomiting, and lethargy, we recommend taking your pup to the vet clinic. It’s essential to act fast because pica could lead to various serious health problems such as:
- Difficulty pooping
- Stomach ulcers
- Tarry or bloody stools
- Abdominal pain
Sometimes a pup’s odd chewing or eating behavior stems from sore gums. When your pup’s teeth begin to come out, he might try soothing the pain by trying different textures like the smoothness of an upholstered chair or the softness of a plush pillow. To help your pup cope with the sore and painful gums, you can give him frozen treats like fruits or veggies. You can also try using bully sticks, dog chew toys, and treat dispensers.
When a pup feels bored, all hell breaks loose. Besides barking for hours, he might start chewing or gnawing everything he sees around him, like your newly-bought sneakers or your favorite carpet. If you have a bored pup, you can try doing quick fixes like:
- Tire your dog out by running around the yard or playing with his favorite toy
- Take him out for a walk if you have started his socialization training
- Stimulate his brain by taking him to a doggy daycare
- Make playtime more awesome with new and exciting dog toys
If the behavior doesn’t stem from any of the three factors above, then you should consider checking your dog’s diet. Find out if your dog is getting enough nutrients from his meals. The American Kennel Club suggests the following feeding schedule for a puppy:
- 6-12 weeks: Up to four puppy-formulated meals a day for average size pups
- 3-6 months: Around three feedings per day, depending on the pup’s body size proportions
- 6-12 months: No more than two times a day, especially for spayed or neutered dogs
- One year and above: Maximum of two half-portions of dog food each day
How to Stop a Pup From Eating Everything
In most cases, an odd feeding behavior stems from any of the four factors we discussed above. To know the best course of action you should use, you will need to take a step back and understand what led to this response. It might arise from just one of the four things we mentioned. However, it’s also possible to notice a combination of reasons behind bad puppy behavior.
Whatever caused the issue, you can correct it by following the tips we discussed. It would also help if you started instilling discipline. You can try the following puppy training tips to teach your dog how to stop eating or chewing everything he sees:
Introduce a new command
Besides crate training your pup and teaching basic commands, you can also try introducing the command “leave it”. This comes in extra handy in stopping your dog from swallowing non-food items around the house.
Visit a vet and rule out possible medical conditions
If you think your dog’s behavior stems from something psychological or medical, you can always consult with a vet doctor. It can help you identify and address problems like nutrition deficiencies or even pica.
Provide mental stimulation during feeding time
Sometimes it’s helpful to keep your dog mentally stimulated. It prevents him from getting bored and makes his life more fun and exciting. You can do this even during mealtimes by using a slow feeding bowl for dogs.
Tidy up your dog’s playpen and get rid of items he might swallow
Minimize choking hazards by getting rid of small items scattered on the ground like pencil erasers, fabric balls, raw or cooked bones, and kid’s toys. Keep these things in a hard-to-reach area of the house.
Use a nice distraction
Keep your dog’s attention away from chewing non-edible items by distracting them. As soon as you see them pick up things in their mouth, call your pup’s attention. Then, once he shifts his focus on you, hand him a toy or perhaps a yummy and nutritious treat. You can repeat this technique every time you catch your dog attempting to chew or ingest something.
Puppy Training Lessons for a Well-behaved Puppy
Besides using all the tips and insights we listed above, you can also try training your pup. It’s a long-term solution that will help him learn basic puppy lessons like sitting properly or acting prim and proper while walking in the park.
You can do this on your own. But if you have a temperamental puppy, you might want to try enrolling your beloved canine in a professional puppy training lesson here at Delaware K9 Academy. We have been working with puppies in all shapes and sizes for years. Besides helping your dog learn not to chew or eat random items, you can also instill other basic canine skills like socialization or crate training.
We would love to welcome your wide-eyed puppy into our training program! Contact us at Delaware K9 Academy today for more details on our puppy training classes.