If you're like most dog people, your dog probably has more toys than your kids do! You've bought all sorts of great chew toys designed to tempt and entertain your dog for hours on end. Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, so an assortment of chew toys should keep her from training her attention on your home, right? Well, if you're noticing sections of chewed-up carpet, this approach might not be working for you. Dogs chew and lick carpet for a number of reasons, and understanding those reasons can help you to stop the behavior.
If your puppy starts to chew on your carpet, it could be because he's teething. According to WebMD's pet section, as puppies lose their baby teeth, they experience pain that can intensify their desire to chew on anything and everything. Usually, this ends by the time your puppy turns 6 months old.
Do you think your puppy may be teething? If so, you can give him special toys to help relieve the pain and satisfy his need to chew. A frozen wet washcloth often works well, and you can buy a variety of dog toys that are made to be frozen for this specific purpose. Remember, too, that while your puppy may instinctively want to chew, you can still redirect him to appropriate toys, rather than letting him chew on anything he pleases until he's done teething.
If your dog isn't getting enough exercise, she may see chewing or ripping up the carpet as a way to get rid of some of that extra energy. In short, your dog is bored, so she's looking for a way to stimulate her mind and body. If you're working long hours and your dog is home alone, you may notice that the chewing gets worse until you're home on the weekends and are able to give her plenty of attention.
WebMD suggests that you find ways to keep your dog active and entertained. Luckily, there are many ways to do this. You might try to increase your dog's activity level by incorporating more walks and outings each day. Other solutions include enrolling her in some training classes, taking part in a high-energy sport like agility, finding a place where she can safely play off-leash with other dogs, and feeding her using a puzzle toy so she expends more energy even while eating meals. If you have to be at work for long periods of time, consider hiring a dog sitter to come to your house or enrolling your dog in doggy day care.
Stress or frustration
Sometimes, dogs who are feeling stressed or frustrated take it out on your carpet. Dogs may feel stressed by any number of events, such as other pets that pester or threaten them or watching other dogs outside through a window. Dogs may also experience separation anxiety when you leave them home alone.
Treating a dog who's chewing because of stress generally means that you'll need to anticipate when he'll perform the behavior and redirect his energy to a more appropriate activity. In some cases, you may be able to avoid the stressful situation by making some changes to your home or routine. A canine behaviorist can help you to better understand the triggers of your dog's stress or frustration, as well as how to address them.
Getting to a solution
In order to stop your dog from chewing the carpet, you need to determine what's causing the behavior in the first place. Your vet can help you to rule out any potential physical issues that could be causing her to chew the carpet.
PetMD says that your vet will start by asking you some questions about your dog's history, when the problem started, and the circumstances that surround her destructive behavior. Then, your vet may perform a physical examination along with some tests such as a urinalysis, a thyroid function test, and a complete blood count. The results of these tests can identify physical issues that could cause your dog's behavior. If nothing physical is found, your vet may recommend that you consult with a canine behaviorist to come up with a plan to address your dog's behavior.
Preserving your carpet
As you work to identify the reason behind your dog's chewing, you'll still need to preserve your carpet. Consider crate training your dog or keeping him in another room when you're not available to supervise him. You can redirect his attention to appropriate toys, and there are a number of antichew sprays you can apply to your carpet to make it taste less appetizing to him.