Puppies, much like human babies, will suckle on toys as a means to soothe themselves. Most grow out of this habit, but some dogs may continue it once they grow out of puppyhood. While it is not particularly harmful, it can be annoying if the dog latches onto inappropriate items.
Tip #1 - Schedule your puppy for a physical with her regular veterinarian. Suckling behavior may be an indication that the dog is in pain, and a checkup will eliminate that as a source of the behavior.
Tip #2 - Allow the mother to wean her puppies when she is ready. Removing the puppies from their mother too early may result in lasting suckling behavior. If the puppies have to be removed or have been orphaned, bottle-feed them until they are 5 to 6 weeks old, or are eating solid food and drinking from a bowl on their own.
Tip #3 - Replace soft, stuffed toys with firmer chew toys. Many puppies will not suck on hard toys, so removing stuffed toys from her basket may curb unwanted suckling behavior.
Tip #4 - Spray undesirable items with a chew deterrent spray. These sprays impart a sour or bitter flavor and will discourage most puppies from sucking or chewing on inappropriate objects.
Tip #5 - Add an additional play session to your puppy's normal routine. Some puppies suckle when they are bored, and extra play will keep the puppy mentally and physically stimulated.
By Louise Lawson
About the Author
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.