Having a pet that chews or scratches your furniture is no laughing matter. Repairs, if they can be done at all, can be costly and some items just can’t be replaced if they were unique or of sentimental value.
That makes prevention much better than cure for this particular problem!
Young animals, puppies and kittens particularly, generally don’t know any better and while their teeth and claws are developing they will have overwhelming urges that require you to actively manage them by controlling their environment and providing alternatives for them to tuck into.
As an animal gets older and goes past the uncontrollable urges of development, any tendency to damage your belongings can have its root in other causes.
Boredom is one of the biggest dangers. Many families have no choice but for most members of them to be out for a significant part of the day, leaving dogs particularly, who can’t be let out to roam like cats, with a need to amuse themselves.
Even if you’re in most of the time, you probably shouldn’t flatter yourself that your presence is enough to keep your pet stimulated!
Animals need toys and if they can provide a bit of a challenge, all the better. Even if there’s a veritable horde of toys cluttering up your carpet you need to give a bit of thought occasionally to whether they might have just got a bit bored of them… Once that squeaker’s been extracted or all of the stuffing is gone, maybe there’s just not enough fascination left.
A toy with treats inside that you can hide for them to sniff out will have greater entertainment value and comes with a built-in reward! And don’t forget the power of catnip for keeping felines occupied.
Bear in mind too that boredom can set in when an animal, particularly a dog, doesn’t feel like it’s been exercised enough. Dogs should sleep for a fair proportion of the day, but they need to have done a suitable amount of exercise for their size to feel satisfied and reduce the risk of demonstrating frustration-related behaviour. Ask your vet or have a chat with us in-store about how much is enough exercise for your pet.
If they have got stuck into your sofa or gnawed on the dining table legs, you can take steps to stop it happening again. There are anti-chew sprays available to do that job.
And, hard as it may, don’t be tempted to scold your pet when you come home and find the furniture has been at their mercy. It may have happened hours ago and they won’t associate your bad mood with that activity. Instead, present them with a toy and praise them for getting stuck into it, positively reinforcing the behaviour you want from them.
Like many aspects of being a pet owner, it takes commitment from you to help them understand their place in your home, but when you get it right it’s better for both of you.