What is adolescent chewing?
Adolescent chewing (or exploratory chewing as it is also known) commonly occurs in dogs between puppyhood and adulthood at 7-12 months of age.
This chewing stage can last for up to 6 months.
Adolescent chewing is different from puppy teething since it happens after all the needle-like puppy teeth have fallen out. Adolescent dogs often have an uncontrollable urge to chew. This could be because of discomfort in their gums as their adult teeth are settling into the jawbone.
This kind of chewing also occurs as the young dog is attempting to find out about his environment and discover new things.
Other reasons for chewing:
An unbalanced diet – if a dog does not have enough calcium in his diet, for example, he may try to compensate by chewing stones or plaster. Puppies and dogs of all ages should be fed a balanced diet, according to their age, weight, health status and the amount of exercise they receive. You should consult your vet for advice on the best diet to feed your dog.
Attention-seeking – if your dog learns that by picking something up in his mouth (such as a TV remote control) you get up and chase him round the room, he will quickly learn that this is a great way to get your attention.
Distress at being left alone – some dogs cannot cope with being separated from their owners and can be destructive when left.
Puppy teething – occurs from 3-7 months of age. During this time, puppies have an uncontrollable urge to chew things to relieve some of the discomfort in their gums. Chewing also facilitates the removal of puppy teeth, and the eruption of the adult set. Giving the dog chewable treats, such as bully sticks will also help keep the dog busy and focused on one thing.
Boredom – Dogs that are left alone for long periods or receive inadequate mental and physical stimulation are likely to become bored. Working breeds, such as Springer Spaniels, that have naturally high activity levels become easily bored in the wrong home, which can lead to destructive behaviour when left.
Young dogs that have been kennelled during their adolescent months, and therefore prevented from carrying out normal chewing and exploratory behaviours, will often chew when they then go to live in a normal home environment.
This can occur with dogs that have been kept in barren quarantine, rescue, working or boarding kennels. In these dogs the adolescent chewing stage may be prolonged.
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