My dog chews everything, even the electrical cords. What can I do to stop this?

April 13, 2012

Dogs chew a lot. Sinking the teeth in anything chew worthy is the favorite pastime of Fido and company. Chewing does have some benefits for the dog. Chewing anything will provide the dog relief from boredom. This activity strengthens the gums and prevents the buildup of dental disease-causing tartar. Teething puppies chew a lot as the activity eases the soreness of the gums. Dogs though are mean chewers. Dogs that are left in the house with no toys to play with will become a one-dog demolition team. The carpet will be chewed; the owner’s favorite sneakers will bear the teeth marks of the pet. The new couch and the leg of the antique furniture will not be spared. It would be understandable if the dog owner freaks out. The things chewed and destroyed by the dog can be replaced or repaired. Dog owners should be more concerned if the dog has taken to tasting electrical cords. The chewing habit can put the life of the pet at risk.

What happens when the pet has chosen an electrical cord to test the sharpness of its teeth? Electric shock! The roof of the mouth, the tongue or any other part of the mouth that comes in contact with the inner wire of the cord will be burned. The burned area will redden and become irritated but the full extent of the burn will only be seen after a few days when the burned tissues slough off. The burned dog will be lethargic, and would have no appetite for days. That’s not all. A minor electric shock will already affect the heart. Severe shock can have a serious effect on the lungs of the dog. The current can travel to the lungs and destroy blood vessels. After a few days a slow leak of fluid will fill the lungs making it difficult for the dog to breathe.

Chewing electric cord is potentially life threatening for the dog. Electric shock can cause respiratory problems and cardiac arrest that can result to the death of the pet. Even if the dog’s injuries are minor a vet’s attention will be very necessary given that injuries sustained by the lung and the heart cannot be seen. The dog owner can do some first aid. It would be kind of difficult but the burned mouth of the pet must be washed with water. The burning process will be stopped with cold water. Washing the burned mouth would be necessary to ward off infection. Severely burned dogs would be in shock. The weak dog would breathe very fast and may lose consciousness. The pet must be taken to a vet STAT. With prompt medical attention, the life of the dog can be saved.

When it comes to maintaining the health and the safety of the pet, prevention would still be the best option. Dogs make wonderful pets but apart from being very active, these animals do have inherent behaviors that can be destructive. Chewing is a natural behavior of a dog thus it would not be a good idea to curb the dog’s inclination to chew. It is the responsibility of a dog owner to provide the pet with safe chew toys and to make the home dog proof. Dogs do not know that these electrical cords are dangerous. To protect the pet, the cords must be incased in plastic tubing if doing so would not mar the appearance of the home. The cords can be taped to the wall or hidden behind furniture to keep them out of the pet’s reach. Coating electrical cords with Tabasco or spraying bitter apple and other unpleasant tasting substances is a good way of preventing life threatening injuries arising from the dog’s indiscriminate chewing behavior.

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