Sooner or later, every dog parent will find a beloved item chewed to pieces. Whether it’s a favorite pair of shoes, a purse, or (as in this weekend’s case in our household) a pair of prescription sunglasses, it will happen someday, no matter how well behaved your dogs and how carefully you put things away.
What should you do when you find your item chewed? Unless you catch your dog in the act of destruction, this is not a teachable moment. Your dog will not associate anything you say with his act of chewing and destroying your item; that’s in his past.
So what’s left for you to do is to make sure he’s OK and that this doesn’t happen again.
- First, make sure you have all the pieces of the chewed item. In the case of the destroyed sunglasses, we tracked down every last piece of plastic to make sure none had been swallowed. If you can’t find all the pieces, assume some has been swallowed. If there’s a lot of missing material or it it’s something other than leather, call your vet.
- Make sure your dog is OK. Although it’s not such a problem with leather items, if he’s been chewing on plastic or metal, make sure he hasn’t sustained any injuries. Check for cuts in his mouth and on his tongue and for broken teeth.
- Be sure that in the future you don’t confuse your dog by giving him toys in the shape of items you don’t want chewed. Although it wasn’t an issue with the glasses, this would definitely be something to consider if our dogs had chewed up a shoe. If you don’t want your shoes chewed, don’t give your dog a shoe to chew on–even if it’s just a toy shaped like a shoe.
- Live and learn…then laugh about it. Lesson learned: don’t wear sunglasses on your head where they can fall off…and be discovered by those a lot closer to the ground than we are!