Christmas is coming, and although it’s an amazing time for us humans, sometimes we are so involved in the preparations, that we forget about the hazards to our pets. There are many dangers that can cause major problems for our pets, with one in particular, the Christmas post, being delivered through your letterbox, bringing envelopes and packets containing small plastic items and inedible products. Dogs are often at home during the mail delivery and if your pet is prone to inappropriate chewing, this can cause a serious hazard to the health and wellbeing of your dog, especially if he swallows or potentially chokes on anything he chews. Christmas cards are often adorned with glitter, ribbon bows and small bells and almost everyone at this time of the year orders gifts online for home delivery.
Destructive and unwanted chewing by puppies
Unacceptable chewing is fairly commonplace among young pups and arises from the fact that they use their mouths as a method of exploring their world. Chewing is standard puppy behaviour, but it becomes unwanted when it’s aimed at your personal objects, such as furniture, shoes and even the mail that comes through your letterbox. If unacceptable chewing habits are not corrected early, enormous destruction of personal property can ensue, together with medical problems for your dog.
Teething in puppies, just like humans, is a painful process and as their gums become irritated, they discover that chewing can alleviate some of the pain. If this inappropriate chewing isn’t caught early, it may develop into an annoying, long standing problem in your adult dog. Chewing in older dogs can be a symptom of boredom and can also relieve frustration and mild anxiety.
Prevention measures to stop your dog chewing the post letters
Although one of the best preventions is obviously to teach and train your pet not to respond to the Postman’s visit, there are cages that you can purchase to fit over your letterbox on the inside of the door. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. A metal post box can be fixed outside onto an exterior wall that the Postie will place your letters into this, meaning you can even seal up your door letterbox.
- Dog proof the house and store away valuable items until you are totally happy that your dog’s chewing action is restricted to his toys, bones and other appropriate items. Make it easier for your dog to be successful.
- Provide an assortment of his own inedible chew bones and toys. Introduce new toys every few days so he doesn’t become bored.
- Try to identify the time of day that your pooch will most likely begin to chew – such as the arrival of the Postman. At this time, give your dog a toy that is likely to grab his attention for some time.
- Try to supervise your dog for most of the time that is possible, to disengage him when he begins to chew, and praise him when he chews his toys.
- If you can’t be at home with your pet, consider using a baby gate to restrain him in one particular place, obviously giving him plenty of his own items that he is allowed to chew.
Remember that a tired dog is a well-behaved dog! Spend time exercising and playing with your dog on a regular basis. If you cannot walk your dog due to work and social commitments, engage the help of a registered, trained dog walker. Spending quality, one on one time with your dog not only expends the energy your dog might otherwise direct to unwanted and destructive chewing, but it will also reinforce the human – animal bond.