How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing on Himself
It’s normal for dogs to chew or bite themselves occasionally. It’s just like scratching an itch – it can feel very relieving. The keyword here is “occasionally”.
If you have observed that your dog has bitten and chewed a part of his body to an extreme level, then it’s a cause for concern. He might be experiencing aches, pains, and soreness. So, how can you know for sure and how can you get your dog to stop chewing on himself?
Is Chewing on Himself a Sign of Ailment?
Is chewing a sign of sickness? In most cases no, but if your vet has determined that he is chewing himself because of body aches, then it is possible. As mentioned, chewing is like your dog’s coping mechanism. He does it to make himself feel better.
If the nibbling is, indeed, because of a painful body part, then it’s likely accompanied by restlessness or lethargy, and yelping when you attempt to touch the area.
On the other hand, it might just be a genuine itch caused by dry skin because of weather changes, parasites, allergies, or a skin infection. Since you missed to take a second look at your pet’s skin condition, the itch persists.
There are also cases where your dog feels so stressed and anxious that he is chewing on himself to cope. It’s common during a big move or when a new pet has been introduced into the household. In this case, there are plenty of changes or solutions that you can do depending on what the situation is.
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing on Himself
The first thing that you need to do is go to the vet to make sure that your dog is not chewing on himself to relieve pain. Your vet’s going to check the raw area and perform several tests to determine what the exact cause is.
If the possibility of your dog feeling pain has already been ruled out, then it’s likely that your vet will perform skin tests to identify the kind of skin infection your dog has. From there, antibacterial ointments or oral antibiotics might be prescribed depending on the severity of the infection.
In the case of a parasitic infestation, your veterinarian might prescribe a medicated soap. You can, then, manage the infestation at home. While doing so, make sure that you treat the other pets in your home as well. Don’t forget to sanitize your furniture (including all of your pet’s beds) and your entire house as parasite eggs might be all around.
It’s a similar case with skin allergies. You have to go to the vet so he or she can determine what your dog is likely allergic to. It could be the new dog food you’ve given or environmental factors such as pollen. In any case, your vet might give your dog antihistamines to stop him from scratching.
Home Management For Your Dog to Stop Chewing on Himself
All the other causes for nibbling (dry skin due to weather changes and anxiety) can be managed at home, without going to the vet.
For dry skin, it might be that the air in your home is too dry (common during winter time). Turn on your humidifier, and make sure that your dog has enough water to drink. As an extra protection, fit your dog into boots and clothing before he goes out. Doing this will also prevent him from being too exposed to allergens.
With anxiety, make sure that you are giving your dog enough attention. Take him out for exercise so he can vent out all of his stress into playing or walking. Also, establish a routine that you can follow strictly – feeding time should be consistent, as with bath time, training time and, playtime.