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Destructive Furniture Chewing
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lylly41 posted:
I have a 2 year old dalmatian who about a year ago started chewing my parents furniture. It started when i went on a cruise for 2 weeks and left her with a dog sitter at my parents house with 2 older dalmatians. The older ones would sleep all day and she started to chew the furniture. I bought some bitter yuck spray and sprayed the area and put her nose in the hole she chewed in the couch and scolded her. She continued to chew the couch while i was at work even with the bitter yuck sprayed on the chewed area. The behavior stopped for a while and I thought she grew out of it. She however started it up again and now my parents have new furniture i really dont want her to ruin. She has lots of bones and toys to chew, but for some reason she wants the couch. Any ideas?
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AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
It sounds as though your pet my be exhibiting signs of separation anxiety. It is sadly too common and can be difficult to control but not impossible. I would first recommend that you have your dog examined by your primary care veterinarian to be sure that medically she is OK. I would not recommend that you scold her for her destructive behavior after the fact. Even though she may appear guilty, she really doesn't understand why you are upset. Separation anxiety is similar to panic attacks that peopel experience. You wouldn't reprimand a person for a panic attack, we shouldn't do it to our dogs.

There are medications that can assist in taking the edge off but it needs to be combined with behavioral modification techniques. It may be necessary for you to contact a veterinarian who is specially trained in behavioral issues. Your veterinarian can recommend one. A good website to learn more about separation anxiety is http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=3144

I hope this helps. Please seek assistance in the near future. I know how frustrating this can be. Your pet is crying out for health...
Dr. Bernadine Cruz


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