Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Chewing and Lack of Barking

Question from Charlene in Smyrna:
I have a 2 year lab/pitbull name Rocky. He is the most lovable dog and gets along with everyone and he's very good with the grandchildren. I have two concerns - one he chews up everything and he does not bark.

What can I to stop him from chewing everything and should I be concern that he does not bark?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
I would not be concerned that Rocky is not vocal. Unless you want him to be a watchdog, I've always considered a quiet dog a blessing. My dog was capable of barking, but she typically only made noise when in the presence of another barking dog. Rocky probably has the capacity to bark, but chooses to remain quiet. I do not think his lack of barking is a sign of an underlying problem.

With regards to Rocky's chewing habit, there is reason for concern. Not only is he likely to destroy valuable objects in your home, he is at risk for ingesting material that can be harmful to him. Chewing is a natural canine behavior, but it can be a sign of boredom. Labradors and pitbulls have a lot of energy. Rocky should have daily time outside for walks or playtime at a park. If he has an opportunity to release his energy outdoors, he will be less likely to be destructive.

Provide Rocky with safe chew toys such as Kongs filled with treats or peanut butter. If he does not have stomach upset from rawhide, you can provide large rawhide toys for him to chew on while being supervised. Be careful to make sure Rocky does not try to swallow a large piece of rawhide. Keeping Rocky in a crate while you are not at home can also help ensure he does not chew household items. With proper mental stimulation and exercise, Rocky's chewing habit should improve.

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Posted May 3, 2009

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