How to Help Pets With Destructive Behavior
Now that you are in your new home, your pet has started using your new leather sofa as a scratching post or chew toy. Yikes! Emergency intervention is required!
Destructive Behavior in Dogs
First, you need to understand that it is normal for puppies to use their mouths to chew and bite as part of exploring their surroundings.
They don’t have opposable thumbs, so they use their mouth. You can stop their furniture-chewing by correcting them only if “caught in the act” and then substituting an appropriate chew toy.
Some destructive dogs may actually have a true medical condition called separation anxiety. When left alone, they house soil, chew walls and furniture, and bark and howl. Your dog should be evaluated by your veterinarian, who can prescribe medication and behavioral modification to help correct this emotional disorder.
Destructive Behavior in Cats
Cats generally destroy furniture either as a territorial marking behavior (urinating) or as a scratching behavior (exercise or marking). A new home, a new piece of furniture, a neighbor’s cat outside the window: All these things can tempt your usually well-behaved kitty to urinate on your furniture.
Your veterinarian may prescribe a pheromone spray or anti-anxiety medication for your cat to reduce their desire to mark. You should also supply substitute scratching posts to encourage your cat to use them instead of the furniture.
Euthanizing an otherwise healthy and beloved pet that scratches the furniture is not an option in my care.