Do you have an aggressive chewer that tears your drywall? If so, you should know how to protect drywall from dog before the damage becomes extensive. Dogs are like kids, but instead of writing on the wall, they will chew through it. The good thing is that you can do something to protect your walls from the damage. Take note that aside from protecting your property, you should also tackle the cause of chewing.
Is drywall consumption dangerous for dogs?
Any foreign matter isn’t supposed to be eaten by your dog. So if your dog is chewing and snacking on your drywall, you have to do something.
Drywalls are made of gypsum board, which is a combination of paper and an additive. Such an additive can be resin, mica, or clay. All of these are digestive irritants that shouldn’t be consumed by your dog.
Also, drywall materials don’t digest inside your dog’s tummy. If the pooch happened to consume a lot, it could lead to intestinal blockages. And due to the chemicals used in producing drywall material, it can be potentially poisonous.
Most standard drywall isn’t known for toxic substances. However, some drywall can contain a chemical called asbestos. This is poisonous for both dogs and humans, especially during prolonged exposure and consumption.
The good thing is that most modern drywall materials no longer contain asbestos. Still, drywall isn’t for canine consumption.
Dogs that ingest and inhales drywall dust can get very sick. For dogs with lingering health problems, the reaction will be far more intense. Unless you want emergency trips to the vet, I suggest that you protect your drywall even before your dog chews it.
10 Tips to Protect Your Drywall From Dogs
To stop your dog from chewing or scratching the drywall, the following tips will help a lot.
1. Make it taste bad
For aggressive chewers, a bitter apple spray will be your bosom buddy. This spray is made of natural and safe ingredients with a bitter taste. Spraying a small amount on your drywall will help discourage your pet from even licking it. Over time, your dog will leave the drywall alone even if you have stopped spraying the bitter apple.
Other dog owners improvise by mixing chili powder with water. This will work, but the chili will surely irritate your dog’s mouth. Aside from that, the chili will stain your drywall. It’s the same reason why I prefer bitter apple sprays. It’s colorless but very effective as a chewing deterrent.
2. Divert the behavior
Dogs that chew drywall are often bored and lonely. To prevent this from happening, you should keep the dog busy with toys. You should also provide chew toys where it can divert the behavior.
Take note that some breeds like Labradors, Beagles, Golden Retrievers, and Border Collie have a higher tendency to chew. This is due to the nature of their breed. To curb this, you should let the dog chew but away from the drywall.
Also, I just want to warn you about choosing toys for your dogs. Make sure that it’s appropriately sized to reduce the choking hazard. Also, make sure that the toy doesn’t have toxic chemicals.
3. Block it with furniture
If you have an overeager canine, the best way to protect the drywall is by blocking it with furniture. Set up your cabinets, shelves, and tables against the drywall. This will block your dog’s access.
However, you should choose the furniture you’re going to place against the wall. Couches are no-nos because dogs can use it as a booster to reach the wall. Dressing tables and cupboards are the safest options here.
Still, you should watch out as some dogs will chew furniture instead if they can’t get into the wall. This is where the other deterrents listed here come in handy.
4. Crate train your dog
If you can’t trust your dog alone with the drywall, crate training is a very effective solution.
Crate training mimics a dog’s den in the wild. This will keep them calm and feeling secure while you’re away. It’s the most effective way to combat separation anxiety and destructive chewing.
Take note that crate training is a critical process. You should take it slowly and never force your dog to get in. Use positive reinforcement like food, playtime, and affection to associate the crate with a desirable experience.
Also, make sure that your dog’s crate is properly sized. It shouldn’t be too small or too large that there’s enough room for the pooch to eliminate.
5. Keep your dog tired.
A bored dog is a destructive dog. If you want to reduce your pet’s likelihood of chewing the drywall, you should take it on a long walk in the morning. After that, your doggo will be sleeping instead of targeting the drywall.
If you can’t take your dog outside, indoor playtime will do wonders here. Anything that will safely drain your pet’s extra energy will help keep its mind off the drywall.
Come up with a schedule so your dog will get used to it. This will also keep the drywall away from their habits.
6. Check for pests behind the wall
Is your dog barking or examining the drywall more than usual? There may be pests inside that are catching your dog’s attention. And since canines are curious, they chew their way through the wall to find out what’s causing the sound.
It could be mites, spiders, or even water leaks. Your dog’s keen sense of hearing allows him to hear what’s happening inside your drywall.
Avoid using pest sprays for indoor drywall. Your dog might chew the drywall again and get poisoned. Also, pest sprays have strong odors that could irritate the occupants of the house.
7. Brush up with training
Training helps correct almost any canine behavioral problems. You may need to brush up with your dog’s obedience training if it’s not leaving the drywall alone.
Commands like sit, stay, come, and leave it will save your drywall from damages. If your dog is aggressive or too stubborn for training, you can enlist the help of a professional dog trainer.
8. Install pet wall shields
Another option that you have is installing pet wall shields. These shields are made of durable plastic that prevents your dog from chewing right through the drywall. It’s available in transparent or decorated versions in case you want the added aesthetics.
We used to have these shields when our dog Sherlock was still teething. He seems to have an affinity to our drywall near the stairs, so we installed the plastic shields. It also doubled as a scratch shield when we got our cat, Watson.
However, you should note that these shields are only suitable for mild to moderate chewers. For an overeager dog, the shield may just be another easy picking. You still need to train the dog if you want a long-term solution.
9. Consider using a pet corrector.
Pet correctors also work well in discouraging negative behavior like scratching or chewing drywall. This works well for overeager and aggressive dogs that are hard to wean off a habit.
A pet corrector spray produces a hissing sound that mimics both dogs’ and cats’ hiss. When your dog hears this while trying to chew the drywall, it will be distracted.
While your dog will be taken aback by the hissing sound of pet correctors, you should still accompany this with training. Over time, your dog will learn that the hiss isn’t harmful and will soon ignore it.
10. Rule out Pica
If you have done all of these and your dog is still chewing the drywall, it’s best to consult the veterinarian. Your dog might be suffering from a condition called Pica.
Picas a condition that occurs to both humans and animals. It involves the consumption of inedible items like hair, plastic, fabric, dirt, and metal. This is a severe condition that can lead to poisoning if not addressed right away.
The cause of Pica is difficult to identify. It can be another health problem, poor diet, neurological issues, and more. Still, the vet can formulate a treatment plan to discourage your dog from chewing inedible objects. This usually includes calming medications.
Why do dogs chew drywall?
Dogs chew for a lot of reasons. If your pet keeps on gnawing your drywall, the following might be the reasons why:
- Separation anxiety. Dogs will chew just about anything when they are nervous and have nothing to get busy at. The fear and frustration will make a canine anxious. As your dog gets anxious, it will reach a tipping point and soon burst into chewing and barking.
- Escaping. Dogs who love the outdoors will try to escape when they are locked up. This is also the case if your pooch is trying to pursue a female canine in heat. Your dog thinks that chewing through your drywall will gain him freedom.
- Predatory instincts. If there are insects or water sounds behind the drywall, your dog will hunt for them by chewing. The sound behind the wall may be similar to what your dog hears outdoors when it chases after a stray animal.
- Seeking attention. Dogs often get our attention when they do something terrible. Chewing the drywall is no different from this. It’s essential to change your approach and train the dog so it won’t use chewing to solicit attention.
- Lack of physical and mental stimulation. Lastly, boredom will drive your dog to chew the drywall. Toys and ample exercise are the best ways to deal with this. A proper exercise schedule will also benefit your dog.
- Health problems. Poor diet, dental issues, and neurological problems may lead an adult dog to chew the drywall. It’s important to seek veterinary care for these conditions to prevent them from becoming worse.
Knowing how to protect drywall from dog chewing is simple with a few hacks. Aside from physical barriers, you should also train your dog as a long-term solution. Whatever method you choose, never punish or hurt your dog for chewing the wall. Violence will not help, and it will only make the problem worse.
Does your dog love chewing your drywall? How did you deal with it? Feel free to share your tips in the comment section!