Electrical Cords: Do Not Make Good Chew Toys for Pets
If you have invited a dog or cat into your home, you have probably experienced them chewing on things you wish they had not—your favorite shoes, furniture, or the door frame. Most take such behavior in stride as a normal part of pet ownership, but when a pet chews on electrical cords it is a safety hazard and the results can be disastrous.
Why Do Pets Chew on Things?
Animals chew on objects for several reasons.
- It is thought that puppies and kittens chew on things to relieve the pain associated with teething. Chewing is particularly intense during the early stages of life.
- Relief from nervousness. Dogs and cats have behaviors similar to human personalities. Vets even diagnosis pets with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Pent-up nervousness often leads pets to chew on whatever is close by.
- Mistaken identity. Sometimes pets will chew on things because they look edible or smell like their favorite people.
Electrical Cords Are Dangerous Chew Toys!
If a pet chews on electrical cords, the consequences can be disastrous.
- Electricity causes the same sort of damage in animals as it does in humans. It will give the pet a jolt and can result in burns, internal damage, seizures, and death.
- Exposed, frayed wires can lead to the same harm to humans who might step on it.
- Frayed wires might lead to damaged equipment or in extreme cases, a house fire.
Pets chewing on electrical cords can be an accident in the making, but how can you stop this behavior?
Physical Deterrents to Chewing
An obvious way to keep pets from chewing on electrical cords is to separate the cords and the pet as much as possible.
- Hide the cords as much as possible, making sure they are out of sight; reroute cords behind furniture and over doors if necessary. Remove unnecessary cords and unplug appliances that are not in use. It might not prevent them from chewing, but at least they will come to no harm.
- Anything that dangles will be irresistible for pets, especially cats. Yeah, cats can’t resist dangling cords. Please do your part by removing the temptation and securing wires to the wall or furniture. Cord clips will help you secure them.
- Crate your pet, close doors, or use pet gates to limit access to areas with significant cords while you are away from home.
Other Deterrents to Chewing
Okay, you minimized your pet’s exposure to electrical cords, but you still have electrical cords within reach of your pets. What else can you do?
- Train your pet. Dogs respond well to a sharp “leave” command. Cats, well give it a try.
- If your pet just cannot resist chewing, spray the cord with a harmless but unpleasant substance with a smell or taste that your pet will avoid. Cats do not like menthol. Neither cats nor dogs like vinegar. Chili paste will also give them pause before they try again. If none of these work, your pet store will have a commercial deterrent spray with a harmless but potent smell.
- Play with the pet. Some pets chew because they are nervous. Some pets chew because they are bored. Provide an alternative chew toy, something squishy, or something containing a treat. Make sure your pet gets the exercise they need to use pent-up energy.
If the problem persists, install GFCI outlets in areas where pets chew electrical cords. It will not save the cord, but it will protect your pet and others from harm.
Have Your Pets Made Chew Toys of Your Electrical Cords?
Damaged electrical cords are a big fire hazard that can lead to costly damage from a house fire.
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