How to Stop Your Pet from Chewing on Power Cords

July 9, 2014

chew power cordBy Langley Cornwell

Lately, my social media feed has been dotted with people complaining about their pets chewing on power cords. I didn’t pay much attention at first because this, fortunately, isn’t a problem in my household. But the more I saw mention of it, the more concerned I became.

One of our dogs was a terrible chewer at first. If we left anything on the ground or at eye level, no matter what it was, she would tear it up if we weren’t careful. I can’t bear to think of all the mauled shoes, books, eyeglasses and baseball caps we threw away. But somehow, through it all, she never turned her attention to the tangle of electrical cords in my office.

Any type of inappropriate chewing is a problem, but when your pet latches onto a power cord, things get serious. Sure, fixing a damaged electrical cord is an expensive proposition; of course you don’t want to have to rewire that lamp or purchase a new power cord for your computer. But more importantly, you don’t want to have to take your dog to the veterinarian, or worse. Chewing on a power cord could cause your pet serious injury or even electrocution.

Taking it back to the source, I asked for firsthand advice from my animal-loving online friends. Their tips for stopping a pet from chewing on power cords fell into several general categories.

Cover the Cords

There are commercial products designed specifically for this purpose. With some brands, the cord covers are infused with bitter-tasting deterrents to further ensure that your pets stay away. My clever online friends offered a few homemade, DIY ideas that would also do the trick. Some people thread the cords through a garden hose, PVC pipe or electrical conduit piping. Other suggestions include covering the cords with double-sided tape, rubber stripping, bubble wrap or aluminum foil.

Anything that offers an additional layer of interference between a live wire and your pet’s teeth will work, mainly because it provides you with time to intervene, before the chewing gets destructive and dangerous.

Spray the Wires

chew power cord 2Pet shops and supermarkets offer sprays designed to discourage your pet from chewing on things. These usually work, but you can whip up an equally effective solution from things you probably already have on hand. A simple blend of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water will keep most pets away from your electrical wires.

Combine the ingredients into a spray bottle and douse the cord. Beforehand, it’s wise to make sure the protective coating surrounding the wires is intact so the liquid doesn’t seep into small cracks and crevices. Alternatively, I heard success stories involving premade hot sauces like Tabasco, Red Rooster Sauce or Sriracha.

If you make a homemade spray, be sure the concoction is concentrated enough to do the job. Cover the cords liberally and reapply on a regular basis.

Distract the Pet

Some of my friends use distraction techniques to stop their animals from chewing. Recommendations included blasting a can of compressed air that makes a loud noise, shaking a metal container filled with pennies, or squirting the pet with water. While undoubtedly effective, you have to catch the animal in the act for these deterrents to work.

Reward Good Behavior

When you catch your dog or cat looking wistfully at the power cords or nosing them and then walking away, reward the behavior with a CANIDAE Grain Free Pure treat. Consistent reinforcement of good behavior will go a long way.

If you face this common challenge, try one or a combination of these suggestions. Please also remember that pets sometimes chew because they are bored. Take a look at your animal’s living arrangements and evaluate if he or she is getting enough exercise, stimulation and interaction.

Are your pets chewers? If so, can you offer suggestions to stifle the behavior of chewing on power cords?

Top photo by Meme Binge
Bottom photo by Quinn Dombrowski

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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  1. Tech Attire says:

    You can purchase animal bites cable protectors to wrap around the cables. Not only will this material keep your cat or dog away it also. Say goodbye to tangled cables!

  2. Pat Holland says:

    My 9 year old Aussie Shepard has taken to chewing my phone chargers while im sleeping. I cant kennel him. Geeze

  3. Woody says:

    Solution for all dog or puppy problems.

    No chewing through cables, no grabbing anything that’s not his, in fact no damage at all! No worrying about leaving him loose outside, no worrying about our garden being dug up and plants ruined, no worries about him spoiling our meals at the table.

    We have a large front yard separated by fences and gates, concrete blocks under the ground, dog proof, there he has his own house for a shelter along with HIS food & water, own toys etc.

  4. nicole says:

    I have a yorkie who is almost 4 months and will not stop chewing on our cable nailed on the wall. idk what else to do

  5. Elizabeth says:

    These are some good ideas, I stopped my German Shepherd puppy from chewing my rocking chair by applying habenero pepper sauce on the rockers. Only one taste and he was cured. On the other hand my Toy Fox terrier chews electric cords if they are any place near one of her toys. She will go to the extent of placing her toy next to them for an excuse to chew them. If I put the habenero sauce on them my grandchild may contact it and burn her eyes or mouth. She has taken out the internet 3x, don’t know why she is still alive. We’ve removed all her toys, but my son went out of town last week and when he came home his computer charger cord was chewed so badly there was several inches of bare wire exposed. We thought the problem was just the toys. Don’t know what to do. She was obviously mad cause he didn’t take her, she has traveled extensively.

  6. Eric says:

    I have a 2 year old yellow lab. To date he has chewed 14 major wires. The underside of my wife and my cars rear brakes and indicators wires, twice. The main cable cord underground from house to cable station, the main outside powercord dug up and chewed going to outside lamp posts, all the wires that support 2 entire AC/Heat units outdoors, the dog fence wires, 3 times, and anything else that is chewable that is outside. Inside, he is permanently confined to the kitchen, or he will eat chew, every lamp, tv, computer or power cord in the entire house. Apple and pepper are not an option, would have to cover 400 yards of cords. Any suggestions?

    1. Bruce Turnbull says:

      I feel your pain, I have a 9 mo. old chocolate lab that has destroyed a lot, but has most recently begun chewing the wires and brake lines under cars, I don’t know what to do other that keep kenneled when Im not around

    2. Donna says:

      Some great ideas! I have a can if Bitter Apple in the pantry! Will try that first! Thanks!!

    3. Beverley Fulton says:

      Sadly you could try a muzzle or cage the dog when you are not home. I have used pepper spray in the past but it washes off in the rain. Try petroleum jelly or similar then pour chilli flakes on the jelly. It lasts longer. Good luck.

  7. I have tried many things to get my pup to stop chewing, and yet I still found myself buying at least one new chord a month. He will chew it up through a case, find it in my backpack or get it when it is most vulnerable, connected to my phone. He is about to be 6 months old and finally he is beginning to grow out of it. At least I hope he is. We really started working with him by rewarding good behavior and that is when the change began to become more clear! Thanks for haring!

  8. april dailey says:

    My dog chews on everything and I have tried everything. Nothing. Works he is 13 weeks old

  9. we just got this puppy for my granddaughter and i was told to use this spray called tea tree oil have you heard of it and does it work.

    1. Erin says:

      Tea tree oil can be lethal to dogs, I’d stay away from it

  10. Yvonne says:

    My new dog has for the second time chewed the outside cable. This time I wrapped it in electrical tape and added hotsauce spray to it. Hopefully this works .. if not. I bought some pvc pipe to thread the cable through.

  11. Rochelle says:

    We have a 3 month rescue who is just chewing every cable she can get her hands on. Our 16 month old dog never did this as a pup and at a loss. as soon as buy replacement cables, she’s on them straight away…Any tips?

    1. Barry Morris says:

      Hi, we have had our rescue for 3wks and she was chewing every cord in sight and it was expensive. I bought 50ft of clear flexible tubing off of Amazon and covered cords entirely. It’s working so far. You will have to slit one side with scissors and place it over the cord.

  12. Donna says:

    My three month old pup chewed through my TV cable cord that was just installed 24 hrs ago by the cable company.

    He chewed through the white plastic covering, chewed through the fibre wires left the copper exposed.

    Not sure Wat to tell the cable guys wen I call.

    Please help. Can I fix this on my own?

  13. Willg says:

    So I tried the lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper. My dog not only instantly started licking a paper Towle covered in the mixture but proceeded to take it from me and play with it 🙂 grrrrrrr damn dog.

    1. David Aguirre says:

      Try using Jalapeño. Cut a Jalapeño, raw, and rub it on the areas that you don’t want the dog to chew on. It will burn his mouth, and will get a negative reinforcement, there fore will avoid the area. Don’t dilute the pepper, just cut it and rub it on the cable. Be careful you don’t rub your eyes afterwards. Good Luck.

  14. tanya says:

    My foxy chewed the power cord whle it was on I was quick to turn power of he survived the shock but still chews the cords he is3yrs old and this is the first time he’s done this

  15. Mallory Hoyt says:

    I have a puppy. She is 3 months old. She loves to chew up phone cords, phones, basically anything that she can get her mouth on. She has PLENTY of chew toys. Need advise on how to fix this problem

  16. Abby says:

    I just recently ran into a problem with my dog- we got a new house with a yard so that she would have room to run, & we fenced it in with the electric fence with the beeping collar, which works beautifully. She had chewed on my laptop power cord before, but nothing for months after that. Recently though, she’s started chewing on the power cord on the under side of my husband’s old truck while she’s outside. She’s a year old now, indoor/outdoor, well behaved for the most part, & she’s got plenty of space in the yard. We’ve made sure to have toys & sticks available for her, & we let her in with us for the majority of the day- this is an obnoxious, dangerous, expensive problem I don’t know how to fix. We only have an open car port, so we can’t just shut it in a garage or anything…any suggestions would be great. I’ll try dosing it with hot sauce, but I need training tips on how to make her stop thinking of the truck as a chew toy at all. We’ve punished her for it, but she’s stubborn.

  17. I had experienced that before. When my dog was still a pup he chewed my mum’s favorite shoes and then there was a time that he chewed our power cord. I think it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. Good thing that he’s no longer chewing things now.

  18. we don’t have cord chewers here and have been lucky even with the foster kittens (though we make sure to keep them as hidden as possible)