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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