Dog seat belts are super important to keep them safe. But if you have a power chewer who’s decided that their seatbelt is a good chew toy, it’s putting them at risk. If you’re traveling with your dog on a regular basis, having them chew through their seatbelt can be a major distraction and, worse, could put them in serious danger. Here are a few ways to prevent your pup from causing havoc in the back seat.
1. Behavior Modification
Before you try anything else, the first thing you’ll need to understand as a pet parent is that many dogs experience anxiety when driving inside of a car. While many dogs are less stressed when restrained, some dogs might simply not know how to deal with their stress and take it out on their seat belt.
You can change your dog’s perspective on driving by easing them into it. Start by just getting your dog to jump into the car and stick around for a few moments without exhibiting signs of stress (like seatbelt chewing and whining). Once your pup seems calm, next, add the seat belt to the equation but don’t go driving around quite yet. While sitting in the unmoving car in their seatbelt, give them plenty of treats to help them associate positive feelings with being in the seatbelt.
Your goal is to keep your dog there only while calm and happy. Take it slow and go at your dog’s pace. Once your dog grows accustomed to sitting in the car while belted, then slowly work to short drives around the block.
2. Chew Toys
When training your dog to peacefully ride in a car, you might determine that your dog isn’t feeling anxious but simply bored. If your pup is just looking for something to do, consider tossing them a bone, literally. Help your dog associate positive things with car rides. If they are power chewers, put your dog in the car while unmoving with a few bones (or even a Kong). Repeat as needed until your dog stops going for their seatbelt.
3. Use a Chew Deterrent
If all else fails, another option that works for some dogs is a chew deterrent, such as bitter apple spray. These types of chew deterrents can be applied to fabrics such as seat belt straps and plastics like seat belt buckles.