How to Stop Dogs From Chewing on Electrical Cords

| Updated: December 1, 2023
Golden retriever puppy investigating electrical cords - how to stop dogs from chewing on electrical cords

Dogs of all ages love to chew on things – especially puppies! Most of us aren’t surprised by this; it’s an immutable fact about dogs, as inevitable as the sun rising each morning.

When they chew on toys or a bone, it’s endearing; when it’s something we don’t want to be chewed up, it’s aggravating, and other times it’s downright dangerous.

And one of the most dangerous items dogs commonly chew on is electrical cords.

Dangers of Chewing on Electrical Cords

Dogs have sharp teeth, capable of quickly puncturing the protective insulation around electrical wires. Not only do they run the risk of electrifying themselves, but they could easily start a fire or shock someone else.

When my German Shepherd was a puppy, in true land shark fashion, he chewed on many things, including a hair dryer cord when it was unplugged, and I didn’t notice. I noticed when I was blow-drying him after a bath – the section of cord with the exposed wire brushed against his belly and zapped him.

Exposed electrical wire posing a hazard to dogs

Fortunately, it was quick and he was fine, besides a new understandable fear of baths. But while his experience was a best-case scenario (in terms of electrocution) it’s not always like that. If the wire had been live when he was chewing on it, he could have died.

Similarly, a chewed cord can cause sparks or ignite nearby flammable objects such as curtains, carpets, or furniture. Causing a fire that damages your property and threatens the life of your dog and family.

Symptoms of Electrocution in Dogs

Electrocution is never something to take lightly. Dogs can suffer lifelong injuries or die from gnawing on electrical cords. According to petMD, some signs your dog was shocked while chewing on cords are:

  • Burns in or around the dogs mouth (most obvious)
  • Singed whiskers or hair around the mouth.
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Skin or mucous membranes that appear blue-tinged
  • Collapsing

If you believe your dog has suffered an electric shock, Dr. Eugene Janzen, DVM, Department of Production Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, advises that it is treated as a true emergency and your veterinarian should be contacted immediately. Even if your dog appears fine or the symptoms are mild – he/she should be checked out for underlying problems.

Why do dogs chew in the first place?


The simplest reason that dogs chew on things is that it feels good – it’s one of their primal instincts. For puppies, it’s a way to alleviate pain from teething while adult dogs often chew as a natural way to keep their teeth clean and jaws strong. Chewing can also reduce anxiety, stress, or frustration as well as combat boredom or loneliness.

Dogs often chew as a way to explore their environment as well. When we want to learn about something, we go to Google – they bite it. From a dog’s perspective, it makes sense.

Why are electrical cords attractive to dogs?

So why do dogs have a tendency to chew on electrical cords when there is a perfectly suitable bully stick lying nearby?

Electrical cords may seem boring and commonplace to us, but they can be very appealing to dogs. Some of the factors that make electrical cords attractive to dogs are:

  • Movement: Electrical cords can move or sway when plugged in or unplugged, catching your dog’s attention and triggering their hunting instinct.
  • Heat: Electrical cords can generate heat when used, making them more noticeable and comfortable in your dog’s mouth.
  • Sound: Electrical cords can emit sounds that are inaudible to most humans but audible to dogs, such as buzzing, humming, or clicking. These sounds can intrigue your dog and make them want to investigate the source.
  • Taste: Electrical cords can have a metallic or plastic taste that can be appealing or unpleasant to your dog, depending on their preference. Some dogs may like the taste and chew more, while others may dislike it and chew less.

Tips to Prevent your dog from chewing on cords?

Chewing on electrical cords is a deadly habit that can be prevented with these simple tips.


Train your dog to “leave it”

The most effective way to stop your dog from chewing on electrical cords is to teach them to “leave it”, which means to ignore or drop something they are interested in. To do this, you will need some treats and a toy that your dog likes. Here are the steps:

  • Hold a treat in one hand and the toy in the other, and show them to your dog.
  • Say “leave it” and close your hand with the treat, while keeping the toy visible.
  • Wait for your dog to stop trying to get the treat and look at you or the toy.
  • Praise your dog and give them the toy as a reward.
  • Repeat this several times, until your dog learns to leave the treat when you say “leave it”.
  • Next, place the toy on the floor and cover it with your hand, while holding the treat in the other hand.
  • Say “leave it” and uncover the toy, while keeping the treat visible.
  • Wait for your dog to stop trying to get the toy and look at you or the treat.
  • Praise your dog and give them the treat as a reward.
  • Repeat this several times, until your dog learns to leave the toy when you say “leave it”.
  • Finally, replace the toy with an electrical cord and repeat the same steps, until your dog learns to leave the cord when you say “leave it”.

Hide the cords

Another way to stop your dog from chewing on cords is to prevent their access to them. You can do this by:

  • Use cord covers, such as plastic tubing, spiral wrap, or cable sleeves, to protect the cords from your dog’s teeth.
  • Use cord organizers, such as clips, ties, or hooks, to bundle and secure the cords behind furniture, under rugs, or along walls.
  • Use cord concealers, such as boxes, trays, or cabinets, to store and hide the cords and devices from your dog’s view.

Spray with anti-chewing sprays


Another way to stop your dog from chewing on electrical cords is to spray them with an anti-chewing spray. You can buy these sprays from pet stores online or make your own with natural ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon juice, or cayenne pepper. Before using any spray, test it on a small area of the cord and check for any adverse reactions, such as burning, discoloration, or damage. Also, reapply the spray regularly, as it can wear off over time.

Your results may vary; some dogs refuse to be deterred by foul-tasting objects (I’m giving my dog the stink eye right now). But many people have a lot of success with these.

Redirect with toys meant for chewing

Another way to stop your dog from chewing on electrical cords or other inappropriate objects is to redirect them with toys meant for chewing. These toys can provide your dog with a safe and appropriate outlet for their chewing needs and keep them away from the cords.

You can also make the toys more appealing by stuffing them with treats, freezing them, or playing with them with your dog.

Make sure to choose toys suitable for your dog’s size, age, and chewing strength, and replace them when they become worn or damaged.

Chase Roseberry Author Image
Chase Roseberry

Chase’s life has been a remarkable journey into the world of animals. From his time spent working with an equine Veterinarian, raising exotic snakes, and live coral aquaculture, his diverse background fuels his passion for the animal kingdom.

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