Nothing can wipe away a tough day faster than coming home to the greeting of a beloved pet. Pets are vital to many people’s way of life in the United States. In a 2019-20 study, around 67 percent of U.S. households owned a pet, which showed a significant increase over the past 30 years. Our love for our pets as companions continues to grow, so why would we leave them in danger?

It may be endearing to think about a time when your puppy or kitten chewed on a shoe or old furniture. However, it's not so endearing to think about our four-legged friends chewing on an electrical cord or wire.

Electrical cords can quickly become dangerous and harm your pet. Learn more about what you can do to prevent your pet from encountering electrical hazards.

Make sure to check out our video on pet safety around electricity for a quick snapshot of the topics we will cover in this blog.

Why Do Pets Chew on Wires?

If you’ve noticed this behavior, you may ask yourself, “why do cats chew on wires” or “why is my puppy chewing electric cords?” Here are three reasons why cats and dogs chew on electrical cords.

  1. Stress relief: When pets get anxious, they can look for ways to cope with their stress. From moving into a new home to separation anxiety, several factors can cause your pet to feel uneasy and, therefore, chew up different objects in your home. If cords are easily accessible, they can become the target of relieving stress.

  2. Mouth discomfort: If your pet experiences dental pains, it may begin to chew on items throughout the house. Due to the soft, flexible exterior of cords, your pet may see an electrical cord as a way to comfort its pain. Many pets go through dental pains in their younger years while they are teething.

  3. Boredom and inactivity: If your pet isn't getting enough exercise or doesn't have enough toys to play with, it may begin to look for other ways to occupy its time. Chewing on electrical cords can become a new way to use pent-up energy.

What Can Happen to Pets That Chew on Wires?

The two major categories of injury associated with electrical cords are burns and systemic injuries.

Burns can happen in and around the mouth whenever the electricity is running through the cord converts into heat. Biting into the cord can singe the whiskers and hair surrounding the mouth.

Systemic injuries result from the electric current going through a pet's body, which can cause internal problems. These types of shocks can range from mild to life-threatening. Here are some signs of systemic injuries:

  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs

  • Muscle spasms

  • Seizures

  • Irregular heart rhythm

  • Unconsciousness

  • Cardiac arrest

Chewing on electric cords is a hazard to your pet’s health. For most pets, excessive chewing happens during their younger years. With training and a few deterrents, you can keep your pet safe.

Pet Cord Protector: Preventing Wire Chewing

If you notice your pet chewing on wires, you might be wondering if there is a way to curb this behavior. There are a few ways to keep your furry friend safe from harm.

  • Limit access to cords. If your pet is trying to chew cords in your office or bedroom, shut the doors while you aren't there. Pet fences are also an easy way to cut off dogs' access, while cats tend to jump and climb.

  • Remove and replace any frayed or damaged cables. If you see any broken cords that are close to the ground, remove them. While this may seem obvious, it can be easy to overlook a slight fray in our phone or laptop charger when we understand the dangers. However, our pets don't know the difference.

  • Use cable management and protection. First, make sure any loose, dangling cables are out of the way. You can use zip ties, pet cord protector covers, chew safe cords or PVC to deter your pet from getting a hold of a wire. Keep wires behind furniture and flush with walls. 

  • Apply smells and tastes to cables to deter chewing. For dogs and cats alike, there are several deterring odors and flavors. Apple bitter spray and hot sauce are common home remedies. Pet stores also offer formulated sprays that use natural ingredients to keep animals away. Test your pet’s reaction gently. If it seems displeased, apply a light spray to trouble areas.

  • Offer chewing alternatives. If you think your animal's knack for chomping on your tv power cable is due to their boredom, give them other toy options. Some allow you to place a treat inside, incentivizing your pet to play with the toy.

For more information on how to keep your family safe from indoor electrical hazards, visit our indoor safety tips page.