What to do when your dog chews your lamp cord

For lack of a chew toy

Your dog is precious to you. Your dog is your best friend and companion.  Your dog is part of your family.  But what do you do when your dog has decided to chew on your lamp cord rather than his or her favorite chew toy?  This can be a real problem.  It can even lead to a fire hazard.

The dog that is proud of his or her chewing

Of course, part of the problem is that your dog is unlikely to tell you that he or she has eaten through your lamp cord or the cord of any other appliance.  Consider yourself lucky, if you have a dog who is proud of his or her handiwork, and shows you what was done.  More likely, you are going to have to find this yourself.

Little Lassie

My dog is a Shetland Sheep Dog named Chuckie.  My wife brought him home, and he looked like a little Lassie.  How could I not fall in love with little Lassie?  However, little Lassie has chewed on all sorts of things.  He chewed on furniture.  He has had accidents all over the house.  But we still adore him.  He is a member of the family – a family where no one is perfect.  I certainly am not perfect.

Who am I to complain?

I have Multiple Sclerosis.  I’m a paraplegic.  If I can do this, so can you.  Accordingly, I am in no position to be critical of Chuckie.  By the way,  Chuckie got his name from our son, who named him after Chuckie Cheese because the shopping center that he came from had a pet shop (where we purchased Chuckie), and a large Chuckie Cheese.

A partial job

Anyway, Chuckie ate his way though much of the lamp cord, but not though the entire cord.  This led to intermittent lamp operation.

Is it the power strip or cube tap?

I had no idea what was causing this problem.  At first, I thought it might be the power strip, or the cube tap that I was using.

Feel the cord

Eventually, I figured out that the cord was chewed.  I felt along the cord until I noticed an uneven part.  There it was.  The spot where Chuckie had partially eaten through the lamp cord.

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What you will need

To fix this problem, you will need four things, a new plug, a screwdriver, a wire splitter/cutter, and an extension cord.

Cut close to the lamp, but not too close

Cut the wire before the chew line created by the dog.  You want to make sure that the part of the cord chewed by the dog and causing electrical problems is completely removed.  You are cutting the cord close to the lamp, and away from the plug.  This will shorten the lamp cord.  This is why you’ll need the extension cord.  There may not be that much of the original cord left, depending on how much your dog chewed.  Remember to leave yourself enough cord to work on.

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There are two wires together

There are actually two wires on a lamp cord.  This is to allow for the positive and negative alternating current. You need to separate the two wires.  This can be done with the cutter.  If you are strong enough, you may just be able to pull them apart.

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Strip the ends

Then you will need to strip the ends so that they can be connected to the new plug.  Some plugs can work without stripping the wires, but I have had more success with those plugs that require stripping.  Those that don’t require stripping often require exact placement to dig into the wire.  I’m not exact, and my wiring is often less than perfect.

A dependable connection

Do yourself a favor, strip both wires at the ends, wrap the twisted wires around the screws and tighten with a screwdriver.

Get a good screwdriver

The Irwin screwdriver on My Products page is a good choice because it includes both Flat and Phillips bits.

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Do the twist

If the wires are not already twisted, I recommend that you twist the wires before you wrap them around the screws in the new plug.

Polarized plug

You will note that some plugs are polarized.  This generally is not critical for a lamp, which usually has a two prong plug. It is critical for three prong plugs.  Usually, you will notice writing on one wire, but not the other.  If you want to maintain the polarization (recommended), make a note of which side has the wider plug, and which has the narrower plug, and maintain this arrangement for the new plug.

Extension cord

Plug the new plug into the extension cord (the length of the extension cord needed will vary depending on how much your dog chewed).  I have found that a 6 foot cord is usually sufficient.

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What about a new lamp?

Replacing the plug is usually much less costly than buying a new lamp.  Also, if you have two lamps, say on either side of the bed, then you are unlikely to find the exact same lamp, years later.  You will need to buy two lamps, making buying new lamps, much more costly.

Comments

Please feel free to leave any questions and comments that you may have, and enjoy your lamp and dog!




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