Answer: If it looks like the branches are being nibbled off, they probably are. There are many animals that might do this. I'd make cages of hardware cloth or chicken wire to place around the bottoms of the plants. Simply make cylinders about 12" high and set them around your shrubs. The pesky critters will be discouraged and your plants will be able to recover. You can remove the protective cylinders in the fall (but you might want to put them back next spring - just in case!
Best wishes with your landscape!
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