How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing

Dog lovers know this to be true: no matter how cute a puppy is, seeing him chew on your favorite pair of shoes can be irritating and frustrating. The chewing isn’t even just isolated to shoes and slippers. There have been countless dog owners who came home to a chewed on sofa, seat cushions, carpets, kids’ toys and a whole lot more.

Puppies and dogs love chewing on objects. It’s their way of exploring the world, much like how young babies put stuff in their mouths. But more than just a way to experience their environment, dogs also chew because,

  • it relieves the pain caused by growing teeth
  • it’s a way to keep jaws strong
  • it helps clean teeth
  • it alleviates boredom, and
  • it helps relieve mild anxiety and frustration

So as you can see, dogs don’t chew just to irk you. It actually has a lot of benefits for them. Unfortunately, the perks for our canine friends don’t necessarily make it any less irritating to come home to chewed on and tattered things.

Thankfully, chewing can be stopped. But before that can be done, you have to know what causes the problem in the first place.

Why Dogs Chew

The first step to stopping destructive canine chewing is to rule out the problems leading to it.

  1. Separation anxiety – is your dog chewing more intensely when he’s been left alone? Other signs that he may be suffering from separation anxiety include whining, barking, restlessness, urination and defecation.
  2. Compulsive fabric sucking – this is when your dog sucks on fabric for extended periods of time and can’t be distracted. Experts believe this may be from having been weaned too early.
  3. Hunger – your dog may not be getting enough calories and may be supplementing his nutrition by chewing on objects.
  4. Teething – is your puppy’s teeth starting to come out? His gums may be tender and itchy.
  5. Boredom – is your dog getting enough stimulation?

The above are just some of the reasons why your dog is spending so much time gnawing on your furniture. Now what can you do about it?

Getting Rid of Destructive Chewing

Once you have identified the “why”, it’s time to find a fix for it.

1. Dog-proof the house.

Ok, this isn’t a permanent fix, but it will save you from a world of chewing trouble. Put valuable objects away until you’re confident that the chewing behavior can be restricted to appropriate items.

2. Ice it!

Puppies go through a period where they lose baby teeth and grow adult ones. This period can be very uncomfortable. Alleviate the discomfort by giving the puppy some ice cubes or special dog toys that can be frozen. Frozen washcloths can also work. These will help numb the pain.

3. Buy dog toys.

Buy your pet his own dog toys and chew bones. Watch which ones he spends more time chewing on and make them always available. It’s also ideal to introduce a new toy or rotate what he plays with every few days so he doesn’t get bored.

4. Edible chewables.

Bully sticks, rawhide bones, pig skin rolls and other natural chews can be offered to your dog. Just watch out that he doesn’t bite off a big chunk and chokes.

5. Time it.

Observe at what time your dog is more prone to chewing and offer him different stimulation during this time. He can be given a dog puzzle to work on, or a new toy to play with so he won’t have to take it out on your shoe.

6. Spray chewing deterrents.

When all other options fail, destructive chewing can be addressed by spraying a chewing deterrent on inappropriate items. But before doing this, it is strongly recommended to try out different methods.

Plenty of exercise and mental stimulation will help keep your dog from being bored and lessen the likelihood that he will chew on your things.

The likelihood of dogs adapting a chewing behavior is pretty high. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be stopped. Using the above tips will help you address this destructive behavior.