Dog Chewing Problems: Why They Chew & How To Stop Them

Any pet parent will tell you that chewing is a relatively common issue among dogs and puppies. While it may be common, there are ways that you can help curb this activity in your dog. Here our Boulder and Westminster vets discuss the reasons why dogs chew and what steps you can take to stop them.

Why Dogs Are Notorious for Chewing

Your dog uses chewing on things to explore the world around them. In addition, chewing can help adult dogs maintain healthy teeth and strong jaws, as well as puppies who are suffering from teething.

That said, while chewing is healthy behavior in dogs, your pooch may not always choose the right things to sink their teeth into. But why?

Your Dog is Stressed or Anxious

Since they are by nature social beings, many pets experience separation anxiety when their owners are away. When dogs are anxious or stressed out, they frequently numb themselves by chewing.

Boredom in Dogs & Puppies

In the event that your dog is left alone for protracted periods of time without mental stimulation, they may quickly grow bored and turn to chewing on any intriguing items they find lying around your home as a means of entertainment.

The Puppy Teething Process

Puppies go through an uncomfortable teething period just like human babies. While your puppy is teething they are likely to chew frequently in order to relieve their pain and discomfort.

Your Dog is Hungry

Dogs on calorie-restricted diets frequently start chewing on objects in an attempt to find alternative sources of nutrition. Typically, plastic bowls and other food-related or food-scented objects are the targets of this kind of chewing.

How to Stop a Dog From Chewing

In order to stop your dog from chewing destructively, you must first determine the root of the issue and fix any related issues. The second step is to concentrate on diverting your dog's chewing to more appealing items, like chew toys.

Give Them Plenty of Exercise

A happy and content puppy is the result of getting enough exercise every day. One of the best ways to prevent destructive chewing is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house. While more laid-back breeds like Pomeranians, Pugs, and Shih Tzus frequently do well with as little as 40 minutes of exercise per day, high-energy breeds like Border Collies, German Shepherds, Brittanys, and Springer Spaniels require at least two hours of exercise daily.

Provide Entertainment When You Are Busy

Try teaching your dog to associate being alone with pleasant experiences to help reduce separation anxiety or boredom in dogs that spend a lot of time alone. Give your dog a puzzle toy filled with food before you go, along with a selection of entertaining, unique toys that they can only use while you're away (to maintain the novelty).

Providing your pooch with lots of interesting toys will not only create a positive association with alone time, it will also serve as a distraction from the objects that you don't want your dog to chew on.

Dog Proof Your Home

To ensure that your dog only chews on approved objects, remove any other temptations. Place priceless items out of your dog's reach, put your laundry away or in a closed hamper, and store books and children's toys away from your dog.

Take Precautions To Deter Chewing

Say "no," take away the item your dog is chewing on, and replace it with a chew toy. Then, be sure to lavish your dog with praise when they choose to chew on the chew toy in its place. If none of the aforementioned tips work to stop your dog from chewing destructively, you might want to try spraying any objects you don't want your dog to chew with a dog deterrent spray. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog has swallowed something that isn't their food during chewing, it's a medical emergency. Contact our vets at Boulder and Northside Emergency Pet Clinics immediately.