Curbing Chewing Habits: Why Dogs Chew Up The House

The endless tales we could all tell about the shoes half eaten, the couch that seemingly exploded in the dog’s mouth and the socks the dryer never had a chance to eat. Is there anything in the house the dog has not tried to devour? How do we curb those chewing habits and why do dogs chew?

Dogs chew for many reasons – some of which is a physical need. For example, puppies chew as a teething aid to help adult teeth come through whereas adolescent dogs are strengthening their jaws. For dogs of all ages chewing can serve as an outlet for stress relief including anxiety, boredom and to relieve pent up playful energy. Sometimes, curiosity can play a role similar to a toddler that puts new things in their mouth to explore what an item tastes like.

Chewing can be a normal healthy and beneficial part of a dog’s life. But when chewing becomes destructive or a danger to their health, it becomes a problem. Many a dog have fallen victim to life threatening items they have gnawed on or ingested. If your ‘Marley’ is becoming a problem chewer, a dose of intervention may be necessary.

Intervention can come in many forms depending on the reason(s) your dog is a chewing. Ascertaining the cause is half the battle and an important step. It could be as simple as excess energy that must be burnt through additional playtime or perhaps a greater health concern like a bad tooth. If your dog has recently developed a chewing habit, a trip to the veterinarian is advised.

Here are 10 intervention ideas that may help:

  • Increase inside and outside exercise and supervised play time

  • Use Bitter Apple sprays for furniture and large items

  • Provide a designated toy box and rotate toys to keep it entertaining

  • Put items away and out of reach

  • Dog proof your house as you would for a child

  • Never leave a problem chewer unsupervised

  • Crate train for unattended times

  • Consider a dog day care service

  • Encourage good chewing behavior

  • Provide appropriate fresh chew toys

Just like humans, dogs crave certain taste or textures when they are chewing. If there appears to be no underlying health concern affecting your dog, you can also consider purchasing new toys to help quell their craving.

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