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How to stop your dog from chewing everything

Managing your canine’s chewing habits

There’s little worse than returning home to find the contents of the house chewed up and strewn across the carpet and a wide-eyed, guilty-looking pup sitting in the midst of it all.

While we cannot stop dogs from chewing entirely, we can redirect this habit and learn how to stop dogs from chewing our things.

By doing so, we make our lives that little bit easier and ensure our favourite pair of slippers are safe for another day.

Why do dogs chew?

First things first, let’s try to understand why dogs seem so intent on chewing.

By identifying the reasons for the behaviour, it’s much easier to then figure out either how to stop your dogs from chewing or how to deflect their habits to more preferable objects.

There are a number of reasons for this behaviour:

  • For puppies: chewing is part of the natural growing process. It’s used as a way to explore the world and to relieve the pain and irritation of incoming teeth during teething.
  • For older dogs: chewing is still in part a natural response used to keep jaws strong and teeth clean and healthy.
  • It’s also an emotional response. When a dog chews, it can be due to stress, anxiety, boredom or loneliness.
  • It’s fun! Chewing is simply one of the ways dogs enjoy themselves – which is why it’s so important to give them the methods to chew in a safe and non-destructive way!

While chewing is natural and normal for dogs, it can be frustrating when it’s excessive or directed towards unwanted items like the arm of the sofa or even hands and feet!

Luckily, with some dog training techniques and toys, chewing can be redirected or prevented entirely.

Ways to prevent destructive chewing

1. Puppy-proof the house

The best method for relieving chewing mania is to remove temptation from your dog.

While dog training is something that most people do with puppies, it’s important to continue these practices into dog-hood.

This means storing shoes away in cupboards, children's toys in boxes and if it’s really bad, keeping the dogs in a chew-proof room whilst you’re out.

As well as personal possessions, potentially dangerous household items need to be safe-proofed too: cleaning products should be kept out of reach and electrical wires either covered or made inaccessible to chewing.

2. Get chewing alternatives

If you do catch your dog chewing, you can use some dog training techniques to redirect them to a chewing option that you’re both happy with.

Interrupt the behaviour with a loud noise, and then provide a chewing alternative, such as a toy, bone, chewstick or stuffed Kong.

Praise them generously when they swap objects, and repeat this regularly, encouraging them to use their toys for chewing, not yours! (Be sure to choose an item that cannot get stuck in their throat or be swallowed).

3. Exercise

Exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy and happy dog. In fact, it is the endorphins produced by exercising that dogs search for in their incessant chewing.

Exercising simultaneously calms dogs and tires them out, meaning they will not need to release their pent-up energy or stress on gnawing household items.

4. Use sprays and repellents

Dog training in the form of sprays and repellents can be used to stop your dog from chewing inconvenient items around the home.

Sprays and repellents work in the same way as any deterrent-training; if the experience is unpleasant, it’s unlikely it will be repeated.

5. Check for medical problems

In some cases, a dog is constantly tearing up the home due to medical reasons. These could be physical ailments or diseases where the chewing is used as a coping method to distract from the discomfort, or due to separation anxiety when left alone.

Whatever the case, it’s best to take your dog to a veterinarian to get this checked out and to eliminate any causes that may be contributing to the chewing.

If it does appear to be down to separation anxiety, check out our article on methods to make separation easier for both of you.

Here at Nose to Tail we’ve got loads of dog-friendly chew toys and treats to keep your pup happy and healthy - and away from the furniture!Give us a call on 09 448 2227 or pop in store to find out more.