So, your pup chews like a maniac, and you need to know how to stop a dog from chewing everything in sight. When it comes to our four-legged friends, their health is our top priority. And just like us, our canine friends get nervous, stressed, or just downright sad.
When our dogs feel down, it's completely natural that they begin to chew. The issue comes in when your favorite loafers end up in the warpath. So how do you stop your dog from chewing your more non-chewable possessions? Luckily for you, there are a few options.
What is Excessive or Destructive Chewing?
A certain level of munching is actually normal for dogs! Puppies tend to chew more when their teeth are growing in. But if your pooch starts gnawing on your belongings or chewing out of boredom or anxiety, you might have a problem on your hands.
Normal Chewing Behavior
These are some common motives for chewing for both young puppies and older dogs alike.
- Teething. While your puppy's adult teeth grow in, they will experience pain and discomfort in their gums. This may prompt them to chew on objects to scratch their gums and soothe the irritation. Fortunately, this pesky chewing phase should be done and over with by the time your dog is six months old.
- Lack of Training. Your puppy, rambunctious as they may be, is just a baby. They need love and care! But most of all, they must learn what is appropriate behavior — both in public and in the privacy of your home.
- Jaw exercise. Chewing can be very beneficial for puppies and older dogs. It strengthens a puppy’s jaw, which helps them chew harder food as they enter adulthood. Chewing also helps older dogs maintain their jaw strength.
Abnormal Chewing Behavior
When your favorite sneakers go missing, that's when chewing has crossed the line into "unacceptable."
- Destructive Chewing. Yes, puppies may chew on your stuff when they’re teething. But gnawing on shoes, wires, furniture, and other household objects is a behavior you want to catch early and weed out with training. You can teach them which objects are A-okay for gnawing (chew toys, snacks, etc.) and which are not (slippers, paper, wires, etc.).
- Chewing from Anxiety/Boredom. If an adult dog is chewing on household items, it could be a sign of boredom, anxiety, lack of stimulation, or all of the above. Many dogs tend to become destructive when left alone for long periods (separation anxiety is a killer). You will need to figure out why your dog feels a compulsive need to chew. More exercise, special conditioning, or extra companionship can help dogs that chew when they're idle.
What Causes a Dog to Chew Excessively?
While each dog has their own justification for its war on wooden furniture, there are some common reasons that your canine companion keeps destroying your stuff. Puppies and adult dogs might chew for different reasons. Let’s explore:
- Teething. As we mentioned before, teething can cause some crazy chewing fits. Puppies can get their adult teeth as early as three months old, causing them discomfort as they adjust to the new sensation. Our young pawed pals will often chew on items to scratch their gums and relieve the pain.
- Hunger. A pup that isn't getting all the calories they need from their diet might chew or lick objects in an attempt to ingest more nutrients. Typically, this kind of behavior will only be directed towards objects that are related to or smell like food.
If your four-legged friend is going through terrible teething woes, you can try relieving their discomfort with some of our soothing CBD oil for dogs. Made with organic hemp seed oil and full-spectrum CBD, this dog-approved formula can melt gum aches and cut down on that need to gnaw. Just mix into your pup's food or drop it into their mouth and watch sneaker-chewing become a thing of the past!
- Lack of Exercise. This type of chewing could be a reminder to check up on your dog's physical needs and environment. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, they may try to burn their excess energy by chewing through your beloved sneakers. Regular walks, more playtime, or outside activities can really help in this case. If you don't have the time to provide exercise, consider hiring some help.
- Separation Anxiety. Many dogs who experienced a change of ownership, the loss of a family member, or another traumatic event can develop some degree of separation anxiety that may lead to destructive chewing.
- Boredom. Destructive behavior in dogs often stems from a lack of social interaction or playtime. A more active breed will naturally have higher energy levels than the average dogs, which can lead them to become easily bored if left alone for long periods.
- Medical Issues. A handful of nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy eating habits can lead to various gastrointestinal issues., Some dogs may chew on things (like grass) to trigger vomiting to relieve the internal discomfort.
Be sure to rule out any medical causes for your furry friend's chewing habit before addressing it as a behavioral issue. If you suspect a problem with your dog's health, always be sure to seek out professional medical advice.
What Age Should a Puppy Stop Teething?
We know. Your puppy's teething stage is frustrating and intense. How could you possibly stop your dog from chewing while you're not home?
Well, rest assured, Dog Parents, the dark times will not last long. By six months of age, your sweet pup should have lost nearly all of its baby teeth. You can expect the last of their adult teeth to pop into place shortly after.
Do Dogs Grow Out of the Chewing Stage?
As maddening as the dreaded chewing stage can be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for new dog owners. Most dogs will grow out of this phase early on in their first year. Of course, some will require extra behavioral training. Underlying dental issues could also prolong the teething.
Dog parents need to note that as your pup moves beyond adolescence and into adulthood, their urge to chew will lessen but not disappear completely. It’s in their nature, after all, and chewing is quite healthy, under the right circumstances!
How to Stop Puppies from Chewing Excessively?
Just as there are quite a few reasons as to why a dog might start chewing, there are many methods you can use to address their habit, such as:
- Teething Tools. If your puppy is teething, they are experiencing pain in their gums from their new teeth. They might benefit from chewing ice cubes, frozen toys, or frozen wet washcloths to numb the pain.
- Teaching Appropriate Chewing Behavior. Dogs of all ages chew on things for stimulation, to relieve anxiety, and sometimes, just for fun. It is a perfectly natural behavior for both wild and domesticated dogs. Dogs simply need to be taught what is okay to chew and what is off-limits.
- Playtime & Exercise. Exercising and playing with your dog regularly not only expends their energy but provides them with a fun workout! Exercise leaves them too tired for inappropriate or destructive chewing. Plus, it encourages physical and mental stimulation that puppies love and adult dogs need.
- Chew Toys & Snacks. One excellent step towards making sure our favorite dogs are happy, healthy, and internally balanced is providing them with the various toys and treats to keep them occupied. Sturdy toys that are clearly distinguishable from household objects will help you teach your dog what is appropriate to chew and what isn't.
- Address Mental/Behavioral Concerns. If your dog is chewing because they are anxious or stressed, they aren’t going to stop until they resolve that feeling. You can help your pup overcome their anxiety through special conditioning techniques. Calming CBD Soft Chews (made with chamomile and other natural compounds) can also detangle your dog’s nerves when they feel overwhelmed, reducing their urge to chew. Since these treats have a soft texture, teething pups should be able to eat them with little issue.
What if the Chewing is Left Unchecked?
If you don’t curb your dog’s chewing habit early, you should brace yourself for years of household destruction. Okay, maybe it won’t be THAT bad, but a dog who learns that chewing is okay will continue to gnaw on whatever they desire.
Behavioral training is a serious step in the journey of dog ownership. Some dogs are simply too rowdy and need a more formal setting to learn the rules and appropriate behavior. Obedience classes can definitely help your dog stop chewing objects they shouldn't!
In the event that your pup's destructive chewing continues beyond adolescence, a trip to your local animal behavioral specialist might be the solution you've been searching for. Consult an expert on the best way to handle your canine compatriot's difficult-to-manage behavior.
Things to Look Out for When a Dog is Chewing Too Much
Many household objects can pose a threat to your dog's safety if they aren't careful — which they won’t be if they’re a compulsive chewer.
A splinter from the leg of the table, ink from a pen on the floor, a frayed and exposed wire. All of these things could put your pup in immediate danger if ingested.
When our favorite four-legged scamps are living life on the edge, chewing what was never meant to be chewed, we must keep an incredibly close eye on them. Maintain constant supervision even around others. This will ensure your dog doesn’t bring any harm to themselves.
What NOT to Do About your Dog's Chewing
There are several correct and efficient ways to stop a dog from chewing, and there are many ineffective methods. Don't attempt these "solutions" ever:
- Hitting Your Dog. Acting violently towards any pet is never acceptable. It can shatter the bond between dog and owner and only teaches your dog to fear you.
- Showing your dog the damage, followed by punishment. Your dog will not understand what you are doing and won't comprehend why they are being punished. In the end, they won’t learn a thing from this technique.
- Tying a damaged object to your dog. This is inhumane and ineffective, and it won't teach your dog anything at all.
- Using duct tape to hold your dog's mouth closed. This is cruel and won't teach your dog anything (some dogs have died from this practice).
- Leaving your dog in a crate for more than six hours. With the exception of puppies of 17 weeks and under (who handle up to 4 or 5 hours of crate time), leaving your dog alone in a crate for long periods can inflict severe damage on their mental and physical health.
When Should I Go to the Vet?
The answer to this question is plain and simple. If your dog (or any small life form that you are responsible for) licks, chews, or ingests any toxic substances, take them to the vet for professional assistance.
Unless you are a veterinarian yourself, assuming you know how to treat your pet is ill-advised and could potentially put them in unnecessary danger.
In the event that you are caring for an older pooch and "the chewing stage" has lasted longer than initially prepared for, you may want to consider taking your dog to the vet or a pet behavioral specialist.
An animal health expert can pinpoint underlying medical causes that may be the cause of your dog's chewing habit. A behavioral specialist should be able to work in tandem with the vet's diagnosis to provide the treatment that your barking buddy needs.
Final Thoughts - How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
We know how frustrating it can be watching your dog destroy household items without an ounce of regret. And seeing your sweet pup go through so much pain while they’re teething is heartbreaking, but you can help them thrive with the simple tips that we've discussed today.
Just to recap, an appropriate level of chewing is normal for dogs of all ages (especially pups that have yet to be trained). Gnawing can actually be largely beneficial for their health!
Remember, patience is key, and your dog is your best friend, so take care to treat them as such. Provide them with everything that they need to be their happy and healthy self. With the proper training, some good and sturdy chew toys, and plenty of patience, your pup will kick its destructive chewing habit in no time. For more tips and dog home remedies take a look here.