It’s normal for puppies and dogs to chew on objects as they explore the world. Chewing accomplishes a number of things for a dog. For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. For older dogs, it’s nature’s way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can relieve mild anxiety or frustration.
“It really comes back to why it’s happening,” Dr. Pachel says. “For any one of these issues, there might be multiple treatment options. Focusing on basic health care is a great start to at least minimizing some of these other issues. Then it’s a matter of watching your dog carefully and making that educated decision about when to have him evaluated by a veterinarian.”
Patience and consistency are the key factors leading to success. You need to ensure that each and every time your dog heads for your wood coffee table you correct him promptly and hand him a chew toy. This may be pretty annoying at first, but gradually you should notice the attempts tapering off. It is vital that you and your family members are all on the same track, ensuring that everyone will correct in the same correct matter. All it takes is a couple of episodes that are not corrected promptly to positively reinforce the behavior and return. If you are unable to watch your dog it would be in your best interest if you would crate him until you can trust him alone. Remember: corrections must occur within 5 seconds in order to be fully effective. Dogs do not have the same attention spans as humans do. If it takes longer than 5 seconds your dog may no longer know what he did wrong and will not be able to associate the correction with the wood chewing.
Beware of poor-quality and cheaply constructed stuffed toys, lest the covering or stuffing winds up in your dog's intestines, where surgery might be necessary to remove it. The same caution applies to any stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, bells, and any dangly bits. These are often the first things dogs try to rip off and possibly swallow. Regardless of what type of "stuffie" you get your dog, be sure to take it away and either fix it or throw it away if your dog manages to start "gutting" it.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE VETERINARY ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your pet’s health. Never ignore professional veterinary advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think your pet may have a veterinary emergency, immediately call your veterinarian.
Obviously, the positive thing about digestible chews is their increased safety. However, the downside is that they don't last very long and tend to be more expensive than bones and hooves. To save money, try balancing between chew toys and edible chews. Aggressive chewers might do well with something like a food-filled Kong Ultra, bully sticks, beef tracheas, or flavored dental chews.