Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. They use their mouths to explore the environment in the same way that humans use their hands as investigative tools. Irksome and sometimes expensive destructive chewing usually takes place when the owner is not with the dog. Therefore, correction when the dog starts or is in the act is impossible. The chewing can then become a compulsive behavior when the dog is lonely, bored, stressed or anxious.

THE ANXIOUS DOG is one who suffers from feelings of social isolation. Dogs are pack animals and many do not take it very well when they are left on their own to “defend their territory.” There is safety in numbers for pack oriented animals, and what the anxious dog needs is a secure and comfortable place to stay when he is left behind. Once again, a kennel crate may be the tool of choice. Introduce the dog to the crate in a positive manner. Never use the crate for punishment. This is your dog’s den — he should be happy and secure when he’s inside. As with the lonely dog, there should be no long, emotional goodbyes. However, before you leave his chew toy with him in his crate, rub the toy between your palms. This action imparts your scent to the toy and tends to focus the dog on this object rather than something else.
Puppy- and dog-proof your house. As with any type of behavior you wish to change, one of the most important things to do is manage the environment. We are all familiar with “puppy proofing” our houses – we learn to put shoes in the closet, and put pups in the crate when we are not actively supervising them. But we often forget that many adult dogs need the same type of management to keep them out of trouble.
Dogs really like to dig. You'll have to train Fido to get him to stop. When you catch him in the act say "no." Then distract him with a toy. It won’t help to scold him after he's done. You need to be consistent when he’s digging, not afterward. Tip: Give him a sandbox where he can go to town. Bury some favorite toys and watch him have fun getting them out. Pile on the praise -- it will help him learn that he can dig all day in that spot.
We just got a 9 yr old shiz tzu. He’s obsessively biting, chewing, and grunting over his feet and his butt. His previous owner had a prescription for anxiety meds and I gave him half of one pill (dose age) and have just about doused him with anti itch spray. Bathed him and no good! Food allergy maybe? He eats pedigree small bites, but my rat terrier had a similar problem and it cleared up after we changed his food. Any suggestions?
Some puppies and juvenile dogs like to chew dirty underwear. This problem is most easily resolved by always putting dirty underwear in a closed hamper. Likewise, some puppies and dogs like to raid the garbage and chew up discarded sanitary napkins and tampons. This can be very dangerous. If a dog eats a sanitary item, it can expand while moving through his digestive system. Discard napkins and tampons in a container that’s inaccessible to your dog. Most young dogs grow out of these behaviors as they mature.
In this video, Preventive Vet dog, Marshall, can be seen playing with his Mighty Bone. Despite not being as durable as the Tuffy brand, it's been a huge hit with Marshall, who likes to test the limits of all of his toys. This toy has done surprisingly well at withstanding his chewing and tug of war. It's also light, large enough for him to easily catch in his mouth, and soft enough for the times he doesn't catch it and it bounces off his head. He's 10 years old and this is the first time he's actually been able to play catch like this. It turns him into a puppy every time.
Rope toys are generally safe for the right types of chewers. However, plenty of dogs have undergone surgery to remove strands of rope from their stomach or intestines. All “foreign body” digestive obstructions are dangerous (and distressing) for dogs, but the linear foreign body type that comes from strings that make up rope toys is particularly dangerous. That’s because linear foreign body obstructions can saw through a dog’s intestines with severe, painful, and expensive consequences. If you let your dog chew on a rope toy, never let them do so without observation, never leave it laying around, and always take it away if you see the dog pulling out and eating the strands.
To help, we've put together this 3-step guide so you can "chews" wisely (and safely). And, since no two dogs use a toy the exact same way (see “Chews-onality” section below), we’ve also included a few words of caution about the different types of chews and chew toys so you can best assess which types might be best for your dog and so you can know what to look out for if any problems arise.
Use bad-tasting repellants and sprays. You can keep puppies and adult dogs away from some items by using impersonal correction, preferably where the “environment” does the correcting. For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a countertop, to stop counter surfers. This type of training operates on the same principle as a child touching a hot stove – if something is particularly unpleasant, most likely the child or the dog will make the decision not to repeat that behavior.
“Chewing and licking can disrupt the normal skin barrier and the normal skin defenses,” Dr. Pachel says. Dampness from saliva can lead to yeast and bacterial infections, particularly for dogs with thick fur that retains moisture. And repeated friction from a rough tongue can rub off fur and cause acute moist dermatitis (hot spots) and lick granulomas (skin lesions).

1. Rule out medical problems. The first step is to make sure that your puppy does not have any serious medical problems. Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet and/or intestinal parasitism can lead to pica which may be misconstrued as inappropriate chewing. Gastrointestinal problems may cause nausea which can trigger chewing as a coping mechanism. Therefore it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition that may be causing or contributing to the dog chewing.
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.
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