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.

Be gentle! A few training books are still on the market that advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog. Needless to say, there is no excuse for such corrections. Not only are they extremely unfair, they’re ineffective. The use of proper management (for instance, crating a dog when he is not under your direct supervision), along with proper exercise, takes care of 99 percent of destructive behavior problems.
So, what are some other common answers to, “Why do dogs chew their feet?” Numerous between-the-toes skin diseases can cause a dog to chew his feet, says Dr. Remillard, who founded Veterinary Nutritional Consultations Inc. in Hollister, North Carolina. In addition, injury or pain (such as from arthritis or hip dysplasia), as well as autoimmune diseases, cysts, tumors and cancer can lead to foot biting. Some dogs might munch their digits due to skin infections caused by hormonal imbalances, namely too much cortisol or too little thyroid hormone.
If you have ever asked, “Why does my dog do that?” then this feature is for you. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline training team will answer your questions about dog behavior and offer training advice to help you and your pup have the best relationship possible. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline is a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by professional dog trainers. For more information on the service and how to enroll, go to www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.
So long as they’re not too flimsy, rubber chew toys often represent the safest options for many dogs. The best rubber chew toys are those that are firm enough to stand up to serious chewing, yet have enough “give” so they don’t cause tooth damage. Just make sure that the size of the toy is appropriate for your dog—the better toys come with a handy “size guide” on their packaging or on their website. Giving your dog a toy that's too small could lead to choking, while too large could lead to excessive strain and damage to their jaw and chewing muscles.

Some conditions cannot be prevented but some can.  Dogs should be on monthly flea and tick preventative medication. This will prevent flea allergy reactions and irritated skin. It is important to prevent your dog from being exposed to toxic chemicals. If you spray your lawn with pesticides, your dog should not be allowed to walk on the grass until the chemical is dry. The same thing goes for recently cleaned floors or carpets. Dogs should be provided toys, attention and daily exercise.  Additional activities may help prevent a dog from feeling bored or anxious.
CHEW Dog Rescue is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing abandoned dogs, dogs scheduled for euthanasia due to shelter space limitations, and other dogs who need us. We are always looking to find additional foster homes and acquire funding for veterinary care and other essential elements of dog rescue to allow us to help more dogs in need. CHEW (Canine Health Education and Welfare) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.
Some chews and toys can provide additional benefits for your dog; like mental stimulation or help with keeping their teeth clean. However, it's also true that chew toys have the potential to cause problems. Always closely observe your dog the first few times they’re playing with a new chew toy or eating a new type of chew. And, even in the long-term, keep watch and if you’re at all worried about a particular toy, don’t leave your dog alone with it, or just take it away and try another.
Confine the chewing dog in his crate whenever you are unable to supervise his activity. Leave him with a couple of acceptable chewies. ACCEPTABLE CHEWIES are toys that are not easily consumed, ones that may change their form as the dog gnaws at them. Nylabones, beef marrow bones, large rawhide knots all become more interesting to the dog as he works on them; the chewing action creates all sorts of lumps and depressions that keep most canines enraptured for hours. KongTM toys can be stuffed with a variety of goodies including some of the dog’s breakfast, challenging him to work for his meal. Old shoes, towels, scrap wood, or phonebooks are not acceptable chew toys. Dogs cannot differentiate between old shoes and new shoes, or scrap wood from kitchen cabinetry. Don’t confuse your dog by giving him anything that may be mistaken for a forbidden object.

Your dog may be a big chewer necessitating stronger chew toys. Invest in some “heavy duty” chew toys such as Nylabones or pretty durable rubber toys. Try to stay away from rawhide bones that may cause choking and even intestinal obstructions. Stay away as well from squeaky toys as many dogs have gone through the toy and ingested the squeaker requiring major surgery. Kongs are very durable and great as they may be stuffed with peanut butter or other goodies. They may also be frozen to relieve puppy’s teething pain. If you are not supplying the right chew toys that meets your dog’s chewing requirements he/she may easily find your furniture much more appealing. Try to make the toys more atrractive by routinely alternating them to prevent boredom.

The “Collar Grab Game” teaches your puppy that he gets rewarded for staying calm when being touched. If at any time during the game he gets excited and mouths your hand, stand up for a minute, then start again. Ask your puppy to sit in front of you and give him a treat for sitting. Then begin to reach your hand towards his collar — but not all the way. Move your hand back, then give him a treat. Repeat this a few times and watch to see what your puppy is doing. Is he turning to bite your hand, or is focusing on the food and sitting? Keep practicing over a few days until you can reach forward and hold his collar or pet his head without him turning his head to mouth. Be sure to practice this with both hands.
As with the lonely dog, the anxious dog should be confined to his crate for the first two weeks when home alone. Beginning with the third week, leave the dog in his crate with the door open for a period of time not to exceed 20 minutes. If you return home to any signs of destruction, shorten the length of time that you are gone until you arrive at a time span that is successful. From that point on, SLOWLY increase the length of time that you are gone until you have reached your goal. If at any time, you come home to destruction, go backward in time at least two steps and maintain that time frame for at least a week; then proceed with the schedule as planned.
Puppy chewing is often caused by the fact that either their baby teeth are erupting, or they are being replaced by permanent teeth. The tiny, needle-like teeth erupt when your pooch is around 3 to 8 weeks old, and just when you get used to scratches from nipping, they start teething again. Dogs stop teething when they are around 4 to 6 months old when all of their milk teeth are replaced by adult ones.
Dogs with environmental allergies may need to have daily allergy shots.  Dogs with flea allergies should be on monthly flea preventative medication. Corns may need to be surgically removed from the pads.  Foreign objects will be removed from the pad and bandaged. Secondary yeast infections are treated with topical antifungal medications.  Bacterial infections are treated with topical and oral antibiotics.  
Every new puppy or dog owner should expect a certain amount of destruction from curiosity-based or tension-relieving oral tendencies of the pet. The solution to the problem lies in removing the environmental cause and guiding the dog towards the appropriate objects to chew. The above-mentioned preventive and corrective approaches will help to minimize and ultimately solve the problem while allowing the dog to develop a healthy relationship with you.

Some dogs simply do not get enough physical and mental stimulation. Bored dogs tend look for ways to entertain themselves, and chewing is one option. To prevent destructive chewing, be sure to provide plenty of ways for your dog to exercise his mind and body. Great ways to accomplish this include daily walks and outings, off-leash play with other dogs, tug and fetch games, clicker training classes, dog sports (agility, freestyle, flyball, etc.), and feeding meals in food puzzle toys.
Dogs with environmental allergies may need to have daily allergy shots.  Dogs with flea allergies should be on monthly flea preventative medication. Corns may need to be surgically removed from the pads.  Foreign objects will be removed from the pad and bandaged. Secondary yeast infections are treated with topical antifungal medications.  Bacterial infections are treated with topical and oral antibiotics.  
Animal hooves, antlers, and bones: Hard animal parts and particularly cooked bones pose the most significant risk to your dog's teeth and GI tract because they are very hard and indigestible. If your dog doesn't break a tooth first, he could manage to snap off a piece and ingest it. Some animal horns (like buffalo or goat horns) soften and fray a little while dogs are chewing them. These can be less dangerous to the teeth and may be more easily tolerated by the GI tract. However, they should be used with extreme caution.
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