Why Does My Dog Chew Everything?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 3:30pm

It’s perfectly normal for puppies and dogs to chew on objects as they explore the world. For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. For older dogs, it’s a way to keep jaws strong and teeth clean.

But sometimes natural chewing can become destructive for dogs seeking to combat boredom or relieve mild anxiety or frustration. Dogs who chew to relieve the stress of separation anxiety usually only chew when left alone or chew most intensely when left alone.

So what can you do if your best friend’s chewing turns destructive? Puppies and adult dogs should have a variety of appropriate and attractive chew toys. However, just providing the right things to chew isn’t enough to prevent inappropriate chewing. Dogs need to learn what is okay to chew and what is not.

What to Do If Your Dog Is a Destructive Chewer

  • "Dog-proof" your house. Put valuable objects away until you’re confident that your dog’s chewing behavior is restricted to appropriate items. Keep shoes and clothing in a closed closest, dirty laundry in a hamper and books on shelves. Make it easy for your dog to succeed.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of his own toys and inedible and edible chew bones. Introduce something new or rotate your dog’s chew toys every couple of days so he doesn’t get bored with the same old toys.
  • Discourage chewing inappropriate items by spraying them with chewing deterrents.
  • Do your best to supervise your dog during all waking hours until you feel confident that his chewing behavior is under control.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of physical exercise (playtime with you and with other dogs) and mental stimulation. If you have to leave your dog alone for more than a short period of time, make sure he gets out for a good play session.

For more information about helping curb your pooch’s chewing habit, please visit our Virtual Pet Behaviorist.

Is your dog a destructive chewer? Tell us in the comments below.

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I took my dog on a long walk and then gave her a treat because she went without a leash. So I went outside and was out for 30 minutes and came in and destroyed a VERY important letter. What do I do? My dog is 7 years old.


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Me and my family love our 9 month old dog, but he has chewed and destroyed my cell phone, my children's slippers, wooden furniture, and so many other things, the peace in the house is gone because of this dog. It's sad, but we have decided to give away the dog to an animal shelter. Any other workable solutions?


I have done all these things will numerous dogs. All want to chew and dig. Oh, guess digging wasn't in this one. lol. Anyway, I have a half lab half husky now, the sweetest dog we have every owned, and very loyal... even when we give him tones of time with us and lots of walks, he still has to have something to chew on whenever he is awake. He is almost a year old. I have done all the things you have said. They slightly help, only in that he sleeps more after exercise. But when we are out he has to have something in his mouth. I wonder if type of food could be an issue. Or a solution... Since he is a huge dog, he has huge teeth, and wow can he destroy everything...except the hard rubber toys, and this hard plastic cube that you can put dog treats in for him. He loves that, so that is helpful, but it does make a lot of he cant have it at night. We like to let him on the grass to play without us sometimes, but he digs so much my husband wants to KILL him... or get rid of him... so we have to put him on our deck, or in his kennel when we are gone. I much prefer for him to have room on the deck uness it is too hot or cold.(he also has a igloo he likes on the deck that cools him off) He loves the feeling of chewing on towels on his back teeth, or even got a hold of old underware once and i watched him as he enjoyed chewing and chewing on his back teeth. Of course we try to keep those things away from him, but with a 6 yr old boy in the house, somethings slip by... Oh handles on the barbaque chewed out. Even the iron fireplace that was shut with a metal hinge he unhinged it with his teeth during the night to get out the logs that were inside. He pulled a log out and began planing with it on the deck at 4 in the morning. I then realized he needed to sleep in his that shows how smart and able he is to get into things. thanks for any advice anyone can give.