Destructive chewing can be a frustrating and expensive problem, & can mean you come home to find part of your house torn or ripped up.
It’s therefore important you know more about tearing, ripping & chewing behavior if you are experiencing it.
In the guide below, we’ve included two potentially useful sections for you:
– We’ve outlined 10 potential reasons a dog might chew or engage in destructive chewing type behavior.
– We’ve also outlined 15 potential solutions for reducing or stopping this behavior
Let’s take a closer look!
NOTE: this is an informational and general guide only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. See a qualified expert like a vet for professional advice.
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Why Some Dogs Tear, Rip & Chew Everything Up, & How To Stop It
Why Some Dogs Might Chew, Rip & Tear Everything Up (10 Reasons)
10 Reasons That Dog’s Chew or Engage In Destructive Chewing Behavior
There’s a a few reasons a dog may try to chew, tear and rip everything up, including but not limited to:
1. Attention Seeking
Dogs may destroy things to get more attention from their owner.
Dogs have a decent level of intelligence, and they need mental stimulation.
Some breeds are very intelligence and need a high level of stimulation.
If you don’t give them this mental stimulation, they will keep their brains occupied with other things like chewing.
3. Lack of exercise and excess energy
Chewing may be a way that dogs expend energy they haven’t spent during walking or other activities where they are getting adequate exercise.
Big dogs especially need regular exercise.
Raw bones and dog toy chew bones can be a good way to help keep dogs mentally stimulated and give them something to chew on
4. Keeping their jaw strong and teeth clean
Dogs naturally chew on bones and chewable items as a way of keeping their jaw strong and cleaning their teeth.
If they aren’t getting their chewing from acceptable chew items, they will look for things you don’t want them to chew to replace them
Dogs have a few main drives, one of which is to eat.
A hungry dog may chew on items when they are hungry either out of frustration, or to try to satisfy the hunger feeling in their body
6. Lack of obedience training or strong leadership
It’s possible your dog hasn’t been taught, or they have forgotten what acceptable behaviour is around the house. So, they think they can get away with undesirable behavior.
Some breeds also seek a strong leader, so if you let the boundaries slip around the house and your dog is allowed to do whatever they like, they may think chewing has become acceptable too.
7. Loneliness and separation anxiety
A lonely dog may get so lonely that they need a release.
Chewing is one way a dog might release tension when they are stressed or scared from being alone.
8. Another mental condition
It’s possible there may be something else going on mentally (they might have developed a compulsive or anxiety based behavior for example) or your dog may have temperament or behavioural issues which could be caused by a whole range of things from poor breeding to mistreatment as a puppy and adult.
Your vet is the best person to deal with serious mental and health conditions like this, and they may suggest a professional dog trainer.
Puppies naturally want to explore things with their mouth
Puppies go through teething up until about 6 months of age – where they want to chew on things to ease the pain and ache of new teeth coming through.
Why Does My Dog Keep Chewing Up His/Her Bed and Blankets?
Dog beds are usually mattress type beds or contain some type of stuffing.
Dogs might like to chew up beds because it fits firmly in their mouth and to get to the stuffing inside.
Blankets are also a challenge for dogs to chew up because they get to tear and rip them apart – the tightly knitted fabric doesn’t come apart easily.
Why Does My Dog Keep Chewing Up His/Her Crate?
Dog crates are usually made up of that thin metal wire and plastic.
Both thin metal and plastic are attractive materials for a dog that wants to chew.
Specifically with a dog crate, some dogs may not like being in the crate itself, and separate to the reasons listed above for chewing, a dog may chew a dog crate to get out of the crate so they aren’t restricted to a small space anymore.
Why Does My Dog Keep Chewing Up The Carpet?
Some people think that some dogs can develop an attraction to some types of fabric – maybe they like the texture/feel or taste of it.
Another possibility is that carpet can get all types of odors, smells and things trapped in it.
Maybe your dog is attracted to one of these smells or something in the carpet fibres and thinks digging it up will get them to something under the carpet when in fact it’s just the smell of whatever it is that’s trapped in it.
The other thing with carpet is that some dogs find it a good challenge to pull the carpet up if they have nothing else to play with or chew on.
Why Does My Dog Keep Chewing Up The Furniture?
Furniture is usually made of wood.
Wood in general is a material that dogs like to chew on because it is hard, but soft enough not to hurt their teeth and to chew through.
Why Does My Dog Keep Chewing Up My Underwear?
There might be two main reasons for this:
1. There might be scents on your underwear that your dog is drawn to – whether it’s your scent or something else
2. Dog’s might enjoy trying to chew apart the elastic or cotton or other material in the underwear
How To Stop A Dog From Chewing, Tearing & Ripping Everything Up
Summary Of Dog and Puppy Chewing Solutions
Spend adequate time interacting with and socialising with your dog
Make sure your dog has something to do to keep mentally stimulated, and doesn’t get bored
Exercise your dog daily
Make sure your dog has dog toys, chew toys and bones like KONG Extreme dog toy with ultra strong rubber (on Amazon), Dura Chew Nylabones (on Amazon), Dog Chew Ropes like the Mammoth Flossy 5 Know Rope (on Amazon), Wet/damp rags, BPA free plastic containers
Feed your dog on schedule everyday
Train your dog not to chew, keep house rules enforced, and always let your dog know what acceptable and non acceptable behaviors are. Practice re-directing your dog’s attention from the object they are chewing to a chew toy. You can use the The Company of Animals Pet Corrector (on Amazon) training aid to help you get your dog’s attention
See a vet for a health assessment
See a professional dog trainer to get professional help with training or behavioral issues
Distinguish between normal puppy and dog mouthing and destructive chewing
Puppy and dog proof the house
Use a natural non staining chew deterring spray – Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray (on Amazon), or Natural NOW Citronella Oil (on Amazon) – dilute it in a bottle with water as per the dilution instructions provided by the company
Confine or isolate your dog for a short period of time so they can’t damage other areas of the house
Consider a heavy duty dog leash like the Pet Lovers Club Heavy Duty Dog Leash (on Amazon)
How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing? – 15 Possible Solutions
1. Spend adequate time with your dog daily
Interacting with your dog and giving them attention daily is very important.
Dogs are social animals that naturally want to be apart of a pack. If you aren’t giving your dog attention daily, they are going to get frustrated at not having their social needs met, and that frustration can result in chewing
If you go for very long periods without your dog, or even if you spend ALOT of time with your dog and then leave, your dog can develop separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety will usually product more severe symptoms in your dog.
If you think this is the case, see a vet to see what your options are.
2. Make sure your dog has something to do to keep mentally stimulated
Whether you are at home with your dog, or they are at home alone during the day, make sure they always have something to do so they don’t get bored
Dog toys and chew toys are a good way of keeping your dog entertained while you aren’t there.
A bored dog is a dog that is more prone to chewing.
3. Exercise your dog daily
Excess energy, if not burnt off on dog walks, may be released by chewing.
Dogs are going to build up energy, and they need a way to release that energy and stretch out their muscles.
A 20 to 30 minutes walk everyday (mixed in with longer ones on the weekends) should be enough to burn a lot of the excess energy away that your dog has.
Big dogs in particular need plenty of exercise.
4. Give your dog chew toys and chew objects like bones
Dogs will naturally at times want to exercise their jaw to keep it strong, and also clean their teeth.
Chew toys and chew objects like bones are a great way of doing this.
The same is also true when puppies are going through teething – they get pains and aches in their gums and mouth from new teeth growing through up to 6 months of age.
Objects you can give to your dog or puppy to chew on are
- KONG Extreme dog toy with ultra strong rubber (on Amazon)
- Dura Chew Nylabones (on Amazon)
- Dog Chew Ropes like the Mammoth Flossy 5 Know Rope (on Amazon)
- Wet damp rags
- BPA free plastic containers
5. Feed your dog on schedule everyday
Hungry dogs can start chewing out of frustration and as a way to satisfy their hunger.
Most adult dogs are fed twice a day – in the morning and night.
Make sure you are feeding your dog at the same times everyday so they come to expect when they will be fed so they don’t go looking for things to chew.
6. Train your dog not to chew, keep house rules enforced, and reinforce acceptable and non acceptable behavior consistently
Dogs should go to puppy school and undertake basic obedience when they are ready.
Part of their training involves learning that chewing things you don’t want them to chew is not an acceptable behavior.
If your dog does still try to chew furniture, their bed, their crate, or other household items, you can try re-directing their chewing as part of some basic dog training.
To do this:
– walk to them to whatever they are chewing that they are not supposed to be and wait until the chewing starts.
– In a firm voice say ‘No’, or ‘Stop’ or ‘Uh-oh’. Your dog should temporarily stop.
– You can also use a training device like The Company of Animals Pet Corrector (on Amazon), which exerts a hiss of gas, to get your dog’s attention and to stop them chewing.
– When they stop, gently grab their collar and walk them a few steps away and give them their dog toy or a bone.
– If your dog wants to go back to chewing what they were doing before, you repeat the re-directing.
– You can even walk your dog outside and shut the back door so it’s impossible for them to get back in and chew on whatever it is they were chewing on – they have no choice but to play with their chew toy or bone.
For a dog to listen to you, it’s important you’re consistent about house rules and letting your dog know healthy boundaries.
7. See a vet or animal behavioral expert for a health assessment
There are many reasons why a dog might develop a destructive or negative behavior.
Poor breeding or a traumatic event or mistreatment are just a few reasons.
If you think your dog’s chewing might be triggered by a mental condition or something else health related (physical or mental), it’s best to see a vet for their advice.
You may also get a referral to an animal behavior expert
8. See a professional dog trainer
Maybe you just can’t get your dog to stop chewing, you don’t have the time to train them past a basic level, or there’s another factor involved which means you can’t stop the destructive chewing.
In this case, it might be best to consult a professional dog trainer.
You can ask your vet for a referral, or ring up an established dog club or dog training centre in your area and ask for a referral.
A suitably qualified animal professional should be able to figure out what the cause of the chewing is, and either help you correct the issue, or give you a training program to correct the behavior over time.
9. If it’s just mouthing, let the behavior go
Dogs naturally use their mouth to inspect and make sense of things in a similar way we as humans use our hands.
Puppies especially will want to pick up and taste things with their mouth. It’s the way they explore and interact with their outside world.
If the mouthing is not causing any harm, you may let it go as long as it doesn’t continue and it’s just a temporary thing.
Monitor the behavior to see if it continues or gets worse.
10. Puppy and Dog Proof the house
Is your dog trying to chew up your shoes and electrical cords?
Make sure you either put away, conceal or cover up the things that your dog might try to chew that you don’t want them destroying, or that could harm them.
11. Use (safe) chewing deterrents like sprays
As long as the chew deterrent does stain or damage the surface you are spraying it on – like furniture or your carpets for example, you might like to give a chewing deterrent a go.
Two examples of common chew deterrents are:
- Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray (on Amazon)
- Natural NOW Citronella Oil (on Amazon) – dilute it in a bottle with water as per the dilution instructions provided by the company
Some people find they work because dog’s hate the taste and smell of citronella or bitter sprays for example.
12. Confine your dog for short period
A temporary solution for managing chewing is to confine your puppy or dog to their crate, or to a specific area or room of the house where they can’t chew anything.
We say temporary because dogs shouldn’t be locked up or isolated for extended periods.
It’s moreso a temporary thing while you get training sorted out, or they grow out of the behavior.
How To Stop My Dog Chewing In Specific Situations
Below we’ve listed common specific situations where dogs might chew and tear up certain items.
In these situations, you might like to combine a number of approaches – both short term and long term.
For example, if you have an existing dog bed, you might try re-directing your dog’s behavior to chew on a dog toys when they chew their bed.
But, for some people, they might find better value in simply buying a chew proof metal and strong fabric dog bed.
Let’s check them out!
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up His/Her Bed & Blankets
Some dog beds are more chew resistant than others.
You can try getting an indestructible type dog bed made of metal and chew proof fabric like:
If your dog is chewing up their blankets, you might buy them a comfortable bed, put the bed inside in a warm area, and remove the blankets from the bed.
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up His/Her Crate
Firstly, you want to check out a heavy duty chew resistant dog crate like the ProSelect Empire Dog Cage (on Amazon).
Secondly, some dog crate pads and mats are more chew resistant than others. The Big Barker Heavy Duty Crate Pad (on Amazon) is one example of a popular chew resistant pad.
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up His/Her Leash
A thicker dog leash made of heavy duty nylon can do the trick.
The Pet Lovers Club Heavy Duty Dog Leash (on Amazon) is an example of a 2 layer dog leash that is 2 times thicker and tougher than the average dog leash.
Some people also try leather or metal leashes – but you need to be careful a metal leash doesn’t damage your dog’s teeth.
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up His/Her Harness
Dogs shouldn’t be able to access their harness to chew them up as they should be secured to the body.
But, one harness that is made of a two layer denim and nylon construction is the URPOWER Heavy Duty Dog Harness (on Amazon).
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up The Furniture
The most effective solutions might be either redirecting, confining your dog or using a chew deterrent spray like the bitter apple or citronella sprays mentioned above.
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up My Underwear
Have a washing hamper/basket that is fully and enclosed and has a lid – make sure all used underwear goes in the basket and not on the floor.
When you hang out your underwear to dry, make sure it is out of jumping reach of your dog on a line or in an area your dog can’t get to.
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up My Shoes
Make sure you keep your shoes out of reach of your dog.
Also try redirecting and replacing the shoes with a dog toy or chew toy.
Puppies in particular like to chew on shoes.
How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Up The Carpet
This one can be difficult to manage,
If it’s carpet in a particular room, you may try avoiding letting your dog stay in that room unsupervised. Cleaning the carpet regularly to rid any smells and odors can work.
Otherwise, you might need to consult a professional trainer.
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