Once in a while, you may have come home only to find your little furry friend feasting on your favorite sock, furniture, or shoes. You might have asked yourself whether it’s okay for your pup to chew everything, or maybe he’s not normal. We understand the frustration that’s always written on dog owner’s faces, mixed with fears of the worst happening to the dog. Suppose you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, or maybe it’s happening now, and you’re wondering how you can stop your dog from chewing. In that case, this article gives you a comprehensive answer as to whether it’s okay, why it happens, and possible solutions. Read on to find out.
Is it Normal for Dogs To Chew Everything?
Chewing is very normal to dogs of all ages. For instance, a puppy would frequently chew during teething and to explore his environment. Similarly, your adult pup will also enjoy eating and chewing things he finds attractive for different reasons. However, dog chewing becomes a more significant concern if it gets destructive.
While he isn’t doing this on purpose, the act can be frustrating to you as the owner, and it’s normal to feel angry. That’s why you need to take measures and learn how to stop a dog from chewing everything, as your pooch may grow into a nuisance if you let him continue munching whatever he comes across.
What is Destructive Chewing?
Destructive chewing is when your dog’s eating habit becomes a threat. For example, a single instance of a dog chewing on something may cause you to undergo expensive furniture replacements if he directed it to your favorite chairs. Similarly, it can lead to a costly and emergency trip to the vet if what he ingested is hazardous or a breach of the bond between the two of you.
As a result, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your dog chews responsibly and that everything he stuffs into his mouth is appropriate.
Why Do Dogs Chew Things?
Dogs chew for different reasons, depending on their stages of life. For instance, teething is the most common cause of destructive chewing in puppies. Their milk teeth typically erupt between their first three to eight weeks of life. Subsequently, the teeth start falling off to give way to permanent ones between the fourth and sixth months of your dog’s life. Like humans, the teething process is typically a painful journey to your little pup, and his gums are irritated.
As a result, almost all puppies at this stage often chew various objects to soothe their gums. The period is intense and can be challenging to monitor, given that the pains and irritations are continuous. That means your little four-legged friend will be grabbing every opportunity to press anything between his teeth.
Fortunately, the stage isn’t permanent, and most dogs will get over the intense chewing when they reach around one to one-and-half years. However, it’s only one of the possible reasons behind your pup’s chewing habits. Behavioral causes like separation anxiety, stress, or fear can also cause your dog to chew on everything. Similarly, there are medical conditions that can cause this problem. Here are some reasons to look out for in an excessively chewing dog.
- Lack of exercise
- Zero mental stimulation in your dog
- Separation anxiety
- Frustration, stress, boredom, or fear
- Not training your puppy on appropriate chewing
- Not providing dog chew toys
- To explore their environment
How To Stop My Dog from Chewing Everything
1. Rule Out Medical Reasons
Nutritional deficiencies resulting from intestinal parasitism  and poor diet may sometimes cause pica, a condition that can be misinterpreted as destructive as destructive chewing.
Similarly, gastrointestinal complications may cause nausea, which may trigger chewing as a coping method. As such, you may need to book an appointment with your veterinarian so he can check up on your dog to diagnose and treat any possible health threats.
2. Teach Your Dog What to Chew
You may have to teach your dog what to eat and what to avoid. First, provide the right items to chew, including a dog chew toy and other appropriate objects.
While choosing what to give your dog for appropriate chewing, look out and avoid providing similar objects to what he should not. For instance, it may be tempting to give your puppy that old sock to soothe his sore gums. However, your dog won’t be able to tell the difference between the socks you gave him and the ones he should not eat. Chew toys are a perfect choice for this function.
Ensure that the chew toys you get for your dog are specifically designed with their safety in mind. Similarly, you may consider cultivating chew toys into your daily routines. For example, you can fill his kibble into a Kong-type toy or start serving his meals inside a puzzle toy instead of bowls.
Again, you can consider covering the openings of your dog’s puzzle toy using peanut butter or canned cheese, freeze it overnight, and then give your dog, especially if he is a progressive chewer. Similarly, pups typically get bored over a short time. Thus, you may have to change the toys often and make his chew items new almost every time.
You don’t have to buy a new one every time. Purchase a few, hide some, and rotate as necessary so your dog doesn’t feel bored. Again, consider freezing rubber toys for your teething puppy since cold rubber can soothe his gums better. However, watch out, so he doesn’t ingest any of the pieces.
Additionally, ensure that you choose the right toys  in terms of age and safety. Most plush toys can be choking hazards, considering the small pieces that can fall off. Similarly, squeakier toys aren’t a good match since a pup can easily swallow the parts and may force you into an emergency trip to the vet.
Nylon bones are non-damaging to your pup’s teeth, durable, and safe; hence they too are a good choice for chewing toys. You can also check out chewsticks or greenies because they can also help with your dog’s dental complications. If you opt for rubber toys, certify that they can’t shred into pieces that your pup can swallow, cause intestinal upset, or any choking hazards.
Lastly, avoid chicken bones since they splinter effortlessly, forming sharp fragments which can easily poke holes in your pup’s gastrointestinal tract.
3. Consider Puppy-Proofing
Puppies, especially at the teething stage, are quite challenging to monitor and control. As a result, your puppy and valuables will be safer from destructive chewing if the items are out of reach. Ensure that you keep everything you don’t want your dog to chew out of reach. These can include shoes, clothes, trash, eyeglasses, remote controls, books, and every other thing that seems appealing to your furry friend.
Also, take note of all items that can be hazardous and keep them safely, away from your dog. These may include garden chemicals, cleaning chemicals, pesticide containers, medicine bottles, and much more. Similarly, if you cannot watch your pet for specific hours, use a puppy crate— that is, after your pup has successfully undergone crate training.
4. Supervise Your Dog Around the House
As you would a small baby, always keep your puppy in your vicinity as much as possible. That will help you notice when he attempts to chew anything he shouldn’t and allow you to stop him in his tracks.
Similarly, don’t allow the dog to be in any room, especially your bathroom, unsupervised. That’s because your bathroom has many items that can lead to choking hazards or hurt your dog’s health, like cleaners, detergents, and more. Again, it’s evident that your bathroom has objects that you won’t like your dog to carry outside, including the things inside the trash.
However, if you notice that your dog only chews destructively when you’re not around, then he could be stressed or suffering anxiety. If that’s the case, you may consider visiting a behavior specialist.
5. Spend Time With Him
Sometimes dogs chew progressively to catch your attention or to express fear and frustration. As a result, you should consider spending quality time with your puppy whenever possible. If you have to leave, ensure that he’s comfortable. If you had already crate trained him successfully, you might want to consider confining him before you go. However, be cautious not to exceed the proper confinement hours for your dog. Your dog’s age in months translates into how many hours you can crate a dog. For example, a two-month-old dog can typically keep up in the kennel successfully for only two hours.
The best dog crates out there provide a high level of comfort for your pups, but if you can’t crate your dog for some reason, consider finding a safe, puppy-proof section of your house to leave your canine. Exercise pens can also be perfect for the purpose. Similarly, you may consider leaving your scent while you go out, especially if you’ll take longer. Consider rubbing your pup’s nylon bone between your hands or leave a radio playing on low, soft music to transfer your scent or keep him calm. These techniques also help solve issues like stopping a dog from whining in his crate.
6. Exercise Him Enough
Always consider making your dog tired toward the crating time since anxiety and high energy levels are some of the most common forces behind dogs chewing. Sometimes dogs chew because they’re bored or anxious. However, a tired dog will know nothing any better than sleeping.
As a result, ensure your dog gets a quality physical and mental workout every day. However, you should consider your dog’s age, breed characteristics, and health to develop appropriate activities for your little furry friend
7. Don’t Chase, Trade
Chasing after your dog when he starts chewing on something will be great fun to him and an encouragement. Again, snatching the item from his mouth, using force may cause him to be protective or run away every time he’s chewing inappropriately. Instead, find a way to distract him from the object into something else or trade his thing for another treat.
After he has given up the object for what you’re offering or positively responded to your command, appreciate the efforts. Similarly, start introducing the order “give” every time you want to exchange an item. That way, your little pooch will get accustomed and voluntarily offer the object when you use to command.
8. Use Deterrents
Sometimes it can be challenging to keep an eye on your dog all the time. Instead of constantly worrying about the accident your pooch may make behind your back, use a repellant on the surfaces to make them unappealing to the dog. For instance, you may consider coating your furniture with bitter apple to make it unpleasant.
9. Set Realistic Expectations, and Don’t Punish
It’s a learning process, and your dog may take relatively longer than you expected. As a result, you may want to set realistic expectations, be patient with your dog, Avoid punishing Fido because of taking longer than you expected to get the concept.
At some point, your dog will still make a mistake and chew on something you value. But, try to remain calm and train the attitude lovingly. Appreciate every little effort your dog makes, and praise them for following commands. Remember that dogs respond better to praises and appreciation rather than punishments or scolding.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get a dog to stop chewing and eating everything?
Chewing is a normal thing for dogs but can sometimes be the root cause of many problems. As a result, you may not stop your dog from chewing, but you can teach him to do it appropriately by introducing him to the objects that are appropriate for chewing. It could take time, but your dog will soon learn to differentiate what he should and shouldn’t chew.
What causes excessive chewing in dogs?
Your dog’s excessive chewing could result from several reasons, including anxiety, fear, or curiosity. However, teething is one of the most causes of excessive chewing since the dog is probably feeling pain and irritation in the gums. As such, chewing offers a soothing sensation to the gums.
How do I stop destructive chewing?
Destructive chewing occurs when your dog bites into everything, putting him at risk of choking, getting an infection, or destroying your valuable property. The best way to stop your dog from chewing destructively is by teaching him the proper objects to chew and which to avoid.
Do dogs outgrow chewing?
Yes, but not always. Chewing is a normal thing to dogs, but young puppies typically do it excessively when teething. This process usually ends when the puppy is between four and six months. Subsequently, most dogs stop excessive chewing when they are one or one-and-a-half years of age.