How to stop a dog from chewing inappropriately
You’re having a great day- work was fantastic, beautiful weather, quick commute home. You open the door to your house to find that your dog has chewed shoes, furniture, chair, pillows, toys.
There goes your good day, right?
I’m sure this isn’t the first time your dog has chewed things they should not , but you’re at your wits end. How in the heck do you stop this madness?!
Having a dog in your life is a big change if you are new to being a dog parent or it has been a while since you have had a dog. Sure every hour, day, month is different in what your dog is going to do as well as how to set up a routine. However the one thing you will be sure to experience is your dog chewing on things.
Why do puppies chew?
The cuteness of your puppy may wear off when he/she is starting to chew up things that you do not want like: the couch, floor, wall, dog bed, dog toys, toilet paper and the list could go on and on. After you experience a taste of the destruction you are wondering why they chew.
First of all, puppies chew if they are bored with all that puppy energy and things being left out in your house unintentionally is a yes to them. They have no idea what is dangerous or okay to put in their mouth and that is when big problems can occur with your puppy.
Another reason your puppy chews is in the process of learning their new world that approaching anything could be great to put in their mouth or take it with them in the house. We want your puppy to be confident around new things but not to the point that they will chew them up.
Finally, the last reason puppies chew is because they are going through a change in their mouth. Like humans they get baby teeth, but as they grow in the first months of their life, they loose the baby teeth and the adult ones start coming in there place. This phase is called teething and can start between 6 – 8 weeks and last until your puppy is 6 – 8 months.
You may see little teeth on the floor or your puppy may swallow them. Their gums may be red with irritation as their mouth is going through another phase in becoming an adult dog. I would recommend checking your puppy’s mouth to see where they are in teething and get he/she use to their mouth be looked at and touched.
Why do older dogs chew?
Wait, is there a difference? Yes, adult dogs have different reasons for chewing compared to puppies. They are not getting adult teeth like a puppy, but that does not mean you can put your guard down.
If your dog is bored and you leave stuff out for them, whether you wanted them to chew it or not, it will happen. Sometimes older dog owners think since their dog is not a puppy that chewing will not happen. Both ways of thinking will keep the dog chewing from finally stopping.
How to stop puppy chewing when you are home
The first thing you can do when you are with your puppy is to supervise them. You might think that will not fit in your schedule or other list of things to get done at home. However, your puppy has no idea what is off limits to his/her mouth. You cannot expect to leave your puppy for a second or minute because something will end up in their mouth.
Instead, keep your puppy in a crate if you are busy or designate one area in your house for your puppy will work better. A dog gate or playpen are other useful tools to help keep your puppy away from things he/she will chew up.
Also, look around your house and pick up everything that is on the floor or your puppy could reach by jumping up or grabbing with his/her mouth. This may sound simple but I have gone into several of my clients with puppies and the things they chewed up were not surprising to me but were to my clients.
How to stop puppy chewing when you are at work
Having to go to work while still trying to stop the puppy chewing at first may seem impossible. However, with a little planning and some tools to keep your puppy busy will help you both. If you have crate trained your puppy then that will give you the best option as taking away the options to be around things is part of stopping the puppy chewing.
Although, I know not every new puppy parent may have had a chance to crate train their puppy especially if they have a busy work schedule. I would still look into crate training and start working on it as this gives your dog a safe place to be and you do not have to worry he/she is chewing up your house.
Like I mentioned above on how to stop chewing when you are home, make sure to check for things on the floor and look all over your house. It may take more time but it will help minimize the chance of your puppy chewing things while you are at work.
Also, there are dog cameras that you can buy if you want to check on your puppy while at work. This may be a good thing or a bad thing if it takes away from you being able to work. There are a variety of dog cameras but I would choose one that meets your needs.
One of my clients has the Furbo Dog Camera which tosses treats, has a 2 way audio, and the camera that may seem like a good option if you want a camera in your house.
If you are leaving your puppy in a crate or in a playpen make sure you do not leave anything in it at first. Often a rookie mistake is to leave your puppy with a bed or blanket. I get wanting to make them comfortable but more then likely your puppy will chew it up.
How to stop dog from chewing things when left alone
If you use a crate or playpen that is great but it will not help like I mentioned above if you leave things like a blanket or bed because if your puppy or dog is bored they will destroy it. Instead leaving the area your puppy or dog in empty will ensure no chewing will happen when he/she is left alone.
Another thing to help your puppy or dog is to use the chew toys I recommend in this blog post and try one at a time. I know it is easy to want to buy many chew toys but you will not know right away which ones your puppy or dog will like and chew on them or just ignore. That first chew toy could be the one thing to have in the crate or playpen when leaving your puppy or dog alone.
Remember you may think it is not kind or fair to leave your puppy or dog with nothing when you leave them alone but you are keeping them safe while stopping the chewing from even happening. A win for you and a win for your puppy or dog.
Related Post: The Top 5 Interactive Dog Toys To Use After A Walk
What repels dogs from chewing?
Stopping the chewing is what every dog parent wants, but how to do that permanently can seem like a challenge. There are simple ways to start taking action in your house to stop the chewing.
There is a spray that I absolutely love that helps dogs stop chewing everything in sight. It is called Bitter Apple and it’s seriously been a huge lifesaver for helping prevent dogs from chewing inappropriately. I have had a lot of success with this product and highly recommend it as a last resort.
Chew Toys for Puppies
Here are a couple chew toys I think would be great to use with your puppy:
Nylabone Puppy Starter Packs Puppy Chew Toys this has three types of nylabones and that will give you an idea of which one your puppy may like.
Kong is another great chew toy for your puppy. There are a lot of great options to fill up your kong. Freezing them with the food inside or just by itself could help when your puppy’s gums are red and irritated.
Chlebem Interactive Dog Toy which also serves as a dog chew toy too. My mother-in-law got this chew toy for her fox terrier and he really liked it. I can see how this toy could keep your puppy busy as well as help with the chewing he/she may want to do.
The whole point of a chew toy is it helps with the gums and irritation your puppy may be experiencing as well as not be something they can destroy.
When my mother-in-law got her puppy I got to watch first hand the chewing of things she did not want him to go for: the chair near his playpen, kid toys left near him, and paper. These things are not the chew toys we want for your puppy.
I have tried a couple chew toys for my mother-in-law’s puppy and they may be great options for you and give your puppy something that is okay for them to chew on and not worry. The first time you try a chew toy out with your puppy make sure to be there to see if they like it or if that chew toy could actually be destroyed by your puppy.
I have learned in working with puppies and their parents is to tell them to never underestimate what your puppy may or may not chew up. Chew toys have to be tried as every puppy is different so do not give up or get discouraged if things do not go the way you had hoped.
You could put the chew toy in the freezer and then give it to your puppy. The coldness of the chew toy could give your puppy some relief.
Chew Toys for Older Dogs
Like Chew Toys for Puppies there are chew toys for older dogs and making sure you try a couple out while you are with your dog. Giving your dog the chew toy and not watching or leaving is not safe and can lead to he/she chewing up that toy.
Here are a couple chew toys to consider for your dog:
West Paw Zogoflex Tux Interactive Treat Chew Toy is one that a client of mine uses with her dog. She fills it with some food and freezes it. I have never her dog chew it up and cleaning this chew toy is not hard either.
Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Dog Chew this one is extra large but they come in different sizes and flavors too.
Nylabone Double Bone Power Chew Long Last Dog Toy is another great option that could keep your dog busy and chew for the right reason and leave your house alone.
Kong is another great option that I mentioned as a chew toy for a puppy, as it can be just as useful for a dog. If you use the kong for your puppy then when they are a dog you can still keep giving one throughout their life.
Things to test out with your puppy
I think every puppy parent should test out the chewy toys, home setup, and look around in their house to see what would appeal to their puppy to chew up.
You could take it one step further and sit on the floor at your puppies height and see what they could reach. A lot of times puppy parents underestimate their puppy and what he/she would chew up. I want to keep your puppy safe and stop the frustration that puppy chewing can create.
Another thing is to not just give your puppy a chew toy while you are gone. This takes away the option of your puppy having something to chew up. You may think this is not fair for your puppy but until you know what chew toy or approach is best for your puppy keeping he/she when you are not home will save you stress and a very expensive veterinary bill.
How to stop puppies from chewing everything
There are several ways that will help stop puppies from chewing everything in your house. Here are some actionable things you can do today to Stop the chewing
I would choose one place in your house that is designated for your puppy and use a dog gate to take away any access to your stuff.
If you are wanting to crate train your puppy that would be another great option as your puppy has a safe place to go and once you figure out the right chew toy then that can be given to your puppy in their crate.
I would move everything on the floor, kitchen counters, tables that your puppy could reach and put it safely somewhere else. Also, telling everyone who is in your house to do the same thing is essential to stopping the puppy chewing.
Finally, working on basic dog training with your puppy on leash in the house will help to teach them a sit or down as well as to not wonder off. We cannot expect your puppy to know not to chew on things instead a leash provides a way to keep them safe and work on the bond with them in your house.
Final Thoughts on Dog Chewing
Dog chewing is something every dog owner, new or seasoned, will be dealing with at some point with their puppy or dog. Remember it is not permanent and there are ways to stop it and get back to enjoying your dog and the time together.
Another final thing to remember is do not underestimate your dog and what he/she will chew. Often dog or puppy parents think if the chewing has stopped to just bring everything out on the floor, or put things in their area (crate or playpen).
Let me know what your dog chews on that you cannot stand? Leave a comment below with your answer.