How to stop a dog chewing everything up

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Author: Steph Coelho

Last Updated: January 31, 2023

Dogs chew for various reasons, and when they target new furniture and valuables, it can be a frustrating experience. If you’ve recently lost your favorite watch to a chew-obsessed dog, you may be wondering how to stop a dog from chewing everything up. After all, inappropriate chewing can also lead to health problems for your dog, including intestinal blockage.

Read on to find out why your dog might be chewing and how to stop them from chewing up your things.

Why does my dog chew everything up?

There are a few possible reasons your dog is chewing everything up.

Teething

Chewing is typical behavior in puppies, especially when teething, which generally occurs between 3 to 6 months. Adult teeth growing in can be painful, and puppies chew to relieve soreness.

Boredom

A bored dog is more likely to search the house for something to chew than one with plenty of daily enrichment. Signs of boredom may include:

  • inappropriate chewing
  • digging up dirt
  • restlessness
  • excessive barking
  • jumping

Anxiety

Anxious dogs are also more likely to direct their anxiety into chewing everything up. Problem chewing behavior is especially common in dogs with separation anxiety.

Signs of separation anxiety may include:

  • pacing, shaking, whining
  • accidents
  • excessive barking
  • excessive howling
  • destructive behavior, like chewing
  • drooling or panting
  • attempts to escape

Medical conditions

In rare cases, a condition such as pica may motivate your dog to seek out and chew things it isn’t supposed to. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), pica in dogs is often brought on by anxiety and stress.

Hungry dogs may also chew items in an attempt to find more food.

7 ways to stop a dog from chewing everything up

Wondering how to stop problem chewing habits? Here are a few strategies.

Pinpoint and deal with the root cause

Addressing the root cause is the first step. For example, if your adult dog is chewing due to separation anxiety, you may need the help of a professional. Boredom, on the other hand, is a bit easier to fix.

Provide something to chew on

Give your dog something appropriate to chew on, like indestructible dog toys or puzzle toys. Avoid giving your dogs things like old socks or shoes to chew. They don’t know the difference between old ratty items you don’t want anymore and brand-new dog chew toys. An old shoe or a peanut butter-filled Kong toy, it’s all the same to them. Nothing is off-limits!

Toss them a smelly old sock, and you’re telling them socks are fair game.

And remember to supervise your pup when you give them something to chew on, especially things like bones and rawhides, which can be a choking hazard.

Chew deterrents

As a pet parent, you can try using chew deterrent sprays on items in the house that you can’t put away, like furniture. These products usually come in a spray format and have a smell and taste that dogs dislike.

Give them plenty of exercise

Boredom can lead to destructive chewing or gnawing, but giving your dog plenty of opportunity for play, mental stimulation, and exercise is one way to stave off the doldrums and help prevent them from directing their energy into chewing up your living room couch and cushions.

Your dog needs plenty of walks, playtime sessions, and interactions with other dogs to help prevent boredom-related chewing.

Dog training

When trying to stop your pooch from chewing on everything, it’s important to use positive reinforcement. If you spot your dog chewing on that brand new tough-as-nails toy you purchased, praise them.

Training may also be helpful for dogs who struggle with separation anxiety. Crating or keeping your dog in a confined area may help prevent destructive chewing. Or, if it’s an option, consider boarding your dog in a doggy daycare while you head off to work.

In some cases, contacting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist may be the best strategy.

Clean up before leaving the house

Is chewing a problem? It’s time to dog-proof your home. Clear away tempting items like remote controls or children’s toys and store them out of your dog’s reach before leaving the house to prevent your dog from chewing on them. It’s up to you to do away with clutter that might attract your chew-happy dog. Puppies don’t understand what’s OK to chew and what might get them in trouble.

Purchase durable dog accessories

Avoid flimsy, low-quality items when shopping for your fur friend, and opt for durable, chew-resistant options. Your dog will have a hard time destroying indestructible dog toysdog beds, and tough, well-constructed leashes.

Takeaway

Chewing is normal behavior for a dog. The key is to teach them what they can and can’t chew. Of course, inappropriate chewing is bound to happen at one time or another, especially during the puppy years. It may be worth avoiding buying new things until your puppy stops teething and learns not to chew on household items.

If you’re worried about excessive chewing and your anti-chew strategies don’t seem to help, consult a veterinarian.

FAQs

How long does it take for a dog to stop chewing everything?

Most puppies stop teething around 6 months. But they may still chew inappropriate items. Dogs won’t stop chewing altogether, but you can teach them to chew specific items like indestructible dog toys. And if your dog is a natural chewer, consider investing in chew-proof accessories like a durable dog bed.

Why does my 2-year-old dog still chew?

All dogs chew! It’s part of being a dog. Your dog may not know what is and isn’t appropriate to chew.

Does vinegar stop dogs from chewing?

Yes. If you prefer not to purchase commercial chew deterrents, you can make your own diluted vinegar spray to help stop your dog from chewing everything up. Mix white or apple cider vinegar with water using a 1:5 ratio.