The Dog Blog

How To Satisfy Your Dog’s Desire To Chew

Our Golden Retriever Penny loves to chew. Left on her own she’ll demolish a tennis ball in minutes, reduce shoes to scraps, and devour dirty socks and dish towels in a blink. Can you relate? 

All dogs love to get things with their mouths. It makes sense when you think about it, they don’t have hands so the only way they can pick something up is with their mouths. So it shouldn’t be a shock that they tend to chew on things. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that you have to let them devour everything you own. 

Getting to know your dog better will make you be a better owner and result in a happier home life for everyone. Here are five common reasons why dogs tend to chew on things: 

    1. Separation anxiety — Most dog breeds are eager to please. This means they love you fiercely and want to be with you constantly. When you’re away they miss you and often chew to help sooth themselves till you get home. 
    2. Boredom — Dogs, like humans, can get bored easily if left alone with nothing to do. Chewing is a way that they occupy themselves when there is nothing for them to do. 
    3. Pleasure — Sometimes it just feels good for them to chew. It’s also how their teeth get cleaned. 
    4. Smell & Taste — Did you know that dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. That’s 40 times what we have. Needless to say, they have an excellent sense of smell. This means that your shoes, dirty socks, and used dish towels all smell like irresistible treats to them. 
    5. Teething — If your dog is a puppy it is possible that he/she is teething. Chewing helps sooth the pain of all those teeth coming in. 

Satisfying your dog’s need to chew is the smart goal here. It’s important to remember that trying to stop your dog from chewing actually works against their nature and may result in a frustrated dog (who is more likely to chew). Here are four tips to help you do it:

    1. Give them something good to chew — As an educated dog owner you know you dog needs something to chew on. Start by giving them what they need. Click here to see our top 5 picks for chew toys. Yes good chew toys costs some money, but they’re a lot cheaper than your best $200 pair of shoes!
    2. Don’t tempt them with things they shouldn’t chew — This one is on us as dog owners. If I leave my sweaty gym shoes lying around I am asking for an unrealistic amount of self-control from my dog. Let’s train ourselves to put things away that we don’t want to tempt them with. 
    3. Use the old Distract & Redirect trick — Parents and puppy owners alike have been using this trick for centuries. If you catch your dog chewing something they shouldn’t, distract them and offer them something that’s better for both of you, like their favorite toy. If you haven’t taught your dog a command like “leave it,” “drop it,” or “give it,” now might be the time to do it. Click here to learn how. 
    4. Provide plenty of exercise — A well exercised dog is a happy dog! Playing fetch, going on a long leisurely walk (or a short vigorous one), taking them for a swim, and just running around and having fun, are all great ways of getting your dog the exercise they need and reduce their boredom. 

Congratulations, you are now on your way to being a more informed dog owner and having a happier and healthier furry friend.