What you can do about your dog’s chewing

One aspect of dog ownership that many owners worry about is chewing. However, it’s worth remembering that chewing is a natural and necessary activity. It helps to reduce your dog’s stress and boredom, strengthens teeth and gums in young dogs, reduces tartar in older dogs and helps your dog feel calm and happy.

Dogs enjoy chewing through all life stages – chewing is not just something that young puppies do. If we embrace this natural behaviour then we can channel their chewing constructively.

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How to stop unwanted chewing

If you’re experiencing a chewing issue with your dog there are a number of things you can do. 

First, ensure that you have tidied everything valuable away, and anything that may harm your dog should they chew it.  Second, invest in numerous chew toys for your dog/puppy. These could include nylabones, rubber toys that can be put in the freezer to calm gum inflammation in teething pups and empty plastic bottles minus the lids and seal.

There are also plenty of edible items you can give your dog that require a lot of chewing, like pigs ears, veggie chews, antlers and hooves. Your dog should always be supervised when they’re given such items and you should swap the last slimy mouthful for a tasty treat to avoid any risk of choking.

Replicate natural behaviours

If your dog likes a good chew consider purchasing a kong.  These are cone shaped hollow rubber toys that have been designed to be stuffed with food.  In the natural world wild dogs spend hours foraging and hunting for food – it keeps them fit, entertained and stimulated.

Our pet dogs have had this role taken away from them. Their food is served up in a bowl twice a day and it’s generally gone in a matter of seconds. Kong feeding or scatter feeding – throwing your dog’s food across the floor or grass – makes your dog work for their food, tiring them out mentally and physically.

Other ways to prevent chewing

  • Walk your dog before leaving them home alone, this will make them more tired and more likely to sleep in your absence
  • Do some training before you leave, this will help tire your dog’s brain and make them sleepy
  • As soon as you return, pick up the items you leave down for them while you’re out – so they remain interesting.