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Dog Chewing Problems: Why They Chew and How to Stop Them

Dog Chewing Problems: Why They Chew and How to Stop Them

Even though chewing is a completely normal thing for dogs to do, you don't want them to wreck your favorite shoes or pillows. Today, our Santa Cruz vets share tips and tricks on how you can stop your dog's destructive chewing and the reasons why your pup will start to chew. 

Why Dogs Chew Things

Your dog explores their environment by chewing on the objects around them. Puppies will chew as a way to help alleviate the pain they feel when they are teething, whereas adult dogs chew to help keep their teeth clean and jaws strong.

But, while chewing is a healthy activity for dogs, your pup might not always sink its teeth into the right items, here we explain why.

Stress & Anxiety

Our canine companions are social animals at heart and lots of pets experience separation anxiety when their owners are gone. Dogs that suffer from stress or anxiety often start chewing as a way to comfort themselves.


If your pooch spends long periods of time alone without being provided with mental stimulation, they can become bored quickly and will start chewing on anything they find interesting around your home as a way to pass the time.

Puppy Teething

Puppies go through an uncomfortable teething period just like human babies. While your puppy is teething they are likely to chew frequently in order to relieve their pain and discomfort.


It is not uncommon for dogs on calorie-restricted diets to begin chewing on objects in an effort to find other sources of nutrition. This type of chewing is generally directed toward objects related to food or smell like food such as plastic bowls.

How to Stop Your Dog From Chewing Your Stuff

When attempting to stop your dog's destructive chewing habits, it's essential to begin by finding the cause of the problem and removing any of the issues listed above. Then you need to focus on redirecting your dog's chewing to more appropriate objects, such as chew toys.


The key to keeping your dog happy and content is to provide them with enough exercise every day. Ensuring your pup gets enough exercise before you leave them alone is one of the best ways you can prevent destructive chewing. Dog breeds that have higher energy levels such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Brittnays, and Springer Spaniels require at least two hours of exercise a day, while more laid back breeds such as Pomeranians, Pugs, and Shih Tzus will often be okay with as little as 40 minutes of daily exercise.


To help lower boredom or separation anxiety in dogs that spend extended periods of time alone, try training your dog to associate alone time with positive experiences. When you leave, provide a puzzle toy stuffed with food, and a variety of fun, special toys that your dog only gets to play with while you are away (to retain the novelty).

Giving your furry friend lots of interesting toys won't just establish a positive association with alone time, it will also distract them from objects that you don't want them to chew on.

A part of encouraging good chewing behavior and protecting your dog's health and teeth is providing your pup with safe items to chew on, and knowing which objects can make your pup choke or damage their teeth. 

Some safe items for your dog to chew on are:

  • Firm rubber dog toys (appropriate for your dog's size)
  • Rope toys designed for dogs
  • Machine washable stuffed toys that are durable and the right size for your pup
  • Tennis balls (make sure they aren't ripped or broken)

Dog Proof Your Home

A way to help make sure your dog only chews on designated items is to remove all other temptations. Keep valuable items out of reach, ensure your laundry is safely put away or placed in a closed hamper, and make sure books and children's toys are stored out of your canine's reach. 

Also, keep your dog from chewing on items that are dangerous for them to chew on such as:

  • Bones
  • Rocks
  • Broken dog toys
  • Children's toys or toys/items that are too small and can be easily swallowed
  • Ribbon and string
  • Rubber bands
  • Water bottles

Discourage Unwanted Chewing

When you encounter your dog chewing on an item they shouldn't be, say "no," take it away, and replace it with a chew toy, then be sure to provide lots of praise when your dog chews on that instead. If none of the suggestions above are successful in stopping your dog's destructive chewing, you may want to try spraying any objects you don't want your dog to chew with a dog deterrent spray.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your dog swallowed something they shouldn't have? If so, this can be considered an emergency, contact our 24/7 Santa Cruz emergency vets today to schedule an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists is always accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about restoring good health to Santa Cruz companion animals. We are open 24/7 to provide your pet with care, whenever they need us.

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