Have you noticed that your dog has started chewing on things he’s not supposed to? Or maybe your new pup has a bad chewing habit? Chewing is a natural way for puppies to teethe, and for grown-up dogs to keep their teeth clean and jaws strong. However, when your dog starts chewing items you don’t want him to, the habit can get rather frustrating.

Here we explain why your dog chews, and how you can redirect his behavior.

Cause of Chewing

Chewing is a natural tendency for any dog. Some pups only chew to keep their mouths healthy, but others do so for less-than-desirable reasons. If you only realize that your dog has been chewing after coming home from leaving him alone, he is probably trying to relieve the stress of separation anxiety. Some dogs, especially those who have been put on a diet, will chew out of hunger. Some pups may specifically chew and suck on fabric, likely as a result of being weaned too early. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, he may even be chewing out of boredom.

Tips to Stop Chewing

You have to remember that your dog will never stop chewing entirely, so your efforts should be focused on re-directing the habit toward objects that he is allowed to chew. Make sure you have plenty of bones, chew toys, and objects of the like at his disposal. We recommend these rawhide chews from Buffalo Range. Be sure also to chew-proof your house by keeping any objects you don’t want chewed out of reach. Once your pup gets used to chewing his designated objects, you might be able to loosen up on the organization. But until then, both of you will be much happier if your valuables are stowed away.

For objects that you can’t hide, like a chair leg or the arm of the couch, use a deterrent spray such as Vet’s Best Bitter Cherry Anti-Chew Spray. Created to stop your dog from chewing at his own wounds, this spray will also keep your dog from chewing on your furniture and other household objects.

Other anti-chew strategies include making sure your dog is getting enough exercise and attention, alleviating separation anxiety, and not giving him old shoes to chew when you expect him not to chew your new shoes (that goes for any kind of object). Remember, dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, and chewing is natural – so find a way to let your pup indulge his instincts safely and non-destructively!