How to Stop Your Dog’s Destructive Chewing

No matter your dog’s age, destructive chewing is a habit you need to be prepared to face. Puppies are more prone to chewing due to teething, but the act can quickly turn into a destructive behavior. Older dogs can start destroying your furniture or clothing due to medical reasons, lack of stimulation, and more. 

A trusted vet clinic, such as Acoma Animal Clinic in Tucson. Acoma Animal Clinic can give expert advice to resolve all types of conditions. Their veterinarians provides you and your pet with a comfortable environment and compassionate treatment.

Most behavioral issues, such as destructive chewing, can be trained out of your dog. To learn how, read below. 

Training Your Puppy To Not Chew

A puppy is a wonderful furry friend; a bundle of cuteness and energy that can complete your family. However, if you’re not prepared for their natural habits, such as chewing, you can quickly feel overwhelmed. Don’t worry — training your puppy out of this is simple. 

Be attentive. A puppy needs constant attention when they are outside of their crate to protect them from their own curiosity. Anything they are interested in has a high chance of going in their mouth. If you can’t keep an eye on them, keep them contained in a safe area, such as a crate or gated off section of the home.

Puppies can also chew on things because they’re teething or bored. If they’re teething, consider purchasing them treats or toys to help. Using food encourages them to bite on what they’re supposed to and teaches them not to use your clothing, furniture or wooden floorboards. 

If the chewing problem is not caused by teething, put away anything your dog wants to chew on. 

The key to disciplining a puppy is to disrupt their behavior and then divert their attention. Encourage them to use their durable toys, such as a nylabone. Avoid giving them plush toys or ones with squeakers, as your puppy can easily tear apart and ingest them. 

Always praise your pup for using the proper teething equipment. If you catch them biting at something you don’t want to, make sure you do it right as you catch the behavior. Do not yell at them or rub their nose into it; this can agitate or excite your puppy to the point where they stop listening. Your dog also often cannot connect the dots between what you’re showing them and what you’re reprimanding them for, even if it just happened.

Instead, tell them a firm “no” and redirect their attention to their teething treats or toys. Once they continue using the toy, praise them. 

Finally, a puppy can chew on things out of boredom. Remember, puppies are young and have a lot of energy, so frequent walks, play times and stimulation is key to curbing their bad behaviors. It also gives you time to bond with them and praise them for the things they do well. 

Why Older Dogs Start Chewing

Because dogs can’t express themselves the way humans can, they turn to outlets that are often less than ideal for their owners. Some start whining, barking, pacing or become restless, while others begin urinating and defecating in the house or chewing on clothing, furniture or wood. 

If you notice your dog is developing destructive habits such as chewing, it could be caused by the following things.

Separation Anxiety 

Dogs can get separation anxiety. Feeling alone can fuel their destructive habits. Your dog doesn’t have to be alone in the house either — some dogs exhibit these behaviors if they feel like they don’t get enough attention. Some social breeds, such as bulldogs, are especially prone to this. 


If your dog is chewing and eating things around the house, they could simply be hungry. A dog on a low-calorie diet or a restricted diet due to allergens or weight control could be acting out because their stomach isn’t full. If this is the case, consult the feeding instructions on your dog food bag or talk with your vet about new diet regulations. 

Fabric Sucking

Fabric sucking, otherwise known as nursing, is a common habit for cats and dogs alike. Some experts believe this is caused by the animal being weaned too early, but others think it is a sign of affection or comfort. This is a compulsive behavior and may be difficult for you to stop. Consider talking to a professional trainer for tips on how to stop this behavior. 

Dental Pain

Like with puppies and teething, dogs can start chewing to relieve pain in their gums. A vet will be able to examine your dog’s mouth to see if any of their teeth are rotting or loose, if they have gum disease, or if there is another underlying cause. 

Stress, Frustration, Lack of Stimulation

An unhappy or bored dog will find ways to break out of their funk. They best way to entertain themselves is to chew on something. 

Agility-based breeds or dogs that love to move around can be excited or agitated if they see other dogs or humans running and playing. They’ll want to join in on the fun. If they’re unable to, it can upset them. They may begin chewing on their restraints, whether a window screen, door or leash, to try and get to the fun.

Training To Stop Destructive Chewing

Dog-proofing your home can help, but it won’t stop the habit. Remove all of your valuable objects from your dog’s reach and use sour or spicy flavored sprays to discourage your dog from chewing on larger furniture or wood trim. 

Provide your dog with plenty of toys for them to chew on and schedule a daily play time and walks for them. Dogs like routines and sticking with one that provides ample stimuli and exercise can distract your dog from their destructive habits. 

If your dog starts chewing around the same time every day, use that to your advantage. Take them out of a walk around this time or give them their favorite toy to distract them. 

Do your best to supervise your dog during all waking hours until your confident their chewing habit is under control. This is not only to protect your belongings, but your dog too. Ingesting something sharp or something they’re unable to pass can cause damage to their stomach and intestinal tracts. Oftentimes, surgery will be needed to remove the blockage. 

When you can’t supervise your dog, crate them or block them off in a safe area of the home. Be sure that area is dog-proofed and has plenty of toys and their water bowl. 

If you’re at your wits end, a vet can help. Acoma Animal Clinic in Tucson has seen all types of behavioral habits and knows the medical issues that causes them. Their vets know your pets like they’re family and treat them as such. Give them a call today to see if they can help you.

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