Why do Dogs Chew? Tips to Stop Your Dog From Chewing Everything

Why do Dogs Chew? Tips to Stop Destructive Chewing in Dogs

As a dog owner, you’ve likely come home to find your favorite shoes or furniture chewed up. But have you ever wondered why dogs chew? Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help you address the chewing issue and provide your dog with the mental and physical activity they need.

Table of Contents

Reasons for Destructive Chewing in Dogs

1.Chewing to Reduce Itchiness

Dogs chew to relieve discomfort and itchiness in their gums. Chewing also helps clean their teeth and remove any debris, keeping their mouths healthy. Puppies start teething at around 3-4 months old, and this can be uncomfortable. Chewing soothes their gums and reduces itchiness.

2.Chewing to Explore

Dogs are naturally curious animals, and chewing is one way they explore their environment. They use their mouths to investigate textures, tastes, and smells, much like we use our hands. This instinctual behavior is especially strong in puppies, who are still learning about the world around them.

3.Relieve Anxiety and Stress

Chewing can be a calming and soothing activity for dogs, much like humans might find comfort in activities like knitting or meditation. When dogs are feeling anxious or stressed, they may turn to chewing as a way to release tension and calm their minds.

4.Boredom and Lack of Stimulation

Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to thrive. If they don't get enough exercise, playtime, or mental challenges, they may chew to entertain themselves. This is especially true for high-energy breeds or dogs left alone for long periods.

5.Instinctual Behavior of Chewing

In the wild, dogs chew on bones, sticks, and other objects to keep their teeth clean and healthy. This instinct remains in domesticated dogs, who may seek out chew toys or other objects to satisfy this urge.

6.Seeking Attention

Dogs can be attention seekers. If your dog chews on something they shouldn't, it may be to get a reaction from you. This reaction, whether positive or negative, reinforces their behavior and encourages them to continue seeking attention through chewing.

7.Habitual Chewing Behavior

Some dogs develop chewing as a habit, especially if they lack appropriate outlets for their energy and curiosity. This can lead to destructive behavior and unwanted chewing of household items, furniture, and shoes, which can be frustrating and costly for owners.

Dog Breeds That Are Biggest Chewers

Some dog breeds are known to be big chewers. They usually have a lot of energy, strong jaws, and a natural tendency to chew. The biggest chewers include:

Yak Chews: Natural Chew Option to Reduce Destructive Chewing

Yak chews, made from the milk of yaks, contain a natural compound called casein, which has a calming effect on dogs [source]. Yak chews can be helpful to reduce boredom in your dog and reduce destructive chewing. They can help distract your dog from anxiety triggers and provide a sense of comfort and security. Yak cheese sticks provide health benefits for your dog while reinforcing good behaviors as well.

How to Manage Your Dog’s Chewing Behavior

Now that you know why dogs chew, it's time to address the solution. Here are some tips to help you stop your dog from chewing:

  • Keep valuable objects and harmful objects away from the reach of your dog such as sharp objects, medications, chemicals, etc.
  • Offer your dog a variety of chew toys, such as rubber toys, bully sticks, and yak chews. Rotate them regularly to keep things interesting.
  • Supervise your dog at all times, especially when they're in situations that might trigger chewing (e.g. when they're feeling anxious or bored).
  • Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise, playtime, and mental challenges. This can include activities like agility training, puzzle toys, and scent work.
  • Reward your dog for good behavior and train them to develop good behaviors using positive reinforcement instead of scolding or punishing for destructive chewing.


Why does our dog only chew my stuff?

Dogs often chew their owner's belongings because the scent is comforting and familiar to them. They may also associate these items with attention and interaction, leading them to chew on them to initiate play or get a reaction.

At what age do dogs stop chewing?

Dogs typically stop chewing due to teething by around 6-8 months old, but they may continue to chew due to other reasons such as boredom, anxiety, or instinctual behavior. With proper training and appropriate natural chews, dogs can learn to redirect their chewing behavior to acceptable objects.

How to stop my dog from chewing stuff when I'm gone?

To prevent your dog from chewing when you're away, provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation before leaving the house. Leave a treat-filled toy or puzzle toy, and use a crate or dog-proofed room to limit access to tempting objects.


By addressing the root causes of your dog's chewing behavior and providing appropriate outlets for their energy and curiosity, you can help them develop healthier habits and build a stronger bond with you.

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