Chewing is an essential part of a dog's life. It can be a great stress reliever, help soothe aching teeth/gums during teething, provide healthy stimulation, and a lack of chewing can even aid in helping you identify medical and behavioral issues! So, when is chewing appropriate (or not)? What are the best chews for dogs? How do we stop bad chewing habits? Keep reading to find out!
Why Dogs Chew?
Dogs chew for many reasons. As puppies, chewing is how they explore their world and ease the sensation of teething. Most dogs chew because they are bored. But chewing can also be signs of medical issues. They may chew on their paws or tails or other objects compulsively out of stress or anxiety. Dogs may also chew on themselves because they’re itchy (allergies/fleas) or feel uncomfortable because of an underlying issue.
It’s so frustrating when your brand new pair of shoes, limited edition Mickey Ears, or couch is chewed up and destroyed when you get home. Naturally, we will yell at our dogs and immediately seek to punish them. But for what? By this time, it’s already too late to correct the behavior. So don’t punish your dog. YES. You read that right. Do not punish your dog for chewing up anything, especially after the fact. Why not? Your dog does not understand he is being punished for inappropriate chewing; therefore, he does not understand that chewing on those objects were inappropriate.
But how do you teach your dog not to chew on your things, you ask?
Identify the reason(s) why he is chewing
Give him something fun/interesting to chew on.
Keep your dog engaged (don’t let him get bored).
Reinforce proper chewing habits.
Learn what his triggers are (stress and anxiety) and teach him how to cope and manage.
Your job as a pet parent is to teach your dog appropriate chewing habits (training) while managing your dog’s environment to ensure he is getting all the enrichment he needs. Make sure there isn’t any medical reason for chewing with a visit to the vet.
Chew On This.
There are a lot of options to choose from when you need to choose the right chews. Here are a break down of some of our recommendations. But first:
AVOID RAW HIDES. We do not recommend raw hides. They are not digestible and can cause serious harm to your pets.
Why we like it: When they're stressed out, throw them a bone - A Chillax to the Max™ Bone! These long-lasting nylon bones are coated with a clear, soluble CBD herbal supplement for oral delivery. The CBD is gradually released as your dog chews or licks the bone.
Great for: stress and anxious chewers. Bored dogs. Minty fresh breath.
Why we like it: all-natural, clean, odorless. Antler chews are an amazing source of essential nutrients. Do not break or splinter. Great for: Aggressive Chewers. Bored dogs.
Why we like it: The KONG unique, ultra-durable, natural rubber formula is designed for determined chewers, while the erratic bounce fulfills a dog's need to play. Want to extend playtime? Be sure to stuff with tempting bits of kibble and entice with a dash of peanut butter. Add to the fun by adding KONG Snacks and top with KONG Easy Treat. Stuff and Freeze for a longer-lasting challenge. Covered by KONG Satisfaction Guarantee.
Great for: Puppies, Aggressive Chewers, Stress or Anxious Chewers, Bored Dogs.
What Was That!
So we’ve touched on a few chews to help keep our bored dogs busy chomping away at our precious belongings, we can talk about there reasons why dogs chew.
Dogs suffer from Anxiety and Stress just as much as we do. And just like us, dogs need some sort of outlet to easy their stress. Once the stressors have been identified, you can work with a dog trainer (Click here to schedule a consultation with ours) to work on desensitization and counter conditioning and to learn how to teach your pup other ways to cope with those stressors. Think of it as Doggie Therapy!
Fleas and ticks and other parasites can also cause your pups to chew on themselves! Once it’s starts to warm up, that’s when those little buggers come out to bite. It’s super important to have your pups on some type of flea and tick preventative. Our personal fave is our pawTree Flea & Tick Spray. This unique blend of peppermint oil and clove oil extract kills fleas and ticks by contact and helps prevent future infestations naturally.
Allergies bite. So it’s not surprising that our dogs chew on themselves because of allergy symptoms. Most common parts dogs chew are their back ends, tails, and paws. If you notice these behaviors definitely look into what you are feeding your dog. Was there any change in his diet? If so look at those ingredient to see what could be the culprit. If your dog does have allergies there is a number of products that we recommend! You can get all the recommendation by creating a FREE pet profile here. This profile will give you a customized nutrition plan and product recommendations to help with your pet’s itching and more!
This most comprehensive allergy supplement contains herbs known to support the body's normal ability to combat skin-related issues associated with food and seasonal allergies. Your pet will love these delicious soft chews, and you’ll know you are keeping his allergies in check and itch-free! Help your pet be comfortable in his skin with these delicious soft chews.
This soothing blend of tea tree oil, aloe vera and chamomile works synergistically to treat and ease the discomfort of environmental allergies, hot spots, abrasions and other skin problems in dogs.
As you can see, there are clearly many different reasons why your pup is chewing. You just got to take a deep breathe, take a step back and try to understand what your dog is trying to tell you! That’s why training is so important. Its not about obedience. Its about understanding.
Because training is a huge part of managing your dog‘s chewing habits, we can help you out! Enroll your dog in one of our K9 Academy courses to get your training needs met. You can schedule a FREE training consultation HERE