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Why do dogs chew

Updated on January 23, 2009

There are many reasons why dogs chew. Both good and bad. When a puppy chews on things it is often its way of exploring the world. It can also be to relieve discomfort while it is teething.

Adult dogs tend to chews to keep their teeth healthy and their gums free of infections. Dental chewing products and hard bones can further help promote healthy teeth. A grown dog may also chew because it is anxious, stressed, bored, afraid, for attention or to show dominance.

Separation anxiety

If a dog becomes very anxious when you leave. It may lead to chewing and biting things that are off limits like a pair of shows, an old t-shirt or even a pillow or a chair.

This fear of separation can occur for several reasons. The dog could have had a bad experience while being left alone. A stay at a kennel may also provoke separation anxiety. Frequent changes in the daily schedule can result in stress and general anxiety as well.

When a dog is bored

If a dog does not get to burn off its energy on a daily basis or if it does not have much contact with humans and other dogs. It may become bored and turn to chewing as a way of keeping itself activated.

You can divert its attention away from off limit objects by providing the dog with a chew toy, taking it for long walks, bike rides, playing with it and petting once in a while. In general socializing with a dog is good to keep a dog happy and content with its life as well as strengthening the bond between you. Also exercise and obedience helps wear the dog out and establish your position as a leader.

Chewing pictures

chewing a bone
chewing a bone
It tastes sooooo good...
It tastes sooooo good...
Wanna play?
Wanna play?

Fear and phobias

Most dogs are afraid of loud noises. Simple things like a phone ringing or firetruck driving by or fireworks can easily scare a dog as they do not understand what it is and may feel threatened by it. Dogs may even develop phobias.

By providing a safe place for the dog to go when it feels afraid you can help relieve the stress caused by the noise. You can also drive the dogs attention away from the source of fear by making him listen to a few simple commands. Then praise him once he does what you tell him to.

Seeking attention through chewing

Dogs may also bite and chew things in order to attract attention. If the dog does not feel like you pay enough attention to it. It may use destructive chewing to get your attention. Even if it is negative.

The solution to this is simply to spend more time with the dog. Keep it active. Exercise. grooming, play time etc. Don't give him attention when he exhibits bad behavior. Instead make off limits unavailable to him. Rewarding the for complying to your commands will also draw it away from seeking attention through negative behavior.


If you are showing signs of weak leadership or have not been able to establish yourself as the pack leader. A dog with aspirations of becoming a leader may want to try and take over. Destructive chewing is one way for the dog to show its dominating status. Seeing that it decides what and when to chew on.

Establish yourself as a firm, but fair leader and you will not have a problem with a dog trying to dominate you.

Dog chewing on a bone

chewing on a tree

Chewing on a shoe


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