10 Reasons Why Dogs Chew

December 4, 2011

PicchewshoeChewing is a normal dog behavior, and as you’ll see from this list, chewing is driven by many things. It’s important to understand why your dog chews. You may or may not know, you have a huge influence of what a dog chews on and how long the chewing lasts. You can keep destructive chewing to a minimum with proper exercise, training and redirection techniques.

1. Testing: What else are the items around your home for anyway? it’s a table to you, but to your dog, it’s wood. Throughout your dog’s life they may test items by chewing them to see if something good comes of it.

2.  Teething: Around 2 months old when their milk (puppy) teeth are coming in, and between 4-6 months (start of the destructive stage) as the milk teeth fall out and are replaced by the adult teeth. Puppies must instinctively chew to help their teeth go through this process. It also helps relieve tenderness of the teeth and gums.

3.  Keeps gums & teeth, clean & strong: Humans brush, dogs chew.

4.  Responsibility:  As your puppy goes through the teenage months, approximately 6 months to a year, they must chew because instinct tell them they may need to go hunt for food, protect family members or themselves.

5.  Exercises jaw muscles: We go to the gym, dogs chew. Around 7-8 months old is the height of the “destructive stage” for chewing.  Chewing can last for months, even years, if modification or redirection techniques aren’t used.

6.  Anxiety, tension or comfort: Chewing helps relieve a dog of tension or anxiety. Some dogs carry items in their mouth to help comfort them.

7.  Boredom: A lonely or bored dog will be more destructive and chew for  longer periods of time.

8.  Practice: Instinct tells them to practice. OR practice with you; if you get them fixated on their toys using play or praise, this will increase the chewing on the items you want them to chew

9.  Smells good, tastes good, feels good, or they may just be hungry and want to chew on something.

10.  An obsession: Dogs can develop obsessive chewing disorders .

If you wanted to add something, leave a comment below.


16 Responses to “10 Reasons Why Dogs Chew”

  1. Karen on November 17th, 2011 3:20 pm

    I would like to know how to stop a dog from chewing on bedding? She is now 2 yrs old and only get to lay on bedding while I am there. If bedding in put in her kennel she will shred it and eat the remains. That is why she does not have bedding in her kennel.. I have tried sheets, towels, quilts, rugs. She loves them all. When it is cold she will be ok for a day or two, but then she is back at it. When she goes to work will me she can lay on a blanket but I still need to watch her. She will hide her head and chew on the corners of the blankets. I got her when she was 4 months old and she did not have a very good puppyhood. She is very active and can be nervous. She would chew on my hands any time she was not getting her way. When I first got her she would chew on everything around her. She was my hover machine. She is much better but still I would love to give her a bed to sleep on. I give her food from a squirrel she never get food from a bowl. I play with her and have taught her tricks. Please if you have anything on your website that could help me let me know. Thanks for you time

  2. Robert on November 30th, 2011 10:07 pm

    Hi Karen, I’m sorry but I don’t have time to answer individual questions. Your situation could be a little more involved than giving a few suggestions. Can’t direct you to any specific blog of mine to help; ask your Vet who they recommend to handle such behavioral issues. Good Luck and again, sorry

  3. Susana Szabo on April 4th, 2013 10:05 pm

    My 4 yo German Shepherd male dog has been nibbling on his pilow since I remember. He does that only when he is happy, excited, enjoys the soft touch and the smell of it. He lowes clean soft fabrics, never chewed up anything,hard or soft, never destroyed or damaged anythin, all his toys are still intact. He prefers soft toys and rubber balls he can nibble on. He is strong, assertive, intelligent, well balanced, on home coocked diet , walks 2 hrs per day, never showed any agression, not anxious, just very happy and comfortable. I think the nibbling is some sort of pleasure to his sences, just a part of being a dog. Good for him.

  4. Robert on April 10th, 2013 8:24 am

    Hi Susan, Thanks for the comment. That is so awesome to have a dog like that.

  5. Julie on February 11th, 2014 9:16 pm

    My 12yr old Rat Terrier loves to chew her blankets. She never chews her crate bed or any of my bedding. She has a couple blankets around the house she will chew on. She always spits the chunks out. They are all cotton. She’s not bored or hungry. She does it before she goes to bed. I guess she does it to calm herself, like a baby and it’s binky. I’m ok with it and replace her chew blankets as needed. Our vet says as long as she know what she can and can’t chew and she’s not swallowing the pieces he sees no harm.

  6. Annamae on April 29th, 2015 10:33 am

    My 6.5 year old German Shepherd has decided it’s a good idea to chew apart her whole bed that I bought her. It’s foam covered with fabric. First she peed on it, then she began to destroy it. She’s not a chewer in any other aspect, why would she be chewing up bed so suddenly?

  7. lydiah on May 17th, 2015 2:40 am

    My dog is 2 Yrs old and we recently bought her a new kennel, at first she didn’t sleep in it but now she does. But since she has slept in it she seems to be chewing on the door way. I have tried many things to stop her from chewing but they don’t seem to work.Any suggestions.

  8. Deb on September 18th, 2015 6:46 am

    My tenterfield terrier is 16 1/2 years old. She has started nibbling any rug or sometimes clothes that are on me whilst sitting on anyone of the family??

  9. Ayush Sharma on September 29th, 2015 3:04 am

    Can I train a 5-8 month Labrador he didn’t get any type of training till yet???

  10. sarah on September 29th, 2015 10:43 pm

    hey everyone,

    I have six month old lab/cur mix. Bruno likes to take one of my blankets and twist around and chew on it. He is not really tearing it up but more like teething and sucking on it. Is this normal? I have never had a pup do something like this.


  11. Natasha on November 5th, 2015 10:32 pm

    My 2 year old lab chews on his blanket don’t know why he does it.

  12. Robert on November 28th, 2015 11:40 pm

    any age dog can learn

  13. Carolyn Emery on December 29th, 2015 11:07 pm

    My dog recently just moves her mouth chewing, but has nothing in her mouth.Is this a tension or nervous habit? She looks like she is. Hewing grass or the like, but has nothing in her mouth.

  14. Tania on February 22nd, 2017 12:20 am

    I think we should give dogs chew toys if we don’t want them chew on our stuff.
    They are either bored or just want to chew things

  15. Heather on February 25th, 2017 7:29 pm

    My 7-month-old papillon chewed up the remote when it got left on the coffee table. At least it was only a $10 replacement. Been using positive reinforcement to teach him not to take things from the coffee table and that his toys are okay to chew. He is a very good boy, just loves chewing. I just got him a brand new chewing bone yesterday and it already looks like he’s owned it for months

  16. Ra. on September 23rd, 2019 1:33 am

    My #Dobby_Does! came potty-trained and listen-to-NO and this-is-what-I-know-I-am-NOT-supposed-to-chew/decimate trained from the forest where I found him at approximately 1 month of age!
    Abandoned and an orphan! (Link)
    However, if I am out to town for a long enough time, to show his anger, he will SPECIFICALLY target those very items that he NEVER touched when I was around!

    I am looking forward to methods to train him for marking some things as ABSOLUTELY UNTOUCHABLE. Yes, I should not leave him alone, for long, but, explain this to the exigencies of life.