Some dogs seem to chew everything. This can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a complete disaster, depending on the size of the dog and what their preferred chew toy is. A Chihuahua gnawing on your newspaper is just a little bit annoying, but a full-sized Alsatian or Rottweiler that decides to tear off chunks of your sofa can end up costing you hundreds of pounds.
There is no way to entirely stop a dog from chewing. It is something they naturally do as a way to relieve stress, and cannot simply be trained away. However, there are steps you can take to control the habit so that your dog's chewing doesn't become destructive.
There are three main reasons why dogs chew things. Firstly, when they are puppies, they chew because it helps them with their teething. Then, they enter an 'exploratory chewing' stage when they are older. During this phase, they will basically be exploring objects with their mouths in the same way human babies like to touch things.
Once they have matured, after about a year, they will start to chew as a way of calming themselves down and managing stress. Chewing helps to release endorphins in dogs, which are chemicals that aid relaxation and happy moods. If your dog is chewing a lot, it could mean they are overly stressed.
As such, there is no real way you can stop a dog from chewing altogether. However, you can direct their attention towards things that are alright for them to gnaw to their heart's content, so that when they chew they are not destroying anything of yours.
Proponents of the BARF diet for dogs will know that canines and bones make an excellent combination. Dogs love to chew a nice meaty bone, and this has additional benefits along with preventing them from destroying your belongings.
Gnawing bones helps dogs to keep their teeth clean, which prevents their breath from smelling too bad. They can also benefit nutritionally from bones, as the meaty ends can often provide them with beneficial substances not present in their standard food.
Giving your dog chew toys is also a good idea. You should have a variety of toys for them to use; around three is perfect. Make them as different as possible, so all their chewing needs are catered for. They should each have a different texture, shape and even taste if you can help it.
Written by: Hannah Dyball