Dogs are individuals and, just like us, have their own personalities, dispositions and issues. In a previous article, we answered the question “Why does my dog wee on his bed?”, and today we’re tackling another common issue - chewing.
If you have a dog that is a 'chewer', you’ll know they tend to gravitate towards certain items, whether it be shoes, clothing or furniture. And while an old pair of socks may not elicit much reaction, the last thing you want your furry friend to tear up is their new Taylor & Tails bed.
It’s also in your pup’s best interest to curb the chewing behaviour, not only least because chewed fabric can easily become lodged in a dog’s throat or digestive tract, leading to serious health issues. So, let’s investigate some of the reasons a dog may chew more than others, and how to stop your dog from chewing their bed.
Why Do Some Dogs Chew Their Beds?
While Taylor & Tails beds are some of the most robust on the market, using scratch-resistant vegan leather and upholstery fabric, they’re not immune to a determined dog.
Whether you have an uber-playful puppy or an adult dog who should know better, the reasons they may be chewing usually fall into one of two categories: anxiety or boredom.
Anxiety-Based Dog Chewing
Anxiety can be a difficult condition to recognise in your dog, especially as many dogs have separation anxiety, meaning it’s at its worst when you’re not there to witness it.
Much like with anxiety-induced urinating, chewing is a behaviour that is caused by real or perceived stress. It’s important to note that punishment, including yelling, will only add to your dog’s stress levels and make the behaviour worse. Instead, the anxiety needs to be addressed.
Option 1. Identify what is causing stress to your dog and remove it.
This is the single most effective way to prevent destructive chewing, but isn’t always an option depending on the stressor. If, for example, your dog finds your other pets or noise to be stressful, and these elements can’t be removed, you may instead look to set new boundaries to alleviate, if not eliminate, the issue. Perhaps your dog’s bed could be in a quieter part of the house, or pets and family members could be encouraged to be calmer while indoors. The more you can reduce the cause of the stress, the more effective this option will be.
Option 2. Utilise Dog Pheromones
Synthetic dog pheromones have become incredibly popular for calming dogs that have a nervous disposition. Plug-in air diffusers (odourless to humans) are particularly easy to use and effective at helping a dog to feel more relaxed. Pheromones can have a cumulative effect and so may take some time to work, but many dog owners experience great results.
Option 3. Behaviour Therapy
If you’ve exhausted your options and are at the end of your tether, it may be time to bring in the experts. Your vet or local dog-walking community should be able to recommend a behaviour specialist in your area who can use their expertise to help change your dog's behaviour for the better.
Boredom-Based Dog Chewing
In today’s busy world, many owners find that they aren’t able to give their dogs the amount of exercise they demand. All dogs, but particularly larger breeds, will quickly become bored without adequate exercise and this can result in undesirable behaviours such as chewing.
It’s crucial to allow your pet plenty of time to exhaust their energy reserves during the day. If this is no longer possible with your schedule, utilise the help of local dog walkers or services like borrowmydoggy.com. If your dog spends time in a crate, give them vigorous exercise first to ensure they spend that time resting, not wanting to play.
Redirection training can be used for both puppies and adult dogs who are caught chewing their bed. Redirect their attention to a pre-approved chew toy or another activity that is more positive. If you’re not at home while the chewing occurs, make sure that your furry friend has easy access to stuffed animals, chew toys or interactive dog toys while you’re away. This will keep them mentally stimulated and prevent them seeing their bed as a plaything.
Stay tuned for more advice on dog behaviour from our team of pet-loving professionals.