Chewing is a perfectly normal behavior for dogs of all ages. Both domestic and wild dogs can spend hours chewing. This activity keeps their jaws strong and their teeth clean. They chew for fun, they chew for stimulation, and they chew to relieve anxiety. While chewing behavior is normal, dogs sometimes direct their chewing behavior toward inappropriate items. Both puppies and adult dogs should have a variety of appropriate and attractive chew toys.
Puppies, like infants and toddlers, explore their world by putting objects in their mouths. And, like babies, they teethe for about 6 months, which usually creates some discomfort. Chewing not only facilitates teething, but also makes sore gums feel better.
Adult dogs may engage in destructive chewing for any number of reasons. In order to deal with the behavior, you must first determine why your dog is chewing—and remember, he’s not doing it to spite you. Possible reasons for destructive chewing include:
- As a puppy, he wasn’t taught what to chew and what not to chew
- He’s bored
- He suffers from separation anxiety
- His behavior is fear-related
- He wants attention