Survival Guide for Puppy Chewing

As annoying as it is, all puppies go through a chewing stage.  Some outgrow it while others will need something to chew on throughout their lives.  Most of my dogs, no matter what age, love something to chew on daily.  

Corgis, like all dogs, need to chew!

Puppies explore the world using their mouth and chewing eases tooth pain during teething. Adolescents chew a lot because they are teenagers. Dogs find chewing fun and stimulating. Bored dogs may occupy themselves with chewing and thus developed a serious chewing habit.

As an owner, it is your job to develop good chewing habits in your dog. Good chewing habits means that your dog knows what to chew and will make an effort to go and get the appropriate chew toy, rather than grabbing the closest piece of furniture. You should start educating your puppy on what it can chew on at a very young age when you get it and continue through teething three to seven months and into adulthood. Habits take a while to develop so be diligent and consistent.

Safe Chew Items
All chews should be regularly checked for loose pieces that could choke your puppy or a change in shape that might cause it to cut your puppy’s mouth. The chew item must be something that your dog finds interesting enough to keep chewing. Some safe chew toys that can be given to most dogs in unlimited amounts after a gradual introduction are Kongs, large carrots, nylabones, pig ears, bully sticks, yak chews, cow hooves, etc. Rawhide can cause intestinal compaction therefore some vets do not suggest rawhide chews. I personally do not use bones with my dogs – neither cooked or raw.  Cooked bones can splinter and cause intestinal damage.  Some dogs love to chew on Kongs or nylabones while others prefer natural chews.  The nice thing about using Kongs is that they can be stuffed with food and frozen.  This can keep your little one occupied for awhile and it a good way to slowly feed part of their food each day.  

Developing good chew habits
Bored dogs become compulsive chewers because they have nothing else to occupy their time so make sure that you give your dog enough exercise. These are the examples that you see of social media of the puppy / dog chewing up furniture or baseboards in a house.  You dog will need chews well past the time of teething. (3 to 7 months). Make sure that when you confine your puppy to a crate or pen that he or she has several things to chew on.

Your dog will need lots of good things to chew. It is a good idea to have chew items in every room where your dog will spend time. Teach your puppy to like the chew by making it a game. You can start by playing fetch with the chew. If your puppy does not want to fetch the chew, tie a string around the chew and drag it enticingly back across the floor. Then rather than tossing the chew, help it look for one that is nearby and make a big deal when you find it. Gradually make this into a game of hide and seek where your dog will search out hidden chew. Dogs will need new toys regularly so look for ones with interesting smells or taste.

In my opinion there is a difference between toys and chews.  I like to use toys to play games or comfort dogs and chew objects for the dog to actually chew on.  Once again, you will have to train your pup as to the purpose of each.  If you have a pup that likes to chew their toys or bed make sure to get them unstuffed toys and a bed that does not contain stuffing.  The last thing that you want is for your dog to eat the stuffing in a toy or bed and have to have surgery.  

Correcting inappropriate chewing
If you see your dog chewing on something that it shouldn’t, call its name sharply and tell it to “leave it”. Next help your dog find a chew toy and praise it ecstatically when it finds it. If you do not catch your dog in the act, do not punish it in any way for inappropriate chewing. It won’t understand your actions.

We have had very few items destroyed due to a dog chewing it up because we keep a close eye on our puppies, make sure that they have plenty of chew items and correct them when they start chewing on an item that is not theirs.  If you can not actively watch your pup, please put them in their pen so that they don’t decide to “taste” your furniture, shoes, cabinets or walls.