How Can I Get My Adult Dog to Stop Chewing on Things He Shouldn't?

Dog Chewing Sock
Want your dog to stop chewing things like socks and shoes? Give him a new toy that's acceptable to chew, and keep your items out of reach.

Chewing is a habit commonly associated with puppies, but it doesn't necessarily stop as dogs get older. And while it's a normal behavior, chewing can potentially be dangerous depending on what your dog decides to chew on — for instance, chewing an electrical cord could lead to shocks, burns or electrocution — and frustrating if your favorite items bite the dust. But there are some measures you can take to redirect his behavior.

Giving your dog something acceptable to chew can help provide a safe outlet for the behavior and cut down gnawing on inappropriate items. Bring out a few choices at a time, and rotate them every few days so he has the excitement of new chews and toys. Be sure to praise your pup for choosing an appropriate outlet for his chewing behavior.

You may want to consider using interactive toys, such as those that can be filled with treats or peanut butter, and don't give your dog anything that resembles items you don't want chewed. Choose toys that can't be swallowed in their entirety or broken into pieces and swallowed, and avoid bones from the butcher as they can crack or break teeth. Your vet can help you select the right chew toy for your dog.

Additionally, you can slather bitter-tasting products (available from your veterinarian or a pet-supply store) on objects you don't want your dog to sample. You should also try to keep chewable items, like socks or the TV remote, out of your dog's reach.

Also keep in mind that some dogs chew out of boredom. Try making sure your dog gets enough  exercise (provided your vet gives you the OK, of course), as well as mental stimulation.

Finally, chewing that occurs when your dog is left alone, especially if it occurs around doors and windows or is accompanied by scratching and digging, could be a sign of  separation anxiety. If you think this is the case with your dog, talk to your veterinarian about the best way to  help your pet.

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