Why Puppies Chew — and What You Can Do About It

Puppy Chewing

Puppies chew. Like babies, they chew when they are teething. But unlike babies, they keep on chewing. Just when you think you’re safe, they seem to go through a super chewing stage as they approach a year of age. And unlike human babies, when dogs chew, they are very effective.

The best prevention is vigilance and good housekeeping. Remove everything chewable from your puppy's reach. Puppies especially like to chew stuffed furniture, wooden objects, leather objects and that perennial favorite, shoes. Because you can't pick up everything, don't let your puppy wander around the house unsupervised. Keep her in a puppy-proof room when you can't watch her. As an extra precaution, you can slather bitter-tasting products (available from your veterinarian or pet supply store) on objects you don't want your puppy to sample.

Give Your Puppy Something to Chew On

But puppies are driven to chew, so you must give your puppy something acceptable to gnaw on. Choose chews carefully: no old shoes, no socks, no carpet remnants, nothing that resembles anything she could find around the house. What a puppy learns to chew on at an early age will tend to be what she looks for to chew on for the rest of her life. Only let your pup have a few options at a time, rotating them every few days so she has the excitement of new chews and toys.

Your choice of chews will depend on your dog’s chewing power; some dogs chew with such gusto that they swallow big hunks, which can cause a potentially fatal impaction, while others have tender mouths and need smaller, softer chews. Rawhide, for example, is fine for some dogs, but others gulp down large hunks and can become very ill from it. Real bones should be avoided because they can cause fractures of teeth that can bring hefty dental bills. They can also damage the mouth, stomach and intestines. Consider the following chew options:

  • Interactive toys, such as those that can be filled with soft cheese, dog treats or peanut butter. You can freeze them after filling to make them last even longer.
  • Chewing toys that can be soaked in water and frozen, providing relief for teething puppies.
  • Chew bones designed to promote dental wellness.

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