When Will My Dog Stop Chewing?June 10, 2021 2022-02-17 5:06
Puppies chew excessively when they are teething. This is a process that all young mammals go through, in which their baby or milk teeth fall out and their adult teeth grow in. It will finish when their adult teeth are fully grown in, typically between 6-8 months of age.
That said, adult dogs still love to chew, and some dogs are heavy chewers by nature. As long as they aren’t destructive with it, it’s to be encouraged and is actually very good for them.
During teething, however, a dog’s gums can feel very uncomfortable, irritating, even painful, and chewing is the only thing they can do that can brings relief. As they are so young and don’t yet understand right from wrong, they will try to chew quite literally anything in sight. Try not to get upset over it. Instead, let’s take a look at how to handle both teething and heavy chewers and how to stop it from becoming destructive.
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When will my puppy stop chewing everything?
The period known as teething in which young dogs bite and chew everything in sight should end when their adult teeth come through at around 6-8 months old. That may sound like a long time – but don’t despair! There are plenty of things you can do to deter them from chewing household items and teach them what is and isn’t theirs to chew.
How can I stop my puppy from chewing everything?
Most big pet stores sell teething gels that can be applied to your puppy’s gums. They relieve pain and discomfort with natural soothing properties and lessen the need to chew. They typically taste nice and owners can opt for ones that don’t contain any artificial ingredients.
There are also sprays you can buy and spray onto household furniture to keep puppies away. They use scents made up of all-natural, non-toxic ingredients that dogs do not like such as citrus and vinegar.
It’s recommended that owners train their puppies on what is and isn’t theirs to chew. It’s never too early to start training, in fact, the earlier you start, the better. You can do this by redirecting “naughty” chewing to toys, and praising them when they get it right.
It’s also a good idea to keep your puppy’s number of toys small until they understand the rules. If a young pup has too many toys, they might think that everything is theirs.
Should I punish my teething puppy for chewing?
You should never punish a teething puppy for chewing something that doesn’t belong to them. Although it can be incredibly frustrating, they are not being naughty and it is not their fault. They are just acting on their instincts and are probably in a lot of discomfort, so try to be patient and have some understanding.
Punishment also won’t be effective because they are too young to understand why they’re being punished. It is more likely to frighten them and prevent you from forming a bond. If anything, taking the item away or moving them away from it and then ignoring them will be more effective, because puppies thrive on receiving attention, whether it is good or bad.
Why is my adult dog still chewing?
Dogs primarily explore the world with their mouths. Whilst they will grow out of teething, they will still probably enjoy chewing. It is a natural canine habit, and it is healthy, too.
Chewing is not only a good release for excess energy and stress, but it also contributes to good dental hygiene. It scrapes off the debris and bad bacteria that form on teeth after eating, preventing plaque build-up and gum disease.
That said, chewing can become a bad thing if a dog has too much pent-up energy and stress. Even the most well-trained dogs can turn to destructive chewing if they get bored and frustrated over time. This is especially common in hyper-intelligent shepherd breeds. It can be avoided by providing adequate physical exercise, lots of social interaction, and plenty of mental stimulation with challenging toys and fun games.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some breeds are more likely to be heavier chewers than others. Heavy or aggressive chewers love to chew more than anything, and given the chance, they will happily chew their way through anything that is given to them.
Bully breeds like Pitbulls and Bulldogs tend to be heavy chewers because it is in their DNA to use their super-strong jaws. So-called Bully breeds are named as such because of their historic use in bloodsports like bull-baiting. For them, chewing and tugging are akin to running for Greyhounds and herding for Border Collies. But other breeds can be quite mouthy as well – some Bernedoodles for example are very heavy chewers.
Whilst the idea of heavy chewing might worry you, but it is much better to allow these dogs to exercise their instincts than to repress them and end up becoming destructive. In order to do this, owners should make sure that they provide adequate outlets for chewing.
What to give heavy chewers
It’s important to provide heavy chewers with high-quality chew products that are durable and long-lasting as to not waste your money. You also don’t want breakages that could create sharp edges and choking/swallowing hazards. Your dog should never be allowed to destroy and ingest a toy or any part of it!
That said, you also want to avoid anything that could be too hard on teeth. This is especially important for elderly dogs with weakening teeth and those with poor oral health.
Although no pet product is indestructible, there are plenty of hardy rubber chew toys on the market that are designed with heavy chewers in mind.
Pet brand Kong is well-known for making high-quality, heavy-duty toys for aggressive chewers, including plushes, balls, frisbees, tug-of-war ropes, and their classic treat dispensers.
(You can read more about Kongs and other great chew toys here: The best toys for Labradoodles).
Spring poles are another fantastic outlet for heavy chewers, particularly for bully breeds. Spring poles are tug ropes attached to heavy-duty springs that secure to something in your garden to create the ultimate game of tug. They’re also ideal for building up strength and muscle. You can buy commercial ones or make your own with a strong spring and some rope. However, they’re not suitable for puppies, elderly, weak, ill, or disabled dogs.
There are also edible chews such as buffalo horns; a popular, natural, nutritious treat that can last dogs anywhere from weeks to months. They’re also great for dental hygiene but should only be given to adult dogs with healthy teeth, as they are very hard.
Alternatively, you could try caribou antlers. They are also natural, nutritious, long-lasting, and great for keeping doggie teeth clean, but they’re softer and less likely to break into sharp pieces than buffalo horns. Knucklebones are natural and great for dental health too, but they’re not meant to be eaten and can’t be digested, so supervision is advised.
If you don’t like the idea of giving your dog something from another animal to chew on, you could try a commercial dental chew like Pedigree Dentastix, or a frozen carrot. You’ve probably already got some in the kitchen, so sticking one in the freezer is a simple, inexpensive way to give your dog the crunchiness of a horn or antler without any of the risks. Carrots are also nutritious and low in calories. They’re even safe for teething puppies and soothe aching gums.
The bottom line
Although the teething phase can be incredibly frustrating for us owners, it’s important to remember that it is necessary for your dog to develop, it is not bad behavior, and it will not last forever. Start training as soon as possible and try investing in some teething aids to help you out along the way.
Chewing in adult dogs is also normal, natural, and healthy. If your dog grows up to be a heavy chewer, don’t be frightened or discourage it. Instead, invest in some healthy chewing outlets and allow your dog to nurture their instincts.
Laura is a dog-lover with an animal-related degree and plenty of hands on experience. She is passionate about dog health & welfare and wants to arm owners with all of the essential info they need!