Why Your Dog is Chewing, and How to Redirect This Natural Instinct

Madelene Hissom · Jul 26, 2021

Author: Kacia Cameron

Chewing is a behavior that leaves your dog feeling happy and content. The simple act of chewing has been shown to increase serotonin levels in your dog’s brain which is a molucole that regulates heart and lung functions, as well as reduce stress and anxiety! Additionally, chewing gets the enzymes flowing in the stomach that help your dog digest their food. Chewing is an innate behavior for dogs of all ages, and if you try to reduce this behavior, that energy and stress relieving behavior will turn into frustration.  

But did you know that chewing even benefits dogs in numerous ways? Some of these include stress relief, burning energy, teeth hygiene and healthy digestion. Below we will explore six reasons your dog may be chewing and how you can redirect the behavior to healthy outlets for your dog.  

1. Anxiety 

Dogs love company! They thrive in playful, stimulating and social environments. When isolated, a dog’s anxiety can manifest into destructive behavior, such as chewing objects that you value. To reduce the anxiety and stress, it is vital for you to give attention to your dog. This can mean playing with them, cuddling with them, or even giving them a delicious, natural treat to chew on and satisfy their cravings! Bully Springs are a fun way to promote mental engagement and positive behavior. 

2. Teething  

Young puppies will chew on objects for many reasons such as comfort, hunger or curiosity. However, the main reason a puppy chews is for the development of their adult teeth. After the puppy is 12 weeks old, adult teeth start to grow out of their gums. It may be uncomfortable for your puppy to experience this, as sharp teeth are pushing out from sensitive gums. To relieve the pain they may feel, puppies will instinctively chew on anything to help the teeth push through the gums. As their guardian, it is wise to provide chew toys for your puppy to prevent your puppy from chewing your valuable things. 

3. Hygiene 

Keeping your dog’s teeth free of plague and harmful bacteria is essential for healthy mouth hygiene. The last thing you want for your pup is sensitive teeth and diseased gums, which ultimately leads to difficulty eating and expensive veterinarian visits. Dogs have a natural ability to clean their teeth by chewing things. Whether it be a toy, a treat, or your favorite book, your dog may be searching for something to chew simply to clean their teeth and gums. Did you know that all Natural Farm chews promote healthy teeth hygiene and freshen breath for your pup? 

4. Hunger 

    Just as humans may have a snack when they are hungry, dogs may search for food by chewing on anything potentially edible. To test if something is edible, your dog may sniff the object, play with it, and finally chew on the object. Chewing action stimulates enzyme production in the stomach, which is good for the healthy digestion of food.  

    Sometimes a veterinarian may recommend putting your dog on a diet if they are overweight. A calorie-restrictive diet may lead to your dog to search for things to eat. In this case, it is important to provide safe things for your dog to chew, to keep them entertained and to satiate their hunger. Otherwise, they will chomp on whatever they can get their paws on, such as chair legs, wires, or your beloved shoes! 

    5. Curiosity 

      Dogs are curious creatures. As a guardian, it is important to give your dog plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with their environment. Especially puppies, who are the most curious, it is ideal for them to know their surroundings so that they can develop into secure and happy dogs. In case your dog has a tendency to chew your valuable objects, an option to redirect this behavior is to provide your dog a safe space to relax and chew treats and toys.  

      6. Boredom 

        Dogs chew because it's fun! Puppies and adult dogs are victims of this. Whether you are home or away from your pup, you’ve probably witnessed how often dogs chew random objects. If your dog is not getting enough exercise, they may increase the behavior of chewing to physically and mentally stimulate themselves. It is important to walk your dog regularly and to give them toys and Natural Farm treats so that they can stay entertained. Additionally, playing with your dog will boost their mood, and reduce their boredom. Having a friendly neighbor play with your pup, or creating a safe space for your dog to exercise outside are ideal options to keep your dog from chewing things that may make them sick or feeling unwell.  

        Chewing is an instinctual behavior that allows dogs to survive in the wild. Although domesticated, dogs still have a desire to chew, whether it be due to anxiety, hunger or boredom. By providing your dog toys and treats, you are not only keeping them happy and entertained, but you are also providing them a healthy alternative to inappropriate chewing behavior. Remember, the goal is to not eliminate the chewing behavior, but redirect it so that your dog is fulfilled and living their best life.