Destructive Chewing: Everything You Need To Know About This Messy Habit

While all dogs love to chew, this habit can wreak havoc on furniture, shoes, toys, and more if left unchecked. For dogs who enjoy tearing up valuables, it can be difficult for their owners to find an alternative. 

In order to understand how to stop destructive chewing, we need to first look at why it happens in the first place. 


When a dog is feeling hungry or low on nutrients, they may resort to chewing on non-food items in a last-ditch effort to fill their tummies. This can be incredibly dangerous – especially if your dog ends up chewing on wood or metal – as small pieces can break off the object and cause damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract if swallowed. You may notice hungry dogs chewing on items that smell like food, such as oven mitts, plastic bottles, etc. If you’re concerned about your dog’s diet, talk to your vet and make sure your pup is eating high-quality dog food that contains the nutrients he or she needs.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs who struggle with being left alone may resort to chewing, barking, whining, or going to the bathroom inside. Some dogs may even go to the extreme of attempting to escape, which is incredibly dangerous, especially for dogs with no identification or chip. To help your dog cope with separation anxiety, consider trying some of these steps to desensitize your dog to being left alone. Your couch cushions will thank you!

Need For Stimulation

All dogs need proper mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Depending on what breed your dog is, they may need more or less than the average pooch. When a dog isn’t getting enough stimulation, they can resort to chewing as a way to burn off energy, often wreaking havoc on your home. Make sure to exercise and engage with your dog every day, and be aware of each breed’s stimulation needs before you buy or adopt. There are also toys (SNUFFLE MAT) that can help keep your dog’s brain and body in good condition.


In stressful situations (separation anxiety included), dogs can make a habit of chewing, barking, trembling, or going to the bathroom indoors. Many things can give your dog anxiety such as loud noises or a change in environment. The best resolution to destructive chewing caused by stress is to attempt to remove the stressor. If this isn’t possible, consider talking to your vet about other anti-stress remedies. 


While destructive chewing can be a frustrating habit to break, the key to stopping it is consistency and patience. When in doubt, talk to a vet or a dog trainer to see if they can offer any words of professional advice. And if you’re looking for products to distract your pup from gnawing your couch, click here for DogFriendly’s best chew bones. Best of luck to you and your couch cushions during the training process!

Abigail Kurten
Author: Abigail Kurten

Hi! My name's Abigail, and I intern as a Content Writer for I have one dog, a chocolate lab named Riley who's the best! My favorite breed of dog is a Bulldog or Saint Bernard, though.

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