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Why Do Dogs Chew? Investigating a Primal Instinct

May 05, 2021 3 min read

beagle chewing on treat

Chances are you’ve already found your dog chewing on something you cherish: your favorite pair of shoes, a journal of story ideas, your first child’s baby photobook. You get frustrated yet stay calm, you tell your dog to drop it, yet they keep chewing. So you scurry over and take it out of their mouth and scold them for doing it in the first place. 

Beyond trying to teach them a lesson, you need to ask yourself, “Why do dogs chew?” — and how can you manage their chewing habits? 

From getting their energy out to giving them bully sticks for dogs, here’s all you need to know about dog chewing and handling it. 

Why Do Dogs Chew? And How Can You Manage It? 

There are a number of reasons why dogs like to chew, with the majority of them being due to natural instincts. 

Their primal instinct

Dogs like to chew. It’s just an instinct. It’s a natural thing and it’s comforting to them. Not only is it reminiscent of chewing on various things while out in the wild, but it also allows them to relieve stress, fight off boredom, and share an experience with others in their pack. 

That’s why it’s important to give your dog toys and tough treats they can enjoy throughout the day. They’re regular experiences they can visit on a daily basis. It’s a simple way that you, as an owner, can keep them entertained and cover their most basic primal instincts. 

Give Your Dog Bully Sticks

Personal exploration 

When dogs enter new environments, they like to check things out. If something compels them while they sniff around, they may decide to chew on whatever interesting things they can find. 

A good idea when showing your dog around a new place is to stay with them. For instance, if you’re introducing them to your home for the first time, bring them from room to room while on leash. That way, you can stop them from chewing if they ever try to reach for something. That, or you can carry low-calorie training treats with you,  giving them to your dog to divert their attention and give them something tasty to avoid chewing on items throughout your home. 

dog eating high heels

Feeling anxious

Anxiety is another reason that dogs will chew. Think of what you do when you’re stressed: you eat, you may drink more, you need to work out, you feel as if you need to do something entertaining. 

Your dog will feel the same exact way when they’re anxious. They need a way to get their stress out. While they could try and run around your house, it’s not the same. Instead, destroying a shoe or a soft-cover book will be incredibly rewarding to their mind. 

That’s why it’s important to give them outlets to take their anxiety and stress out on.

A need for entertainment 

Boredom can really bother a dog, especially if they don’t have other dogs to play with or a person to pet them and show them love. If you noticed your dog chewing more as you began working from home, it’s understandable. They’re trying to keep themselves entertained. 

Give them a treat or a tough toy to chew on to keep them entertained during the day. A simple choice is a puzzle toy, which will keep your dog entertained for a half-hour or much longer. 

pup waiting for treat

Those dang puppy pains

If you have a puppy, the most common cause for their chewing habits is puppy teething. Your puppy’s mouth will hurt as they lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth begin growing in. To ease their gum pain, they’re going to want to chew on nearly everything around them — books, shoes, magazines, your socks and underwear, and more. 

A simple way to manage their teething, especially if they keep nipping at you and your family and friends, includes giving them dog chews they can chew on. It handles their chewing habits while also giving them a healthy treat to enjoy. 

Treat Your Furry Friend to Natural Dog Chews

Managing your dog’s chewing habits requires being vigilant. Don’t let your dog chew on things they shouldn’t be. If you find your dog chewing on an item that’s not for them, tell them to drop it and take it from them. After that, replace it with something more suitable for them — pig ear dog treats, squeaky chew toys, or a reliable rope toy.


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