If your dog chews wood regularly, it’s only understandable that you might be concerned. Usually, the reason behind this behaviour is your dog is bored – although other dogs do treat themselves to wood trims due to anxiety or even through instinct.
In the case of puppies, chewing can help those erupting teeth come through a little less painlessly!
As you can imagine, a dog chewing on wood isn’t ideal and you may need to know how to stop a dog from chewing wood.
You could swap in a chew toy, a treat or two, or even use deterrent spray. Of course, these are all great solutions, but what’s the root cause of a dog eating wood?
Why Dogs Chew on Things
Why do dogs love munching on wood? It’s less about taste and more to do with psychology. There are five main reasons for the behaviour.
One of the most common reasons why your dog chomps on wood may be down to being separated from you. Separation anxiety occurs in dogs when they feel distressed due to you leaving or simply being on their own.
You may have noticed that your dog becomes agitated when you are preparing to leave. Even just picking up your keys could set them off into a fit of barking, pacing, even urinating, or defecating.
These are all signs of distress due to your leaving – to keep your dog from chewing on your furniture in this circumstance, you need to instil confidence.
A bored dog chewing on wood by no means signifies that they are behaving badly! Just like us, all dogs need to be occupied. If we are working all day or need to go out without them, your pups could be left without much to do at all.
Prioritising quality daily time with your pup is an essential part of being a good owner; however, for moments that you know that your dog will be unsupervised, prepare your dog by distracting them with chew items as alternatives. It’s worth trying to keep your dog occupied when you go out wherever possible. Try an automatic dog toy, they can hold pups attention very well.
You may have heard of babies and toddlers biting things as they’re teething – dogs do the same thing when growing up. Teething can be very painful for any dog’s mouth, which is why it’s important to be vigilant.
Ultimately, your dog could very well be biting on things – like wood – to help ease the pain from their teeth coming in. It’s a process that all dogs have to go through, and, again, just like humans, some feel more pain than others.
It is essential to be patient with your dog and give them something to chew on whenever they need to freely.
Pent up Energy
For certain dog breeds like Border Collies and Australian Sheep Dogs, daily exercise is essential. Being cooped up in a house with barely any space to roam will drive them spare and may result in destructive chewing.
You can make things easier for them by providing them with something other than your wood furniture that they can chew and play with whenever they need to release some energy.
This goes for adult dogs and the older dog as much as it does for a puppy- it’s worth checking out these top dog toys for heavy chewers.
Some breeds do need more exercise and more attention than others and yes, some dog breeds seem to like chewing more than others,
So, it could very well be instinctual for your dog to be chewing. A good rule of thumb is to check up on your dog’s breed and see if that could be innate, then make sure that they have something that they can turn to chew when they need, such as antlers and tough, chewy toys.
It could save you a lot of wood furniture! We’ve more information on chewy breeds below.
10 Breeds That Love to Chew
Unfortunately, the following dog breeds are well known for wanting to chomp down on all kinds of things.
Some, like Chihuahuas and Doberman pinschers, are extremely anxious. Others, like Beagles, Great Danes and Boxers, get bored very easily. If you own a Weimaraner, you may even find it’s in their nature.
Just because these dogs love a nibble doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get them to stop chewing! Is your pet below?
- English Setter
- Great Dane
Why Puppies Love to Chew
It is usual for puppies to chew on non-food items as it is a way for them to discover the world. Puppies learn through their sense of smell as well as their mouths. This means a lot of chewing of odd objects, sometimes creatures, plants, and even faeces. It is essential to keep an eye on them as they could find themselves chewing on something hazardous without realising it!
Puppies also chew because of teething. As explained above, teething can be very painful, and until their puppy teeth grow out, they will need something to deal with the aggro.
Why is an Adult Dog Chewing?
An adult dog could be chewing due to a lack of training (we don’t mean to cast any aspersions!). Dogs get bored and anxious, and if they are not taught to play with specific things and listen when they are told ‘no’, they will happily go on chewing whatever they please.
It may be your dog gnaws on wood due to stress as a form of coping mechanism. A few things could be stressing them out – a lack of routine, for example – although most commonly, it is due to being left alone too long. If you’re concerned, always check with your vet.
The Dangers of Sticks
Although sticks may seem harmless, these ‘natural toys’ can soon cause all kinds of pain and infections for your pet.
It is very easy for splinters to get stuck in dogs’ gums, and they’re not always so easy to get back out! It may take you a while to even notice that they are there, and by that point, your dog could have dental problems that need special attention.
Trying some healthy dental chews for dogs could help to replace sticks altogether. Some puppy chews are perfect for younger pets, but it’s not hard to find chewables great for dogs of all ages.
How to Stop a Dog Chewing Wood and Furniture
5 Tips to Prevent Destructive Chewing
Lots of Play and Exercise
Although it may seem like an easy solution, regular play and physical activity will help most dogs with chewing issues. You already know that they need walking and need a few toys to keep busy, but providing actual dedicated exercise is just as important.
A good amount of playtime and exercise will not only tire out your pup, but it’s also getting enough mental stimulation to stop a dog from chomping.
Of course, your aim shouldn’t just be to tire them out. Exhausting your dog can be very damaging to their health, so do limit exercise specific to their breed and age.
Even the best-behaved puppy needs training. Dogs are very intelligent creatures, and they need constant mental stimulation – so training is a must. It will also directly benefit you as it builds control and trust.
It’s also a great way for you to bond with your four-legged friend. They will learn to listen and to trust you, and you will do the same. Use positive reinforcement with special treats for good behaviour, and use crate training when you witness bad behaviour.
However, crate training alone won’t stop dogs from chewing furniture – there needs to be a balance!
Provide Strong Chew Toys
A strong puppy needs strong chew toys. Many dogs can make their way through a tennis ball in a matter of minutes.
A smaller, weaker chew toy will therefore not last very long and can end up becoming quite an expensive habit for you to keep replacing! If your dog destroys all their toys then see this article.
Not only that, but certain toys may not be made with the best materials, and as your dog chomps through them, they may end up swallowing some pieces – a dangerous choking hazard.
Therefore, it is always best to buy strong and well-made chew toys that your dog can get years of fun out of!
Chewing deterrent spray can be easily applied to whichever surface you want to keep your dog away from. The mixtures are not poisonous to your puppy, and the smells alone should keep them from wanting a taste of your expensive furniture and wood trim!
You can use a bitter spray as a taste deterrent – pups won’t like the flavour. Homemade deterrent sprays usually include apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and lemon juice.
However, we’d advise you to look closer into these concoctions if you want a safe way to stop your dog from chewing on wood.
Safeguard your home by tucking away any lingering cables, and always keep food well out of the way. Don’t leave clothes out, and generally keep things as tidy as you can!
It’s also important to familiarise your dog with things that will keep them busy in your house for when you are not around for long periods, like toys, teddies, blankets, etc.
You should also do your best to cover up furniture or spray wood trim with a deterrent to ward off your chewy critter. Or, you could limit the dog’s access to the room by using a baby gate.
Do Chew Toys Help?
Chew toys can definitely help a dog to stop chewing habits and keep teeth clean. At least, they will help to get them off your table legs!
However, some, like squeaky toys, tend to get a dog more excited and interested in chewing. This means your pup will do their best to stop the noise, ergo, destroy the toy. Once the toy has been dealt with, they may very well move onto something else like your wood trim. You’ll need tough, safe toys.
Homemade Chewing Deterrent for Dogs
It’s not that hard to make a homemade chewing deterrent for your dog, as it’s usually a case of just finding something that they hate the smell of!
Anything citrus is usually a great deterrent for your pet. They do not like the smell of citrus fruits, so lemon juice, grapefruits, limes, etc., are all superb deterrents!
Vinegar is also a common ingredient. Bitter apple spray and/or white vinegar will stop chewing and protect your wood trim; however, they do leave quite the pungent smell, even for humans! So, apply with care. Take a look at a few homemade recipes and see what sticks!
How do I stop my dog from chewing on furniture when left alone?
Investing in a temporary fence for dogs will help protect your wood furniture. You could also leave your dog with a toy or a chew that’s tough, interesting, and great for mental stimulation. Above all, a distraction from chewing on wood is key.
Does vinegar stop dogs from chewing?
Vinegar can stop your dog from chewing. However, it does leave an unpleasant scent for you, too – so mix the bitter spray with some lemon juice to help numb the smell and prevent knawing on wood trim.
Why has my dog suddenly started chewing wood?
If your dog chews wood, they could be feeling anxious due to a recent change in their life. They might be a young pup with baby teeth they need to grow out of, too.
Is it safe for my dog to chew wood?
Chewing on wood trim can be hazardous for a dog’s health as it can damage a dog’s teeth leave splinters in their gums. They could also get an intestinal parasite from wood or dirt found outside. Always be on the lookout for side effects.
The Last Word
You can’t stop a dog chewing full stop – it’s a natural behaviour for your fur baby, and most dog owners go through the furniture chewing or furniture destruction phase.
To stop a dog from chewing on wood, they may only need a few simple training steps, regular exercising, supervising, and items you designate for a chew. Keep your dog’s teeth and mouth clean, too, and you might find your house and furniture benefit along the way.
They are not acting out to be naughty for the sake of it – there’s usually an underlying issue, and if you want to stop a dog from chewing, show a little empathy! Taking away free access to wood altogether is also a good plan if your dog chews wood.