Dogs and their chewing

By Karen Shirk

One complaint I hear often regarding dogs, especially young dogs is chewing. Dogs do love to chew. Some dogs, if provided with proper chew toys, will only chew what they should (Note I said dogs and not puppies who have no idea your shoe is not a proper chewing toy).

If you are getting a dog an essential item is dog toys, especially appropriate chew toys. At 4 Paws we recommend Nylabones. They come in a variety of consistencies, so it is important to get the right nylabone for your dog. The gummy type Nylabones are exclusively for puppies and some very small toy breed dogs. Most large breed puppies and grown dogs need durable Nylabones. Getting these or other chew toys and having them in every room and easily available to your new dog/puppy is a must.

Make sure you give them appropriate dog chew toys and not your old shoes or other human items as dogs do not understand the difference between your old shoe and the $300 sneakers you just bought. However, your puppy will not automatically know that these are the only item he is to chew.

Chewing comes naturally to dogs. They start chewing as puppies and it intensifies when they are teething to bring in their teeth and strengthen their jaws. Dogs will chew on anything and everything. They don’t understand that your furniture costs you loads of money and would gladly destuff the couch cushion for you, chew up your child’s prized toy, eat every stick in the yard including those still attached to trees and bushes, and anything else readily available to them. Along with teaching your dogs not to chew you should also baby proof your house just as you would for a human baby entering the family. Prevention goes a long way and can save you lots of money.

You do have to teach your new puppy/dog what items they can chew on. For this reason, dogs who chew should be supervised at all times when out and about in the house. If your dog is an extreme chewer you might even go as far as keeping the dog tethered to you so the dog must go everywhere you go.

That way you can offer the chew toy every time you are in one spot for a while and watch to see if they put anything else in their mouth. When they do, you will know immediately and can quickly tell them no in a very firm parental voice and replace what they are chewing with the Nylabone.

Eventually as they learn, they can be given more freedom but should be closely supervised until they are 100% trust worthy (usually after 2 years of age but many dogs mature more slowly so this is just a general rule of thumb). I would also say I am a huge advocate of crate time. A

ny time you can not supervise your dog and of course during the night while you sleep, a safe crate such as a vari-kennel type crate can save your belongings from destruction. A toy like a Kong, filled with peanutbutter mixed with their kibble and frozen in the freezer gives your dog something to do during their crate time.

Let me end with this final thought reiterated from above, prevention is your belongings best friend.

By Karen Shirk

Story courtesy of Karen Shirk, executive director and founder of 4 Paws For Ability. Visit to learn more about what they do.

Story courtesy of Karen Shirk, executive director and founder of 4 Paws For Ability. Visit to learn more about what they do.