When you have spent money on a plush bed for your dog, it can be very frustrating to see that he has chewed it to pieces! Rather than getting mad at your little pup, it is crucial to understand why dogs chew their beds so that you can then get them to stop doing it. With that in mind, read on to discover how to stop dogs chewing their beds.
Why do dogs chew their beds?
Before we reveal how to stop dogs chewing their beds, let’s first explore the different reasons they do this in the first place:
Anxiety and boredom
This is one of the main reasons why dogs chew their beds. Whether you have a busy home life or you are often away from home, it is vital to remember that most dogs require stimulation for both the body and mind. If your dog is not being walked regularly and doesn’t have a lot of toys to play with, they may end up becoming destructive out of sheer boredom or because they are trying to get a reaction from their owners. This attention-seeking can also be a consequence of separation anxiety. Some dog breeds suffer from separation anxiety more than others.
A dog that is on a diet that restricts his calories may destroy objects or chew them in an attempt to find added sources of nutrition. Dogs tend to direct this sort of chewing toward objects that smell like food or are related to food. Of course, this shouldn’t be the case with a dog bed, yet hunger can cause a reaction like this, so it is a possibility.
Underlying health issues
If you cannot trace the matter back to a lack of enrichment in terms of your dog’s daily activities, there is always the worry that an underlying health problem could be the issue. It is a good idea to discuss this with your vet if you suspect any type of issue, such as a gastrointestinal problem or a compulsive chewing disorder.
If your pet is a puppy, he may be chewing his dog bed because he is teething. When a puppy is between the age of four and six-months-old, he will chew instinctively to help his teeth navigate through the growing process. Your dog may be trying to relieve the tenderness in his teeth and gums.
Instinct and exploration
Aside from the reasons mentioned, a lot of dogs also chew their beds because they are exploring. Just like babies, pups explore most of the world via their mouths. This behaviour may evolve as a way for your dog to try and get a better understanding of the world around them. Just like cats scratching, chewing is part of the instinctual behaviour of a dog. Because of this, it is vital to manage your expectations when it comes to your dog’s chewing behaviour as a whole.
It could merely be that your dog enjoys chewing his bed! It may look, smell, and taste good.
How to stop dogs chewing their beds
The approach that you need to take when figuring out how to stop dogs chewing their beds will depend on the reason they are chewing their bed. As mentioned, if you suspect that your dog may have an underlying health issue, the only thing you should do here is to take your dog to the vet. But what about other types of dog chewing?
Exercising your dog
If you feel that your dog is chewing his bed because of boredom, they may be exhibiting other signs of restlessness and frustration. One of the best things you can do here is to exercise your dog more. It is vital that your dog gets enough exercise and is not isolated for too long, especially if you are crating him. Beforehand, exercise him vigorously for between 30 and 60 minutes. You should also make sure that your dog is never in a crate for more than eight hours without a stretch. If you are not able to get home to let your dog out, find a trusted friend or neighbour who will do this for you.
Keeping dog toys around
There are some other steps that you can take to try and get your dog to stop chewing his bed. These include occupying your dog with easily accessible dog toys when you are not home. In addition to stuffed animals and chew toys, provide your dog with interactive toys that you can stuff with treats or food. These methods ensure your dog’s mind is active while working for his reward.
We also recommend that you continue redirection training for puppies. If your dog is an adult dog and is still chewing his bed, provide him with a sanctioned chew toy.
Use a deterrent spray.
You can also use a deterrent spray as an attempt to break the fixation that your dog has with chewing his bedding. Don’t simply use the spray on its own, though. You are going to need to find something that keeps your furry friend occupied. Keeping him occupied is vital for his happiness and general health.
When using a deterrent, it is a good idea to add a small amount onto some cotton wool or tissue. Gently place this into your dog’s mouth. Doing this will enable your dog to taste it. He will spit it out if he doesn’t like it. If your dog doesn’t find the waste very pleasant, you will notice. He may drool or shake his head, or potentially retch. Your dog certainly won’t pick up the piece of cotton wool or tissue again.
Ideally, your dog is going to have learned the connection between the odour of the deterrent and the taste, making him much more likely to stop chewing items that have the same smell.
You can then spray this deterrent on items you do not want your dog to chew. Including the dog bed and anything else, your dog has been chewing.
Keep applying the deterrent daily for two to four weeks. You do need to recognise, though, that deterrents are never enough on their own. They can be very beneficial in the short-term, but you are going to need to do more than this if you are to get your dog to stop chewing once and for all.
Upgrading the dog bed to something more durable
Upgrading your gear could also be the answer. Did you know that you can get chew-proof dog beds? Some dogs love to rip the filling out of products. No matter how much you try, you just can’t seem to prevent it. In this case, it is beneficial to look for extra-durable dog beds that have added layers and use more robust materials so that they can withstand the most destructive chewers.
Ultimately, you need to make sure your dog knows the difference between things that he should and should not chew. It is vital to avoid confusion. A lot of pet owners may provide their dog with items around the house they no longer want, such as discarded cushions and old shoes. However, your dog is not going to know the difference between these cushions and shoes compared with the cushions on your sofa and the shows you still wear. It is not fair for you to expect your dog to be able to know the difference between the two.
Don’t punish an anxious dog for chewing their bed.
What if your dog is chewing his bed because of anxiety? Destructive chewing can often be related to stress and separation anxiety. If something is making your dog feel uncomfortable or nervous, this could easily be a stressor that has resulted in him compulsively chewing his dog bed.
You’re going to need to be patient and go the extra mile when dealing with this sort of destructive chewing. Deterrents, toys, and redirection are not going to be enough on their own.
We certainly do not recommend punishing your dog under any circumstance. If you punish your dog through the likes of yelling, spanking, or muzzling, the chances are that this is going to make the chewing worse, especially if your dog has severe anxiety.
Figure out what’s causing the nervous behaviour
So, what can you do to stop your dog from chewing his bed because of their nervous nature? The first step is to figure out what sort of stressors are setting your dog off. Unfortunately, some of these triggers may be completely beyond your control. However, once you understand what is making your dog feel nervous, you are going to be in the best possible position to deal with this.
For example, some dogs may feel incredibly anxious and upset when they are around other pets or in the presence of small children. If this is the case, establish new boundaries so that your dog feels more secure.
A lot of dogs will exhibit anxiety-related to noises, which is very challenging to control. After all, you don’t prevent neighbourhood traffic, fireworks, thunder, etc.! There are some things you can do, though, for example, try moving your dog’s bed to another part of your home. It is also a good idea to ask family members to keep calm whenever there is a noisy disturbance. If you add to the commotion, it is only going to make it worse for your dog.
Use a dog pheromone product.
In addition to figuring out what sort of triggers set your dog off, it can also help to use a synthetic dog pheromone product. These are popular, and they can be used to help with treatment for various nervous issues.
These products come in several forms, including individually wrapped wipes, sprays, plug-in diffusers, and collars. They do not have any odours, and they mimic the natural calming pheromones that mothers release for their puppies.
When using pheromone products, you are going to need to be patient. These items do not work overnight; they need to be re-applied monthly. Consistency is key.
Consider behaviour therapy
You can also try engaging in behaviour therapy. Behaviour therapy is more of an involved approach. Yet it may be a necessity if your dog is suffering from severe anxiety. Speak with your vet. He or she may be able to recommend any specialists in the area that can help you with this.
Leaving on the TV or radio
We would also recommend leaving the radio or television on when you’re not home. Doing this can have a calming impact on an anxious dog throughout the day. It helps them to feel like they are not alone. You can get music for the specific purposes of soothing dogs.
Has your dog got a compulsive chewing disorder?
Dogs can become compulsive with their chewing, so it is vital to watch out for this. Some experts believe that this behaviour results from weaning too early. For example, prior to seven or eight weeks of age.
No matter the reason, if your dog chews fabrics for an extended period and you are struggling to distract him, it may be that this behaviour has become compulsive. In this case, you may need to get professional help.
A certified dog trainer or veterinary behaviourist with experience in treating compulsive behaviours will be able to assist. Luckily, thanks to the Internet, it is easier than ever before to find the right person to help you.
So there you have it: some of the different steps on how to stop dogs chewing their beds. We hope that you will have success with some of these tips.