Why does my dog chew his bed? That’s a question asked by numerous dog owners every day!
Some pups have an annoying habit of nibbling on their beds. If your dog chews his dog bed, that can be harmful to your pet and expensive for you. If the dog eats the bed filling, that can mean a pricey trip to the vet, not to mention a replacement bed.
Please read this article to find out how to stop your dog from chewing on his bed.
Why Does My Dog Keep Chewing His Bed?
Before you can take action to stop your dog from chewing his bed, you need to work out why he does it.
Let’s take a look at the most common reasons for destructive chewing:
Boredom is one of the main reasons why dogs chew their beds.
Most dogs need some form of mental and physical stimulation, or they will become frustrated and bored. A bored dog often resorts to undesirable, destructive behavior like chewing.
Destructive chewing behavior can happen simply because the dog wants to grab his owner’s attention, but it can also result from separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a stress-related nervous issue that typically affects dog breeds historically bred to be companion animals to breeds that work closely with people.
According to veterinarian Dr. Butch Mitchell of the Davie Veterinary Clinic in Davie, Florida, the four breeds most likely to suffer from separation anxiety are German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, Labrador retrievers, and Cocker spaniels.
If the cause of your dog’s chewing behavior can’t be traced back to a lack of enrichment, it’s possible that an underlying health problem could be to blame.
Gastrointestinal issues or compulsive chewing disorders can trigger a dog to gnaw, bite, and chew on his bed. If you’re concerned that your dog could be suffering from a condition that makes him chew his bed, chat with your vet immediately. Often, if the culprit is treated right away, the chewing behavior stops almost immediately before it becomes a regular habit.
Although a dog bed isn’t the most appetizing object in your home, a dog on a calorie-restricted diet or has a nutritional deficit in his daily food might resort to eating his bed or chewing on it.
That behavior is generally directed toward items of furniture that smell of food or cooking and any perceived edible items that your dog can get hold of, including your leather shoes. While that clearly shouldn’t be the case with your pet’s bed, hunger can trigger a chewing behavior.
Teething puppies commonly chew anything they can get hold of, including their beds.
Chewing behavior usually begins when the puppy starts teething at between four and six months old. But your puppy doesn’t chew your stuff and his own because he’s being naughty or deliberately trying to wind you up!
When a puppy bites down on something, he’s instinctively trying to encourage his adult teeth to come through. Annoying though it is, that’s simply part of the growing process. You can help to mitigate the behavior by providing your puppy with a hard chew to get to work on, rather than your shoes or his bed!
Depending on your dog’s breed, teething pain can last for quite long periods of time before the adult teeth have fully erupted.
Canine Periodontal Disease
Adult dogs that are suffering from dental issues, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, might also chew their beds in an attempt to relieve tenderness of the gums and teeth.
Since dogs don’t have hands, they explore their environment by using their mouths. Chewing and biting on things is an instinctual behavior that might be your dog’s way of gaining a greater understanding of the world around him. Rather like a cat scratching, frustrating though it is, chewing is just a dog “thing.”
Sometimes, if a bed is past its best, your dog might find frayed material or leaking filling very tempting and start chewing it. Find out when you need to think about replacing your dog’s bed in this article, How Long Do Dog Beds Last?
Of course, your dog’s bed chewing habit could simply be because your pup thinks that chewing his bed is fun! Perhaps the bed looks especially tempting, smells great, and even tastes good!
Compulsive Chewing Disorder
Some dogs develop a compulsive chewing disorder, which experts believe is caused by weaning the puppy too soon, for example, before the pup is seven or eight weeks old.
If you find that no matter what you try, you can’t cure your dog of his habit of chewing his bed, you could have a compulsive chewer on your hands. In that case, you need to get professional help.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing His Bed?
How you tackle the chewing problem depends entirely on why your dog is chewing his bed in the first place. So, before you can take steps to stop your pet’s nibbling habit, you need to work out why the behavior is happening.
If the behavior has started suddenly and you think that some underlying health condition causes it, your first course of action should be to take your dog to the vet.
But how about the other reasons for chewing?
Give Your Dog Plenty Of Exercise
If it appears likely that your dog’s bed-chewing shenanigans are down to boredom, it’s probable that you’ll notice other signs of frustration and restlessness in your pet too.
A lack of regular exercise can lead to all kinds of undesirable behavior, such as constant barking and chewing. The pet owner should make sure that their dog gets plenty of daily exercise. That’s essential if you crate your dog while you leave him home alone.
Of course, you should never leave your dog crated for longer periods of time than eight hours without a break. If you can’t be there to let your dog out, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to do that for you.
Provide Plenty Of Toys
If there’s no alternative, your dog might resort to chewing his bed. So, if you provide your pet with a selection of chew toys, you’re giving him an attractive alternative.
Try giving your dog a frozen KONG toy stuffed with treats or peanut butter. The chilled treat will help ease sore gums and keep your pup occupied for long periods as he works to get the tasty reward inside the toy.
Other food puzzle toys are extremely effective at occupying your dog’s mind and keeping him physically busy at the same time.
Redirection training is also highly effective at stopping puppies from chewing their beds, although you might need to persevere with the training into adulthood.
In addition to providing your dog with a tempting toy, it’s helpful to use a deterrent spray.
When using the spray, start by putting some onto a piece of tissue. Allow your dog to sniff and taste the tissue with the spray. That will quickly teach your dog that the spray tastes disgusting!
Once your dog understands that his bed is coated with a vile-tasting substance, he will quickly stop chewing it. You can use the deterrent on items in your home that you think your dog might decide to have a nibble on.
Continue applying the deterrent spray daily for a few weeks, so your dog gets the message. However, as mentioned above, you must provide your dog with an alternative chewing outlet.
Upgrade Your Dog’s Bed
If your dog is a habitual destructive chewer, you might need to try upgrading his bed to something more chew-proof.
Some dogs love the fun of ripping the bed’s cover and dragging out the filling. If that sounds like your pooch, you need to look at extra-durable dog beds constructed from layers of robust, chew-resistant materials.
Read more about the best dog beds for chewers in the detailed article at this link.
Make It Crystal Clear What’s Allowed And What’s Not
If you are to be successful in teaching your dog not to chew his bed, you must make it absolutely crystal clear that chewing his bed is not acceptable. However, be careful not to confuse your pet.
For example, if you give your dog an old cushion or shoe to chew, he’ll probably assume that it’s okay to chew any cushions or shoes he finds in the house. Even the most intelligent dogs can’t be expected to understand the difference between an acceptable item and an inappropriate one!
What About Punishment?
It’s not a good idea to punish your dog for chewing his bed, especially if the dog is anxious or nervous. Punishment can often make the dog more stressed and likely to start chewing things.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you need to tread carefully and be patient. We do not recommend punishing your dog if he is nervous, to begin with. That will make the problem worse.
Cause and Effect
If you think that your dog is chewing his bed because he’s nervous or stressed, you need to start by figuring out what triggers that reaction. Some of those triggers will be completely out of your control. However, if you can get a handle on what’s causing the problem, you can take positive steps to help your dog.
For example, some dogs get nervous and stressed when pestered by small children. In that case, make it clear to the children that they are not to bother the dog, especially when he’s trying to relax and enjoy some downtime in his bed.
If your dog finds loud sounds stressful, that can be more difficult to manage, especially if your pet’s noise-related anxiety is triggered by sounds coming from outside. After all, you can’t control stormy weather or fireworks! If possible, move your dog’s bed to a quieter location in your home and keep your family calms around your dog when there’s noise outside. A commotion in your home will only make your dog even more stressed.
Try A Dog Pheromone Product
Sometimes, a synthetic dog pheromone product can be highly effective at calming an anxious dog and one that experiences separation anxiety. These products come in the form of sprays, wipes, collars, or plug-in diffusers that you plug into a main power outlet close to the dog’s crate or bed.
You won’t notice any odors around your home. The products mimic the calming pheromones that mother dogs produce when nursing their puppies and can only be detected by dogs.
My elderly dog Jess suffered routinely from extreme anxiety and could not settle at night when she began suffering from canine dementia. I found that using a plug-in diffuser close to her bed at that difficult time helped Jess to relax and sleep much more soundly. So, I can vouch for the effectiveness of these products.
It might also be worth considering consulting a specialist canine behavioral therapist to help your canine companion to cope with his anxiety. Chat with your vet to see if they can recommend someone suitably qualified in your area.
Leave The Radio or TV On
Leaving a radio or TV tuned to a talk show on while you’re out can help to calm an anxious dog while you’re out during the day. The sound of a human voice talking quietly in the background can help to make your dog feel that he’s not alone.
Alternatively, you could try playing music designed explicitly for soothing dogs.
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There are many reasons why a dog might chew his bed, including separation anxiety, boredom, stress, teething, or dental problems. Your dog might be hungry, or there could be a nutritional deficit in his diet.
However, there’s also the possibility that your furry friend has an underlying health condition that’s making him chew his bed. He could also be suffering from a compulsive disorder that requires investigation by an experienced professional dog behaviorist and perhaps some specialized training.
Does your dog chew his bed? What action have you taken to stop that unwanted behavior? Tell us in the comments box below.