How To Stop Your Dog From Chewing His Dog Bed
Why do some dogs chew or even destroy their beds? For many so-called “problem” chewers, the dog bed in particular makes an attractive target for destruction. But problem chewers don’t discriminate: shoes, papers, furniture, essentially anything in sight—including the dog bed—can fall prey to this destructive habit.
In the best interest of your pet’s health and happiness it’s important to confront bed chewing behaviors head on. You bought your dog a bed to give him a comfortable place to rest, not as a chew toy for him to destroy. More concerning still: pieces of chewed bedding may become lodged in a dog’s digestive tract. Ingesting bedding can lead to a number of serious health issues and even death.
Adult dogs chew their bedding mainly to self-console for anxiety, or to alleviate boredom. Learn how to stop your dog from tearing up his bed—we’ll dive deeper into his motives and give you helpful strategies to try.
Anxiety-Induced Dog Bed Chewing
Destructive chewing can be a stress-related behavior. Whether your dog suffers from separation anxiety , or something in his environment makes him nervous or uncomfortable, these kinds of stressors can easily drive your pet to compulsively chew his dog bed. Redirection, toys, and deterrents alone will not resolve stress-related dog bed chewing:
- Identify and then eliminate stressors that set off your dog. This is the most efficient solution for destructive bed chewing, but the triggers may lie beyond your control. If the presence of small children or other pets upsets your dog, then establish new boundaries to make him feel more secure. Many dogs exhibit noise-related anxiety which is particularly difficult to control if it comes from outside your home (thunder, fireworks, neighborhood traffic, etc.). Try moving your dog's bed to a different location in the house and remind family members to stay calm during noisy disturbances rather than adding to the commotion.
- Use a synthetic dog pheromone product. These are popular and can be used to treat any number of nervous issues. They come in several forms including collars, plug-in diffusers, sprays, and individually wrapped wipes. They are odorless and mimic the natural calming pheromones mothers release for their puppies. Be advised it takes time for the pheromones to work and you must reapply them monthly.
- Leave on a television or radio when you’re gone. This strategy can have a calming effect on an anxious dog throughout the day. Music albums composed and recorded specifically to soothe dogs may also be effective.
- Engage in behavior therapy. This more involved strategy may be necessary for dogs with extreme anxiety. Consult your vet and consider looking for specialists in your area.
Quick Tip: Punishment—including muzzling, spanking, or yelling—will not stop bed chewing, and can actually worsen the behavior, especially in dogs with severe anxiety.
Boredom-Induced Dog Bed Chewing
Boredom drives many dogs to chew their beds; dogs become frustrated and restless when they don’t have a positive outlet for pent-up energy.
- Exercise your dog. If you’re crating him, it’s crucial he gets enough exercise and is not isolated for too long. You can exercise him vigorously for 30-60 minutes prior to crating him. Also, remember to never crate a dog for more than eight hours at a stretch. If you can’t get home to let him out, find a trusted neighbor or friend who will do this for you.
- Occupy your dog with easily accessible dog toys while you’re away. In addition to chew toys and stuffed animals, provide interactive dog toys you can stuff with food or treats to keep your dog mentally stimulated as he works for his rewards.
- Continue redirection training recommended for puppies. When you observe your adult dog chewing his bed, give him a sanctioned chew toy instead.
- Upgrade your gear—chew proof dog beds could be the answer. Some dogs instinctively love to rip filling out of stuffed products. These extra durable dog beds use tougher materials and additional layers to withstand the most destructive chewers.
Use a deterrent spray. This can be an effective strategy to break your dog’s bedding fixation but you still must find a way to occupy your furry friend for his general health and happiness.
For most dogs chewing is a natural, healthy behavior limited to their toys and treats. And while it’s been said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you can teach your adult dog not to chew his bed. These strategies have great potential for success but require time and tolerance: be patient with yourself and your dog as you practice them.