Dogs and puppies love to chew, and in fact, chewing serves an important purpose. Chewing can help a pup calm himself and it can also alleviate tooth pain that sometimes comes from teething. Chewing on appropriate toys can also help keep tartar problems under control and diminish the potential for dental problems. The key is in getting your dog the right toys and steering him away from the wrong ones.
Keep Inappropriate Toys Away
Dogs, especially young puppies, don't know the difference between their toy and your child's favorite stuffed animal, or between an old shoe and an expensive new pump. Keep kids’ toys out of your dog’s reach and take them away from him if he gets ahold of them to keep them from getting chewed up. Keep your child’s toys in a puppy-proof toy chest, or better yet, shut the door to your child's room so your dog doesn't have access.
Give Your Dog Toys
Give your dog his own personal collection of durable toys to play with. Keep them near his bedding area or kennel so he associates them with his own territory. Allow your dog to play only with these toys, and if he's chewing on something he shouldn't be, replace whatever is in his mouth with one of his own toys so he becomes accustomed to them. Add a touch of peanut butter to puppy toys to make them more appealing. Try not to get dog toys that closely resemble your child's favorite toys, or it could lead to confusion.
Buy Tough Toys
If your dog is chewing up his own toys, you need to find some rough-and-tumble items that will stand up to his aggressive play. Avoid toys with stuffing and fabric that can be easily ripped. Even though it's cute to see your pup cuddling with his own teddy bear, the bear won't last long when it goes up against a rambunctious, chewing pup. Instead, opt for rubber chew toys and rope toys. Steer clear of toys that have a bell or noisemaker inside, as a ferociously chewing dog may bite all the way through the toy and accidentally swallow whatever is inside, creating a choking hazard.
Other Chewing Issues
If your dog is regularly chewing up toys or other household items, especially when you're away, it could be a sign that he's experiencing separation anxiety. Excessive chewing could also be a sign of a dental or mouth problem, since chewing sometimes eases tooth pain. If you suspect this might be the case, consult your vet for a checkup.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.