What is it about dogs and their dog beds? It seems like, from your dog’s point of view, their dog bed is just a particularly large and intriguing dog toy to rip up and play with.
But dog beds are really expensive today and the last thing you need is to have to buy your pup a new dog bed every other week.
Is there any way you can stop your dog from chewing up their dog bed? As it turns out, this behavior is so common that we have lots of great ideas to share with you in this article.
Read on to learn the best ways for how to make a dog stop chewing his bed.
How to Make a Dog Stop Chewing His Bed?
Boredom, anxiety, teething, loneliness, inactivity, Pica (chewing non-food items), discomfort, lack of training, and lack of supervision are the most common reasons why dogs chew their beds.
The number one way to make a dog stop chewing his bed is to identify why the chewing is happening and offer another outlet for that same behavior.
In the rest of this article, we will look at all of the most common reasons dogs chew their beds and how to stop each behavior.
Learn From a Veterinarian About Stopping Dog Bed Chewing
The internet is quite simply chock-full of stories from dog owners who have come home to find the expensive dog bed they bought turned into shredded mush.
The bad news is – dogs rather reliably seem to love chewing up their own beds.
But the good news, as this YouTube video shares, is that there are lots of ways to keep your dog from chewing up their newest dog bed.
Learn the Most Common Reasons Why Dogs Chew Their Beds
As we mentioned in an earlier section here, there are a number of commonly identified reasons why dogs may chew their beds.
Your dog’s age, life stage, past history, enrichment needs, daily schedule, and even diet can contribute to a desire to chew on their dog bed.
These are the most common reasons why dogs chew up their dog beds.
Puppy teething can be a painful experience all around – painful for the puppy, as their baby teeth come in and fall out and then the adult teeth grow in – and painful for you as your puppy chews on everything to try to ease the discomfort.
If your puppy is chewing on their crate pad or dog bed, it may simply be an attempt to ease painful, sore gums and teeth.
As the ASPCA points out, a less commonly known reason why some puppies will grow up into dogs that chew their beds relates back to weaning issues.
For example, if the puppy was weaned too early in life (transitioned from nursing to puppy food), this may cause a compulsive need to suckle on other items such as the dog bed.
Separation anxiety can be more problematic in some dog breeds than in others. But any dog can develop separation anxiety if there has been prior trauma, neglect, or abuse.
This can be especially important to remember if you have rescued a dog and you don’t know what may have happened before you and your dog met.
As the Humane Society explains, a dog’s compulsive chewing is one way that separation anxiety often manifests.
Dogs are intelligent animals that are highly attuned to their environments and their people.
Just like you can get bored if you don’t have enough to do or new experiences to look forward to, so too can your dog get bored – bored enough to think chewing up their dog bed sounds fun.
As VCA Animal Hospitals points out, dogs are capable of learning in a variety of modalities, including social, physical, mental, and cooperative learning.
As well, different dog breeds have intellectual strengths in different areas. For example, a herding dog breed is going to crave a different type of stimulation than will a lap dog breed.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, during the period of time between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago, the domestic dog was in the process of becoming a separate canine species apart from ancient wolves.
This process was – and still is – intricately connected with people. There would be no domestic dog today if there wasn’t first a connection between dogs and people.
So dogs can get very lonely when they are not able to spend a large amount of quality time each day with their people – with you. Some dog breeds are more people-centric than are other breeds, but all dogs need people’s time every day.
Over the centuries, dogs have also developed unique ways of communicating their needs and issues with their people.
Your dog may take to chewing up the dog bed as a comforting outlet or even as an active way of expressing displeasure at your absence.
As UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Clinic highlights, pica (“pie-kuh”) is a term that describes the eating of non-food items.
If the bed chewing persists despite everything you have tried to do to ease the behavior, it could be that pica is at the root of it.
Fetch by WebMD states that a dog’s dietary and caloric needs can and do change throughout life, just like our own needs often change as we age.
While it may not seem intuitive to you that your dog would start eating their bed because their belly is grumbling, it is also worth considering if your dog has entered a different stage of life where they aren’t getting enough to eat.
While stress is definitely a component of separation anxiety, stress can also arise for a variety of other reasons, including shedding, health issues, a change in family life, loud noises such as fireworks or seasonal storms, and more.
Stress can potentially cause a dog to start engaging in repetitive behaviors like bed chewing that can become a form of self-soothing.
They like to chew
Some dogs are “chewers.” And all dogs tend to have their favorite chew toys. But a problem can arise when your dog decides their bed is also their favorite chew toy.
How to Make Your Dog Stop Chewing Up the Dog Bed
As we mentioned earlier here, the first step in curbing your dog’s desire to chew up their dog bed is identifying why the behavior is happening.
But that isn’t always so simple as it may sound. You may literally not know why your dog keeps doing this!
And if you don’t know, the best way to start figuring it out is by troubleshooting using these tools. You will know you have identified the right reason when the tool you try works.
However, before you even start trying these tools, it is worth making an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian to get a thorough health and wellness checkup.
This can rule out any brewing health issues that are either triggering the bed chewing or being worsened by your dog’s constant chewing on their bed.
So now let’s take a look at the best tools to make a dog stop chewing on their bed.
Give your teething puppy soothing toys
A teething puppy is genuinely in pain. Luckily, there are toys made specifically to help puppies through the teething phase of life.
Flavored chew toys and freezable toys are two of the best options to help your dog get through this uncomfortable time.
Add more chew toys to your dog’s toy box
If teething is not the issue, it could be that your dog just loves to chew and needs more variety in his toy box.
Adding more dog-safe chew toys that are appropriate to your particular dog breed’s jaw size and chew strength could redirect the chewing behavior in more appropriate directions.
Make meal and treat times more interesting
Most dogs, like most people, love to eat. Some dog breeds even seem to live to eat! But many times, your dog will race through dinner and it is over in five seconds flat.
You can try using puzzle feeders, snuffle mats, treat balls, and other tools to create more interest and extend mealtimes for your dog.
This can be especially helpful if your dog tends to chew on their bed only at certain times each day, such as while you are away at work during the week.
Try anti-chew spray
While this doesn’t work for all dogs (some seem oddly unaware of or even attracted to odors that dogs are supposed to hate), it is worth giving anti-chew sprays a try.
You can spritz on a bitter apple or something else that is dog-safe and see if that deters him from chewing up the bed.
Change your dog’s bed
While this may sound strange to you, your dog may genuinely like the “mouth feel” of their dog bed.
This can be especially true for beds that are filled with stuffing similar to what is used to fill smaller dog toys. Some dogs will ingest this stuffing and it can cause serious danger.
Changing your dog’s bed to a firm foam or some type of very tough and durable mat may curb the chewing behavior once your dog discovers there is no stuffing in the bed.
Give your dog more intellectual stimulation
Dogs are reported to have a similar level of intelligence to a two and a half-year-old human child, according to CNN.
If you have ever spent time with a toddler – your own child or someone else’s – you know how readily toddlers gravitate to new and interesting things and experiences.
Your dog may be craving something similar and is acting out frustration by chewing the dog bed. By upping the daily interest level with new toys, training challenges, or even K-9 athletics, you may be able to stop bed chewing.
Give your dog more exercise and playtime
As well, the American Psychological Association (APA) explains that there are three main types of canine intelligence: instinctive, adaptive, and working/obedience.
In other words, different dog breeds may have an innate preference for different types of exercise and playtime that is more in keeping with what these dogs were bred to do.
For example, guarding and protection dog breeds may stop bed chewing when given more training and skills-building in their guarding and protection duties.
Scenthounds that crave new smells may enjoy learning how to work as a search and rescue or nose work dog.
Retrievers that are bred to bring back small games may enjoy canine athletics like dock diving, tracking, and obedience training.
There are so many different specialized skills that dogs can get involved in, from therapy dog work to agility and lure coursing, and these pursuits may put an end to bed chewing.
Add more you-time to your dog’s day
It may simply be that your dog wants more time with you.
So many of the possible reasons why dogs chew their beds – from separation anxiety to boredom, loneliness to stress – can be triggered by your absence.
For many dog breeds, even the company of another family canine cannot make up for the absence of their people. This is important to know since many owners will try adding another dog to the family, only to discover the bed chewing doesn’t abate one bit.
Hire a canine trainer
Finally, if nothing else you have tried works to get your dog to stop chewing up their bed, it is time to find a K-9 trainer to consult with. This is going to be especially true if bed chewing arises from past trauma or issues from puppyhood.