DON’T EAT THE DOG BED!

Dogs chew! It’s normal. Like babies, they use their mouths to explore the world. Chewing on their beds, though, can be destructive and expensive. Here’s what to do if your pup persists.

That gnawing is awfully annoying!

Canines are mastication machines (even their species shares its name with a type of tooth), and they spend an awful lot of time in their beds…some of it waiting (some degree of) patiently for you to wake up. It stands to reason that dogs would resort to chewing on the fabric that makes up their bedding. Clearly this can be bad for the bed, but did you ever worry that it might be bad for your dog? Even if it’s harmless to their health, it’s certainly not the best behavior. Buying a new dog bed every few months isn’t a sustainable plan, either. So what’s an owner to do when a dog insists on biting his bed?

Understand why dogs chew.

When you want to eliminate a problem, a sure-fire first step is to uncover its cause. Think about why your dog is habitually chewing — there’s usually a reason. When dogs are puppies, chewing relieves the pain caused by incoming teeth and can also help baby teeth to work their way out. Older dogs exhibit healthy chewing as a way to keep their teeth clean and their jaws strong. (If only it freshened their breath!) Above and beyond what’s to be expected of every dog, chewing can be used as an emotional outlet. It fights boredom, reduces separation anxiety, and relieves frustration. When it’s time for a diet, even the politest non-chewers can develop hungry chomping habits.

Don’t let sucking scare you.

Manic mastication isn’t the only manifestation of undesirable chewing behavior. Pups who were weaned too early after birth can develop licking or sucking compulsions. Just like chewing, incessant sucking is usually a solvable problem. Whatever approach you take, be sure not to be mean to your dog; guiding their behavior is always preferable to punishing them. It’s unlikely that your dog will associate your scolding with the behavior you’re trying to discourage anyway. Stick with these proven, pro-recommended tips to get the best outcome for everyone.

What can a dog owner do?

Old dogs can unlearn new (and old) tricks! Here are some ways to eliminate bed-chewing from your life.

Train it out. Behavior training is always an option, but puppy class probably won’t cut it for established habits. Going one-on-one with a well-reviewed local trainer could make it possible for you to trust your best friend with your belongings again!
Be clear. Some recommend giving your dog an old bed to chew if he wants to chew on a bed. This, however, sends mixed messages. Your dog can’t be expected to tell the difference between a chewable bed and a non-chewable bed. Try to discourage the chewing of household items consistently.

Keep ‘em busy. If stress or boredom is causing your dog to chew, just don’t let him get anxious or bored! Leave plenty of things around that he’s allowed to chew on, and encourage him when he chows down on the right stuff.

Take the edge off. A diet can make any dog determined to find supplementary sustenance. Throw some long-lasting edible chew toys into the mix. Between meal times, consider filling a puzzle toy with peanut butter to keep your pup busy and to ease his cravings. Freezing it first will extend the excitement.

Make the biting bitter. For unyielding chewers, spray-on deterrents can go a long way. Think of the harmless, bitter spray as an extra training tool. Get your dog familiar with the not-so-tasty flavor and fragrance, then apply to his bed and anything else you want to be safe from his jaws. Just make sure you get a non-staining, non-toxic formula.

When you need to buy a new dog bed…

Make it an awesome one! You’ll always get the best price on Sealy’s amazing beds designed just for dogs at A Goodnight Sleepstore. They’re tough, waterproof, washable, and anti-microbial! What more could your dog want? (You might still want to order some of that deterrent spray whenever you buy a new bed.)

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