How Do I Keep Things out of Dogs' Mouths?

Christina Edwards

Many dogs, especially puppies, are notorious for chewing on nearly anything within reach. To keep things out of dogs' mouths, you should try to find out why they are chewing things in the first place. Puppies will often chew on things when they're teething, while older dogs may chew because they're bored. When you leave your dogs at home, you should put anything that can be chewed away, and large items that can't be easily put out of reach can be coated with an unpleasant-tasting substance. You may also move your dogs out of your home until you return.

Dogs can be put in large crates when you are gone for short periods of time.
Dogs can be put in large crates when you are gone for short periods of time.

Dogs can cause a large amount of damage when they chew on things, which is why it is important to keep things out of dogs' mouths. Puppies and young dogs are generally more likely to chew on things, since many of their teeth are still coming in. Chewing on things helps relieve some of the pressure and pain of teething, and it can also help push the teeth through the gums.

Puppies will often chew on things when they are teething.
Puppies will often chew on things when they are teething.

Older dogs will also sometimes chew on objects for a number of reasons. Dogs who are bored or do not have enough toys are likely to chew on things that they shouldn't. Be sure to give your dogs plenty of sturdy dog chew toys, so they will chew on them instead of things that they aren't supposed to. Allowing your dogs plenty of play and exercise is also important, and it may help keep things out of your dogs' mouths.

Always make sure that you only give your dogs toys that are specifically meant for canines. If you give them any of your old discarded items, they may not learn to distinguish between things they may chew on and things they may not chew on. If you give them some of your old shoes to chew on, they may chew on shoes whenever they can reach them.

You may also find that your dogs are chewing on things more when you aren't at home to keep them company. To prevent everything from ending up in your dogs' mouths, make sure you put away anything that they can reach. Shoes, for instance, should get shut in a closet. Electrical cords should also be unplugged and put out of reach if possible, since these can be very dangerous if they end up in your dogs' mouths.

Some large items, such as furniture, may be difficult to keep out of your dog's mouths. Since furniture is so large, it can not usually be locked away out of reach. If your dogs are chewing on furniture, you can use a taste deterrent. Spicy or bitter tasting substances can be rubbed or sprinkled onto the furniture. This can often be messy and some substances may cause stains, so this method should be used with care.

If you are unable to remove all things that might wind up in your dogs' mouths, put them in a safe area until you return. You may also put your dogs in large crates when you are gone for short periods of time. Alternatively, you can also tie them up in your back yard or let them stay with a friend.

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Discussion Comments


@Fa5t3r - I think some dogs just get into a bad habit of doing this as puppies and think that it's OK. And people might think it's cute when they are puppies (depending on what they chewed) but any behavior you wouldn't tolerate from a dog should not be tolerated from a pup, because they will remember.


@irontoenail - I had a dog once who would eat anything, up to and including rocks, if he was bored. We tried not to let him be bored, but sometimes there was no way to prevent it because we had something on that day.

He would eat apple cores and melon rinds if he got hold of them and would chew up sticks and teddy bears and so forth. Once he managed to get hold of my glasses while I was sleeping and chewed those to pieces, which made for an interesting story to tell the optometrist.

The funny thing was that he wasn't at all vicious and we could trust him to be completely sweet and gentle around anything that was alive, like birds or cats or children. But if it wasn't moving it seemed to be fair game!


It's amazing what kinds of things dogs will eat if they have the chance and if they are a particular type of dog. We had some neighbors once who had a dog that they called Rocky, because he basically would fetch rocks if you threw them and would chew them to bits if you left them with him.

He was very well fed and exercised and didn't seem to do this with any other inanimate object. It's just, for some reason, he did it with rocks.

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