Why is your dog chewing on the carpet when she has plenty of chew toys to choose from? After all, dogs love to chew, and you’ve provided her with enough toys for several dogs, and yet, your carpet seems to be your dog’s favorite thing to chomp on. Well, rest assured, we’re here to help you with this problem.
We’ll start by looking at why this behavior needs to be taken seriously as it could prove harmful to your dog. We’ll then look at why your dog may be chewing the carpet and some tips for preventing this behavior from occurring.
Maybe one of your primary concerns is the damage to your expensive carpet, but there are safety reasons for your dog why the chewing behavior needs to stop.
Fabric pulled out could get stuck in your dog’s throat leading to choking.
Material can become lodged in your dog’s stomach or intestines, leading to serious internal infection or injury.
Thread or fabric could get stuck in your dog’s teeth, which could lead to infection.
If you suspect your dog has swallowed some of your carpet and hasn’t vomited, you need to take your dog to the vet immediately. Particularly if your dog has lost her appetite, has a swollen belly, or you see changes in her bowel movements.
Now we’ll look at 8 reasons why your dog might be chewing on your carpet and some ideas on stopping this behavior.
Reasons Dogs Chew on Your Carpet
1. Puppy Teething
Puppies tend to explore and gain information from the world around them by putting everything in their mouths. They will chew on everyone and everything they can get their little teeth on as well while teething. Teething is the process when puppies start to lose their puppy teeth to make room for adult teeth, and this process does, unfortunately, cause pain. The pain gives puppies the urge to chew on things to help alleviate it. Teething usually starts at about 3 weeks of age and lasts until your puppy is about 6 months old.
Giving your puppy something frozen or cold to chew on can help ease some of the teething pain. Wetting a washcloth and freezing it is a good option (just be sure to supervise your puppy as you don’t want her accidentally chewing and swallowing bits of it off).
Special puppy chew toys, like this one, can be used to entice your puppy away from the carpet. Tell your puppy “no” firmly when you catch her chewing something off-limits and immediately give her the chew toy and praise her when she takes it.
2. Separation Anxiety
When a dog is left alone for too long throughout the day, he might experience separation anxiety, leading to a multitude of destructive behaviors, including chewing your carpet. Other signs of separation anxiety could include pacing, excessive barking, howling, digging, trying to escape, and urinating and defecating inside the house.
For mild separation anxiety, using a KONG stuffed with peanut butter or something like a frozen banana can help your dog adjust for when you leave the house. The longer it takes your dog to dig out the food, the longer he will be distracted.
For more severe cases of separation anxiety, have a look at the desensitization and counterconditioning programs suggested by the ASPCA.
Putting your dog in a crate could help protect your dog from hurting himself unless you suspect that it is causing your dog even more anxiety.
Consult your vet for medication or any other concerns you may have regarding your dog’s anxiety and destructive behavior.
3. Early Weaning
If a dog was taken away from her mother at too young an age (usually before 7 or 8 weeks old), some dogs will start sucking, chewing, and licking fabrics.
You can try the same training technique previously mentioned with the puppy teething tip.
This behavior can easily become compulsive, and you might want to consider seeking help from a Behavioral Specialist.
Pica is a condition where dogs will develop a compulsion to eat non-food items that can include carpets. Some dogs might only attempt to eat one kind of non-food object or will try to eat anything they can wrap their mouths around.
Pica can be an underlying medical condition or a behavioral issue. Consulting with your vet can help to determine the cause of your dog eating inappropriate items, and treatment will depend on why your dog has developed pica.
Ensuring your dog has the right diet, exercise, and mental stimulation are all factors in preventing pica.
A dog that is frustrated and stressed can sometimes engage in inappropriate chewing behavior. This kind of stress can result from excessive teasing or rough play from children (or adults) and harassment from other animals. It can also occur when they aren’t allowed to participate in an activity that excites them (not being allowed to chase a squirrel, for example).
If you can anticipate when your dog might experience frustration, redirect him to a toy that he can chew on.
Making changes in your home or to your routine could help prevent some of the more stressful situations.
A dog that is bored and not getting enough exercise will sometimes resort to chewing as a way of entertaining herself.
This is a pretty obvious answer. Make sure you give your dog enough physical exercise. Lots of walks, allowing your dog the opportunity to visit dog parks so she can play with other dogs, and lots of playtime opportunities.
Give your dog her meals in a food puzzle bowl as a way to mentally occupy her.
Maybe something that smells yummy fell on the carpet, and your dog is chewing because he’s hungry, or he just can’t resist that scent. This will potentially be more of an issue for a dog that is on a diet.
You could use a repellent spray on the carpet’s problem area so your dog will no longer be attracted to that spot.
You can also make your own spray of vinegar, alcohol, or ammonia mixed with water.
8. Typical Chewing Behavior
Some dogs are just prone to chewing things without it being a medical or behavioral issue. Chewing for hours can help strengthen their jaws and helps to keep their teeth clean.
Using a repellent like this one every time you see your dog chewing on the carpet and then praising her when she stops will help her understand and stop her destructive chewing.
Redirect your dog to something she should chew, and praise her when she takes the treat. It will give her hours of chewing pleasure.
If you can’t supervise your dog, consider placing her in a crate.
Don’t punish or scold your dog, physically or verbally, as she won’t remember what she did wrong, even immediately after the event. This will probably even create further destructive behavior.
Do not hold your dog’s mouth closed or tape it shut. This is abuse, and she won’t learn anything from this.
Don’t put a muzzle on your dog to prevent chewing, as she will not learn anything.
Your dog should not be left in a crate for more than 6 hours just to prevent her from chewing your carpet.
If you’ve tried to curb your dog’s chewing using these tips and it’s still an issue, you should speak to a dog behaviorist and your vet in case there’s an underlying problem. Lots of love, patience, and training should usually work, and hopefully, you can come out of this with a happy dog and a salvaged carpet.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.