A friend of mine was wondering how she could get her puppy to stop chewing on the area rug, and I have a good recipe that can help. Luke and Oliver are so well behaved they never chew on anything inappropriate… well maybe a few socks here and there.. and towels… Oliver LOVES towels… although he rather just carries socks and towels around than really chews them. Compulsive chewing usually has a cause, so it would be good to check in with your vet and rule out the common culprits. For puppies it can be teething problems, but for older dogs it can often be caused by itching, either in the ears or in general. If ears look clean, allergies can be one hard to identify cause. Try switching to a food that doesn’t have any of the most common allergens such as wheat, meat, corn or soy and see if that helps. Identifying allergies can take a while but your vet can help. Some dogs also chew on things as a distraction from pain, if your dog has arthritis or trouble moving, talk to your vet about pain management alternatives.
Besides medical causes, the most common cause for chewing is just pure boredom and excess energy. So make sure your dog has plenty of exercise and other stimuli like chew toys to play with. That way your shoes will be safer.
To discourage a dog from chewing a specific item, like the area rug or your favorite pair of sneakers, you can buy a bitter apple product from the pet store, or make this easy to make (and much cheaper) home remedy instead. The idea behind both store remedies and this one is a taste that isn’t harmful but is strong enough to discourage the chewing.
Just mix 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 cup water is a spray bottle and spray lightly on the item you want to protect (don’t use on your dogs!). Reapply in a few days, but should stop the chewing right away. Test on a small area before applying to make sure there is no discoloration or other issues.
If your dog is obsessively licking it’s paws, do not use this product, it can really sting on broken skin and cause additional irritation. Obsessive licking has many of the same causes as obsessive chewing, allergies being the most common one.