How to Protect Drywall from Your Dog: Stop Eating Walls & Scratching Habits

How to Protect Drywall from Dog

Some dogs just love to chew stuff. This is fine if it’s focussed on chew toys, but a massive issue if your dog is scratching drywall, and then progressing onto chewing and eating it. Thankfully there are things you can put on the walls to stop your dog chewing. There are also methods to protect drywall from your dog which don’t involve an application but are more behavioral based.

In this guide I am going to give you some practical solutions you can use today to stop your dog eating walls. There are also some notes on how behavioural issues can be root the cause and what you can do with those as well.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer to look at some solutions you can use to protect your drywall from the dog.

How do I stop my dog from chewing drywall?

Before we get into ways you can stop your dog scratching drywall and eating plaster, let’s cut to the chase of why this happens: the most likely causes will either be separation anxiety or boredom.

If you need to protect your drywall from the dog, then the chewing is the symptom. Dogs that are bored or anxious will try to escape or act destructively.

how to stop dog from eating drywall
Learn how to stop a dog from eating drywall with the 14 tips listed below.

However, whilst some dogs will react well to behavioral training so you don’t have to protect your walls, not all dogs will. For example, crate training works for some dogs, but not others. With that in mind, what follows is a mix of prevention and cure – all of which you should try to help stop your dog chewing the walls.

1. Use nasty tasting or sounding deterrents

The cheapest and quickest methods which don’t require training or equipment are taste-based deterrents which you can put on walls to stop dog chewing problems.

Here are a couple of ideas, all of which some dog owners say have helped to protect their drywall from being chewed up.

Use a bitter apple spray

Bitter apple spray has been used for decades to stop problematic chewing. All you do is spray it onto the drywall and next time your dog licks or chews, he should hate the taste. Click to see which is the best-rated bitter apple spray on Amazon.

There’s no guarantee it won’t leave a stain on your wall, so you will need to clean it up afterwards and possibly re-paint the patch – but that’s a small price to pay rather than having to fix the drywall after your dog’s eaten it.

I recommend you test a small patch of your wall first just to make sure there isn’t drastic color change. Perhaps low down the wall and behind a piece of furniture. This applies to anything you will be applying to protect your drywall.

Make your own nasty tasting deterrent

Another option is to make a nasty tasting deterrent yourself. If you can make something that is really unpleasant to the taste, it could convince your dog stop eating walls.

I have a friend who mixed up their own solution of hot chili powder and water. They brushed some of their anti-chew solution on their pup’s favorite patch of wall and then sat back and watched.

They saw their teething puppy come along, put its nose and mouth up to the wall and immediately recoil. And that was the end of it; no more drywall chewing from this dog!

They did need to wash the wall down and re-paint the patch, but it did work and gave their drywall the protection it needed from their destructive puppy.

Another possible solution is Vicks VapoRub. If you spread a bit on quite thick, it won’t evaporate. It is said to really turn dogs off due to the smell and taste.

Use a corrector spray

Another humane method could be a corrector spray (view Amazon reviews). It emits a loud hiss of air when you press a button and will often stop dogs in their tracks – they then associate the unpleasant air hiss with themselves eating your drywall.

The only downside about this deterrent to wall chewing is that you need to be in the room when the bad behavior happens.

Considering most dogs chew and scratch walls when you are away, it might not be ideal. It’s certainly worth having though as a secondary option to back up all the other solutions here.

2. Install anti-scratch and chew panelling

There are a few options here, all of which require an element of DIY skill. You can use shower surround plastic, clear plastic guard material, or fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP).

I know a guy who used white shower surround material to go against the drywall to a height of about 4 feet. It was white plastic so fitted in with his décor quite well and costs around 8 dollars a sheet.

Alternative solutions are acrylic plexiglass which you can cut to size and then attach in using drywall screws. Other people on the web have had success with fiberglass reinforced panels which are said to be easy to cut, easy to clean, and easy to install.

If you want something that has been pre-made for purpose, take a look at this scratch shield on Amazon. As with all the DIY options I’ve given you, it can be cut to size and will stop your dog from scratching walls and doors.

3. Call in pest removal or consider it could be pipe noise

It could be that your dog won’t stop chewing drywall due to critters. Many homes will have vermin in the wall cavities that you can’t hear but are audible to your dog’s sensitive hearing.

It could be something as small as termites running about, to something as large as rodents and birds. Imagine the frustration this is for your dog, knowing their prey is inches away, if only they could scratch and chew through the drywall.

The only to solve this one is to call in your local pest removal company.

But it might be an entirely different noise altogether; pipes. Water and gas pipes will emit low frequency sounds and vibrations that only your dog can hear.

4. Strategically place furniture

Your room might be just the way you like it, but perhaps you need to move it around to protect your walls from the dog’s chewing?

Don’t stop there though; dogs can be very resourceful, so once you’ve moved the room around to stop the dog getting at your walls, give them a distraction too – here are some ideas below.

5. Distract with toys and chews

Dogs will always chew, it’s in their nature. But dogs who don’t have their own chew toys will find something else to bite on – and will often be your walls and furniture.

You can instil a good chew toy drive in your dog early on, and this will let them know what’s good for chewing and what’s not.

Having loads of toys to chew on should always be a solution in this process in addition to everything else you do to protect your walls.

When our puppy was in his teething phase, we had a Kong toy (view on Amazon) in the freezer. He loved the fact it was cold as it soothed his gums and gave him something to chew on.

6. Crate train your dog

Crate training is a big topic and could never be covered in this blog post. I recommend searching out some YouTube videos or getting a book.

But what it can do is create a happy dog and a happy owner – it’s a safe and effective training method for a multitude of bad behaviors. If you don’t have a crate, now is the time to get one. You can buy a decent one on Amazon with no need to spend over budget.

Many dog owners I spoke to on social media say their dogs stopped eating the walls and considered the crate a safe den, which didn’t need to be locked – once the crate training was complete of course!

7. Eliminate boredom with games

As well as chew toys, keep your dog entertained with games. There’s an amazing dog puzzle game on Amazon I recommend.

Dogs that are mentally challenged will keep their brains active. If they are tired out mentally, they are less inclined to be destructive.

Think about it… let’s say your dog is sat next to that drywall with nothing to do. He might feel like giving the wall a lick, and the next thing you know, he’s chewing at it.

8. Eliminate anxiety and fear

Just like us, dogs can get stressed. We have many ways of relieving stress, but dogs aren’t so lucky. And that’s why dogs start eating walls – it’s their version of an executive stress ball!

Stress can manifest itself in many different ways.

Your dog could have separation anxiety. He could be scared of something. There might have been a change in your home environment.

If you can find the cause of your dog’s anxiety, you could put a quick stop to your dog eating drywall.

9. Exercise your dog

Most dogs need at least half an hour of vigorous exercise each day… depending on their age and limits of course.

Once your dog has had an intense workout, they will feel way better about themselves. If you exercise yourself, you will know what high you get afterwards.

It can relieve stress and boredom and is a great technique for stopping your dog scratching and biting at your walls.

10. Your dog could grow out of it

Aside from behavioural reasons for eating walls, the biggest reason is probably teething. Young puppies will chew anything in sight to relieve their sore gums.

So, if you are trying to stop your dog from chewing the walls, he might actually grow out of it before you get a chance to implement any actions.

Puppies tend to stop teething by the age of 8 months old once all the adult teeth have grown through.

11. Have your dog assessed for Pica

Pica is a psychologically compulsive condition which compels some dogs to eat things that are not meant to be eaten. This can include stones, fabric, paper, feces, and yes, you’ve guessed it… drywall!

If your four-legged friend has pica, you need to try some of the above tips on how to stop your dog from chewing your walls.

You should still talk to your vet though; pica can be a sign of poor nutrition or health issues.

12. Don’t scold your dog

Above all, if your dog has eaten through your drywall or scratched your walls to pieces, don’t shout at them. Dogs can’t make the connection between being scolded and what they’ve done so it’s a complete waste of energy.

Scolding your dog could also exacerbate the bad behavior. If they were chewing drywall out of fear, being shouted at will make them do it more.

13. Go to your vet for behavioral issues

If nothing works, seek professional advice.

Most of the time, your dog will be eating drywall due to a behavioural issue. If you can’t resolve that, they will continue to scratch the walls, and all you can do is put up a protective covering.

You vet will be able to advise you.

Handy Hint: If your dog is rubbing against a wall then this can be for a number of reasons, all of which I discuss in my guide to dogs and wall hugging.

My dog ate drywall (how to fix)

And what about fixing the chewed drywall?

Well, I am not the best of DIY guys, so in this case I am going to refer to a website which shows a step by step process to fixing drywall your dog has eaten. You can also see a YouTube video below.

Why would a dog eat drywall?

There are a number of reasons why your dog starts this behavior in the first place, so it can be useful to understand the background. I’ve spoken more in depth about these reasons in my guide to drywall toxicity, but here’s a quick re-cap.

My Dog is scratching the wall when left alone

This is a classic sign of separation anxiety. Dogs left alone can exhibit destructive behavior, and many times that will result in them chewing and scratching the walls up.

You could stop your dog from chewing the walls by spending more time with them, increasing their exercise, or even getting them a doggy friend.

I have an old dog scratching the walls

It could be that you have an older dog scratching the walls. As dogs get older, they cannot exercise as much. Often this lack of activity can manifest itself in boredom, with old dogs scratching at walls to stimulate themselves physically and mentally.

My dog is scratching walls to get at something

Even new properties will sometimes have critters in the wall spaces, and more so in older homes.

Dogs have extremely sensitive hearing and smell, so will often chew at drywall if they think there’s some kind of live prey in the wall cavity. It could be a good time to call in the pest removal services.

Conclusion

The act of chewing gives sensory reinforcement; it feels good to dogs. If you can avoid them doing it in the first place, you can protect your drywall from dog chewing.

That’s a lot easier said than done though!

Yes, you can take the steps to protect your drywall from the dog, but this is prevention not cure. Cure is always the best remedy, so the best approach might be a mix of the two, until you get your dog’s behavior changed.

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I regularly write about how you can stop dogs from doing things you don’t want them to. Here are some additional tips to help around your home:

Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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