Aside from the annoying property damage, chewing on wood trim can sometimes be dangerous behavior for dogs and puppies. It’s our responsibility as owners to not just ensure that our furniture and décor remain intact, but also that our beloved pets are as safe as possible.
With that in mind, just what is the best way to keep a puppy from chewing on wood trim, or even adult dogs? It’s something all ages can do after all.
How to keep dogs from chewing on wood trim?
Once you’ve determined the cause of your dog’s destructive chewing, you can then take steps to keep him from doing it – lower down the page I explain the possible reasons why dog keeps chewing on the wooden trims
You skip that if needed though, and go straight to the ways of stopping the destructive behavior.
1. Provide your dog with chew toys
One of the easiest ways to stop your puppy chewing wood trim is to give them something more productive to chew on. It should be simple enough to distract him with a durable chew toy that will not damage his teeth or can be swallowed.
Any local pet store (or you can buy good ones on Amazon) should have a wide variety of chew toys that you can choose from. Most dogs are happy to play with anything they can get their paws on.
It’s best to get an assortment of toys so your dog won’t get bored.
Mix up hard chewing sticks with a soft, squeaky toy. Woven rope toys are great for playing tug of war and provide interesting textures.
Feeder toys can be filled with treats and can be a fun puzzle to solve with a treat at the end – here’s a dog puzzle toy on Amazon.
Observe your dog or puppy and make note of the types of toys he prefers. Make sure some of his toys are interactive too – it’s important for dogs to spend active playing time with their humans.
2. Create physical barriers between the dog and wood trim
Another simple solution is keeping your dog physically separate and away from the room with wooden trim in it. Pet or baby gates can keep your dog away from areas or items he has been fixating on.
Crates are a great training tool for puppies and can be a safe haven for your adult dog. It’s instinctive for dogs to seek out small, protective spaces for themselves.
Crate training will not only restrict your dog’s access to your wood furniture and trim, but it can be a relaxing space for him, too.
If you’re going the crate training route, make sure to get a crate that’s appropriately sized, and to provide all the comforts he may need.
3. Give your dog enough attention and exercise
It’s important to provide dogs with enough physical and mental stimulation every day. Exercise and play are crucial to a dog’s overall wellbeing.
Without this stimulation, dogs can become bored and anxious and will chew items including wood trim.
An active and well-exercised dog will be better behaved and is less likely to develop any bad habits, especially when compared to a dog that’s always left alone.
Socialization is essential, too. Dogs love spending time with their owners, and with other people and other animals as well. A dog that’s kept busy will not resort to relieving boredom in destructive ways like chewing wooden trim in your home.
4. Spray a taste deterrent fluid on the wooden trims
Another solution is to use bitter apple spray on your furniture, baseboard, and all your dog’s favorite chewing spots. Your dog will keep away from anything that tastes awful.
Most taste deterrents are safe to use on any surface in your home such as this one on Amazon.
You can also make your own nasty tasting deterrent – a 2:1 mix of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar with a squeeze of lemon will be too sour for your dog to bear licking, let alone chewing.
Spray a little on the wood trims, and it could turn your dog off the moment his lips anywhere need the wood.
5. Use basic behavior training
You can start with a simple, firm “no” whenever you see your dog chewing on your baseboard trims, then move him somewhere else and give him a toy to keep busy with.
Help him make the distinction between objects that he is and isn’t allowed to chew on.
Training can be complex and will certainly take much longer than just installing a baby gate, but it will lead to a better-behaved dog. Don’t ever resort to hitting or yelling at your dog when they can’t quite pick up commands.
Use positive reinforcement, reward good behavior, and be consistent. Soon, you will not even have to give him treats. He will keep away from your wood trim fixtures on his own.
Handy Hint: It’s not just chewing that can ruin your wooden furniture. Dog urine can also cause lasting damage to interior wood, here’s how to fix that.
Why is my dog chewing on wood trim?
Chewing wood trim is a perfectly natural behavior for dogs. They won’t see anything wrong with it. Their mouth is one of their main vehicles for exploring the world around them – this means they lick and give a good chew on things that are new to them.
Most dogs go through a destructive chewing phase when they’re puppies. In their early months, teething puppies chew on anything they can get their mouths around to help relieve the discomfort that comes with erupting teeth.
However, dogs are meant to leave destructive chewing as they grow into adulthood. Providing chew toys for your dog is just natural, but if he’s resorting to gnawing on your furniture and wood trim, it could be that he’s bored, anxious, or has underlying dental conditions or pica.
The reasons dogs like to chew wood trim include:
- Instinct: Retrievers and hunting dogs have especially potent chewing instincts and are much more likely to keep grabbing objects with their mouths.
- Dental problems: Puppies less than 30 weeks old are likely just chewing as a way of pain relief due to teething. Adult dogs consistently gnawing on wood might be a sign of swollen gums, a loose tooth, or other dental problems.
- Boredom: Dogs resort to strange behaviors to entertain themselves. If you leave them alone without other things to focus their attention, they may find chewing wooden trim fixtures and furniture a great way to spend their time. Compulsive wood trim chewing can be a sign that your dog needs more stimulation and exercise.
- Anxiety or stress: Obsessive wood chewing may also be the manifestation of your dog’s anxiety or stress. If your dog is only being destructive when left alone at home, it may be a sign of separation anxiety. He may have chosen your endless wood baseboards as his security chew toy.
- Pica: This is a health condition that compels dogs to ingest non-food items such as wood trim, walls in your house, cloth, dirt, rocks, even insects like stink bugs. Pica can be caused by poor nutrition or an intestinal parasite. If your dog keeps eating anything he can get his mouth around no matter what it is, it’s best to take him in to get checked.
Is it OK for my dog to chew on wood?
Aside from causing property damage and eyesores around the home, chewing wood trims can be dangerous for your dog’s health.
Even if you still have the patience and resources to repair chewed-on furniture, it’s best to put a stop to this behavior and keep it from escalating.
Wood breaks apart very easily. Small wood splinters can jam into your dog’s gums or between his teeth, leading to a painful injury.
If a big enough piece is swallowed, it can cause digestive blockages or infections that may need surgical intervention.
Wood that’s been treated with dyes and chemicals can also be toxic to your dog.
You’ve just spent a significant amount of time and money installing new wood trim throughout your living room, hallways, and bedrooms. It looks fantastic and has made your home a bit more beautiful to live in and has given a new elegance to your once-bare walls and floors.
Mere hours later, you find teeth marks on several corners of your baseboard. It turns out your dog has decided your brand-new wood trim is his new chew toy – and there’s so much of it to choose from.
It’s a familiar tale on social media from dog owners, so I hope this guide has helped you better understand how to stop a puppy from chewing on wood trim.
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