Is Your Dog an Aggressive Chewer?

Johnna Devereaux C.P.N.

Have you ever had the experience of coming home from the pet store with a new long-term chew that’s supposed to keep your dog or puppy stimulated and engaged? You excitingly take the chew out and secure it in a safety device, hoping your pup will get a good thirty-minute chew session. In less than half the time, your dog has devoured the entirety of the chew and is sniffing around for more.

There are a few reasons your dog may have decimated that chew so quickly, but assuming you purchased the correct size, chances are that you have an aggressive chewer. Understanding the root causes of aggressive chewing behavior in dogs is the first step toward addressing and managing this common issue.

Today, let’s explore the underlying causes of aggressive chewing and practical tips to help manage this behavior effectively.

What Causes Aggressive Chewing in Dogs?

  1. Natural Instincts:
    • Dogs have a natural instinctual need to chew. This starts during puppyhood when they are teething. Chewing helps alleviate discomfort and aids in the development of healthy teeth and jaws. It continues throughout their life as a way to provide stimulation and, at least in nature, provide nourishment.
  2. Boredom and Excess Energy:
    • Dogs may resort to chewing as a self-soothing way to temporarily distract themselves. This is especially true for those dogs that are bored or have pent-up energy. Lack of mental and physical stimulation can lead to destructive behaviors as dogs seek ways to entertain themselves.
  3. Anxiety and Stress:
    • Anxiety, fear, or stress can trigger aggressive chewing behavior in dogs. Dogs may chew excessively as a coping mechanism to alleviate their emotions or soothe themselves when feeling anxious.

*Remember, stress and anxiety can be simple things to a dog as they are creatures of habit, and could include changes in the environment, separation anxiety, loss of a friend or loud noises, to name a few. Dogs also communicate nonverbally and can pick up on subtleties of our feelings. If we are having a bad day, they will feel it and may look to chewing as a way to cope.

  1. Need for Environmental Enrichment:
    • Dogs thrive in environments that provide variety and enrichment. When their surroundings lack stimulation, they may resort to destructive behaviors, including chewing inappropriately, which in this case means chewing too quickly, to provide their own entertainment.
  2. Medical Issues:
    • Underlying medical issues such as dental problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, or pain from injuries can also contribute to aggressive chewing behavior in dogs. In response to discomfort, dogs may try to alleviate it by consuming desirable food(s) quickly.


Now that you know the reasons why your dog may be aggressively chewing, let’s explore ways to help manage it.


  1. Provide Adequate Mental and Physical Stimulation:
    • Engage your dog in regular exercise, aiming for at least 30 minutes per day. Allow for interactive play sessions and mental stimulation activities by using puzzle toys and feeding with slow feeders that help channel their energy and reduce boredom.
  2. Offer Appropriate Chews:
    • Provide a variety of correctly sized chews in a safe manner by securing them in a device like the Bow Wow Buddy™.   Ensure they are suitable for your dog's size, age, and chewing strength. Rotate chew types regularly to keep them engaging and exciting.
  3. Address Underlying Anxiety or Stress:
    • Identify and address any underlying stressors in your dog's environment, such as changes in routine or separation anxiety. Consider behavioral training or consulting with a professional trainer or veterinarian. They can help identify any underlying medical issues and develop a tailored behavior modification plan.


Understanding the root causes of aggressive chewing behavior in dogs is crucial for effective management and ensuring the well-being of our furry companions. Whether it stems from natural instincts, boredom, anxiety, environmental enrichment needs, or underlying medical issues, we can take steps to address and alleviate this behavior.

By providing adequate mental and physical stimulation through regular exercise, interactive play sessions, and engaging activities, we can help channel our dogs' energy in positive ways and reduce boredom-driven chewing. Offering appropriate chews, securely fastened in devices like the Bow Wow Buddy™, tailored to our dog's size, age, and chewing strength, can satisfy their natural urge to chew without the risk of consuming them too quickly.

Furthermore, addressing any underlying anxiety or stressors in our dog's environment, whether through behavioral training, professional consultation, or identifying and treating any medical issues, is essential for their overall well-being and behavior modification.

In taking these proactive steps, we not only manage aggressive chewing behavior but also foster a healthier and happier relationship with our pets, ensuring we help them lead fulfilling and enriched lives.


The points of view expressed above are those of our clinical pet nutritionist and supported by science, her education and experience. However, we recognize there may be different points of view or opinions on some aspect or even the premise of this article. Our goal at Bow Wow Labs is to provide the best, clearest, and most helpful information possible to help keep your dog happy, healthy and safe.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon or perceived as specific medical or veterinary advice.