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Why your dog is chewing the carpet and how to stop it

Puppy chewing rug
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If your dog is chewing the carpet and you have no idea why they’re doing it or how to stop it, rest assured, you’ll find everything you need to know right here to both understand their behavior and prevent it from continuing. 

It can be really frustrating as a pet parent when you’ve invested in a selection of the best dog toys and yet your canine companion still prefers to chew your carpet rather than chewing on their toys! 

You’re probably wondering why your pup is engaging in this behavior and while it may feel like they’re doing it to upset you, we promise you that’s not the case. Inappropriate chewing behaviors are usually the result of an underlying issue, such as teething, stress, or anxiety.

Chewing the carpet can also be a learned behavior that they’ve come to associate with getting attention. Even if that attention is negative, your pup will keep doing it if they know it gets you to engage with them. In order to stop your canine companion from chewing the carpet, it’s important to first get to the root cause of the behavior.

Once you’ve done that, you‘ll be able to start working on addressing the cause to put a stop to the behavior. Below, we take an in-depth look at the reasons why your pup might be chewing the carpet and explore a range of tips and tricks to help end carpet chewing once and for all!

Why your dog is chewing the carpet

While it may seem like your dog is chewing up your carpet to upset you, there’s actually a number of genuine reasons that could be driving this behavior. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common.

1. Teething

Puppies explore their world through their mouths and for the few months that they’re teething they’ll want to chew on anything and everything they can get their paws on to help relieve the pain and discomfort they’re experiencing. Unfortunately, unless you invest in several of the best teething toys for puppies, very few items will be safe from this chewing expedition, including your carpets! 

2. Anxiety

Does your dog spend long periods of the day home alone while you’re at work? Separation anxiety could be the cause of their carpet chewing as anxiety often leads dogs to engage in destructive behaviors in order to soothe themselves. If you notice other signs, such as urinating or defecating around the house, or your neighbors inform you that your dog has been barking or howling, separation anxiety could be the cause. 

3. Attention seeking

If your dog has been chewing the carpet and you’ve been telling them off for doing so (which is understandable!), you could be reinforcing the behavior without even realizing it. Believe it or not, while dogs prefer positive reinforcement and praise, if they’re after your attention, they’ll take whatever they can get, even if that’s you coming into the room to give them negative feedback.

4. Changes in their routine/environment

Stress can definitely cause your pup to engage in unwanted behaviors, including carpet chewing. If you notice that your canine companion started their chewing after you moved house, relocated their crate or food bowls, or it’s coincided with renovations, having guests, or welcoming a new addition into the family (of the pet or human variety), stress could be to blame. 

5. Pica

Yes, believe it or not, pica is a condition that affects dogs too! This condition causes dogs to crave eating non-food items, including everything from carpets and drywall to golf balls and books. Pica is incredibly dangerous as it can cause your dog to ingest things that are toxic to them, so getting them diagnosed is super important. Most of the time, Pica is caused by hormonal or nutritional imbalances, or certain diseases, such as diabetes, all of which can be treated with the help of your vet.

6. Lack of exercise

Your dog’s breed will dictate the amount of exercise they need, with breeds like the Australian Shepherd needing several hours each day and couch potatoes like the Pug needing very little. If you have a high-energy breed and they’re not getting enough exercise, they may result to carpet chewing as a way to burn off energy and keep themselves occupied.

7. Boredom

When a dog isn’t getting enough physical and mental stimulation, boredom can very quickly set in and as you probably already know, a bored dog is a dog that’s likely to get into mischief! 

How to stop your dog from chewing the carpet

Beagle chewing rug

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once you’ve identified the root cause of your dog’s chewing behavior, there are several strategies you can use to put a stop to it.

1. Training

The first thing you can try is working with your dog directly using training methods to teach them that chewing the carpet is not ok. There are a couple of different approaches you can use here, including redirection and deterrent training methods, so let’s take a look at the steps for both of these.

A. Redirection

Step 1: Gather up a few of the best dog chew toys.

Step 2: Watch your pup closely and wait until you see him chewing the carpet.

Step 3: Pick up one of the chew toys and say ‘no’ in a firm voice.

Step 4: When your pup looks at you, redirect his attention by offering him the chew toy you’re holding in your hand.

Step 5: As he takes the toy, be sure to give him lots of verbal praise.

Step 6: Rinse and repeat!

B. Deterrent

Step 1: Pick up a bottle of pet deterrent spray - this won’t stain your carpet and your dog will dislike both the taste and the smell.

Step 2: Take a cotton ball and spray it with the deterrent. Give it to your dog so that he associates the nasty smell with the taste of what’s on the cotton ball.

Step 3: Lightly spray the area of carpet your dog likes to chew.

Step 4: Observe your dog as they head to their favorite spot. If, after smelling and tasting the spray, they decide to head to another patch of carpet, repeat the process until your pup learns to associate chewing on the carpet with having to smell and taste something they don’t like.

2. Limit access

Another great way to stop your pup from chewing the carpet is to simply limit their access to carpeted rooms and ensure they don’t have any unsupervised time if they are in a room with carpet. 

3. Physical and mental stimulation

Make sure your dog is getting enough physical stimulation with daily exercise that meets the minimum requirements for their breed - more is always better if you have a high-energy dog on your hands. Mental stimulation is important too and alongside standard dog toys, the best dog puzzle toys are ideal for giving your mutt’s mind a good workout.

4. Keep your canine occupied when you’re away from home

If you need to leave your pup at home for a few hours on their own, make sure you provide them with plenty of things to keep them busy. Kong toys are a fantastic choice as not only are these great for chewing, but they can be stuffed with ingredients like peanut butter and banana, which will keep your furry friend happy and entertained. 

5. Crate training

Another good option for when you’re needing to pop out for a few hours is to learn how to crate train a dog. Investing in one of the best dog crates can give your pup a safe and secure place to stay when you’re not able to be with them and will prevent them from chewing on your carpet and other belongings. To help them feel comfortable in their crate, pop their bed and a nice cozy blanket inside and be sure to leave them with a few toys to play with. 

6. Visit your vet

If you’ve tried everything and your canine companion still refuses to give up their carpet-eating habit, take them to the vet who will be able to rule out any underlying physical or mental health issues that could be causing this behavior.

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.