How To Stop Your Dog From Chewing On Woodwork And Furniture

When our dogs were puppies they chewed on everything from door frames to kitchen tables. They wrecked baseboard trim, the woodwork around doors, the actual door, and even a kitchen cabinet.

Dogs don’t just chew your home to be destructive, they do it because they are bored or stressed and need an outlet. The easiest thing for them to do is to just start chewing on whatever piece of furniture or woodwork is closest to them.

The best thing to do is give them something else to chew and make sure that they know it belongs to them. If your puppy is chewing non-stop than you’re going to need toys that will last them days or even weeks instead of a stuffed animal that gets pulled apart in minutes.

One of my dogs was a beast of a chewer, more of a Chewzilla or “Jaws With Paws” than a dog. We were desperate to find her some toys that would stand up to her abuse and take her attention away from our homes furniture and woodwork.

We picked up 10 different chew toys from the local pet store and let our dogs have at them to see what they liked and would last a long time. Here’s what we bought and what worked best to stop them from chewing on our homes millwork for the long term.

Nylabone Dura Chew

A new Nylabone Durachew compared to a 30 day old and a 60 day old one.

If you’re looking for the toughest chew toy on the planet, this may just be the one. They are definitely our “go-to” now.

We almost always have a new one on hand because we don’t want to go a day without having a safe sized one in the house. When a dura-chew gets down to about 6″ we usually toss it and replace it with a new one.

As you can see in the before and after picture the new one has a distinct bone shape at the end, and within about a month it turns into a stick. Don’t be alarmed when within days the ends start to look a little chewed on. It’s totally normal and even after 60 days of regular use they are still plenty safe to use.

They help fight boredom, clean teeth, freshen breath, helps them forget about the woodwork, and prevents them from being generally destructive around the house. They know these are theirs, and if they get bored it’s usually one of the first things our pups go after besides playing with one another.

Kong Wild Knots Squeaker Bears

A green and red Kong Knots chew toy before I let Sophie and Sanne chew them up.

Let’s see if this pair of Kong Wild Knots survive the Sophie and Sonna test.

I see these recommended for tough chewers regularly, but plush toys rarely last long in this house. That’s not to say that they can’t, but I don’t think the fate of these two will be any different than the rest of their fallen brothers and sisters.

These are a bit different though. Instead of being filled with just stuffing they have rope in the body. The head is filled with some sort of dense stuffing and there’s a squeaker in the chest. The best that the rope will probably do is buy them some time, however.

Even the back of the package states “Designed for light/moderate chewing”, so I’m not quite sure why these get recommended as indestructible so often. I can only guess that their chihuahua isn’t as tough on their toys as my seventy pound mutts are.

My prediction?

My suspicion is that these will last a couple of days at the most and they will be looking for wood and furniture to pass the time on again. Sophie will perform a squeakerectomy after a couple days of squeaking with it. She’ll probably do that by chewing through the nose, pulling out the stuffing, and then ripping off the head to get to that squeaker.

I have never given Sanne a plush toy, but from the way that she works her nylon chews and bones I bet hers won’t last long either.

Results Are In

Well that didn’t take long. Within minutes Sophie had ripped a hole in the back and was pulling out the stuffing. Her interest was immediately drawn to the Kong label on the back as well as the patches that were glued on. She nibbled at those until she pulled them off and in the process tore a hole that allowed her to start pulling stuffing.

Ten minutes later: She has opened up a second hole under one of the little patches on the front of it. I think she may be after that squeaker.

60 seconds later: Yup squeaker is out. That poor innocent stuffed bear gets a break while Sophie works over that squeaker. I see Sanne protecting hers a bit from across the room. I think she realized that her sister is a monster.

5 minutes later: I had take away the squeaker. She has mutilated it and now that the squeaker is gone she has lost interest, at least for now.

1 minute later: Sophie is back at it and has pinned down the rope legs and arms with her paws and she is gnawing at the head. Sanne has interest in hers now. There is a red piece of fabric next to her, looks to be an ear. She has taken the opposite approach from Sophie. She has pinned the head and is taking the more conventional approach of chewing on a leg. She must have read the instructions.

1 minute later: Sophie is pulling stuffing out of the head now while Sanne holds hers a little more closely.

10 minutes later: I think it’s time for an after picture. The next time someone recommends one of these as an indestructible toy send them here to this page.

A Kong Wild Knots that has been totally destroyed by Sophie.

So much for this Kong plush being indestructible. Skip it if you want something that will keep them from the woodwork and furniture for more than a few minutes.

Benebone Wishbone Chew With Real Bacon Flavor

A side by side comparison of a new Benebone chew toy and one that Sophie gnawed on for 10 minutes.

Both Sanne and Sophie went bananas for these things the second I took them out of the box. They use real bacon in them to give them flavor and color.

They are made of nylon just like the Nylabone so this is exactly what I was expecting. I just wasn’t expecting for them to take to them so quickly. They absolutely loved them and got a little upset with me when I took them away. Had to be done though as they were getting a little protective. Gotta let them know who the boss is, right?

I took them away and gave them a treat for giving them up. They’ll get them back tomorrow but the competition for them was getting a little intense. If I had any single complaint it would be that they loved them a little too much, so that’s really not a complaint at all. These get a glowing review from me, Sophie, Sanne, and our woodwork.

Update: These are not as durable as the Nylabone Dura Chew. They are a bit softer and the dogs as making mincemeat of them in a few days. I’m chalking that up to the fat from the bacon in them but I’m not totally sure. I’ll still be buying them to mix into the rotation of toys because they love them, but they won’t last for months like I initially thought they would.

Classic Kong Is Not Indestructible

The arrow points to the vulnerable part of the Kong that Sophie used to wreck hers.

I know everyone says that these can’t be destroyed but guess what Sophie managed to do to one about six months back. Yup, you’re right. She absolutely wrecked one. She found its’ most vulnerable spot and just nibbled at it until she was pulling pieces of hard rubber off. I highlighted that spot for you in the picture above.

I’m not going to give these to them without supervision. Actually, I’m not going to treat it as a chew toy at all. It’s now a treat dispenser in this house. I’m stricly going to fill these up with goodies and then once they are done licking those out I’ll have to take it away. These won’t save your homes woodwork from destruction for more than a half hour or so.

They do love them but I’m not going to let destructo-dog have her way with one ever again. That’s what the nylon chew toys are for.

Kong Tugga Wubba

Picture of the Kong Tugga Wubbas that we bought for our dog today.

Despite this being sold in many pet stores as a chew it’s most certainly not. This is an interactive play toy. As its’ name implies, it’s designed to be used for tug-o-war with your dogs or to be tossed so they can chase and hopefully return it to you to toss again.

Tugging is a natural and fun behavior for dogs so I highly recommend having something like this on hand. It took both of them about 10 minutes to get the idea and we were having tug-o-war here in the living room.

But but warned, if you have a dog that loves to destroy its’ toys don’t leave them in the room with it. I left the two of them alone for about five minutes while I went to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. When I came back Sophie had already ripped off one of the strands on the end.

If you have two dogs, the best case scenario would be to teach them to tug it with you and then teach them to play tug-o-war with it with one another. That way you can watch Friends reruns while the dogs get some exercise.

Mammoth Flossy Chews

A pair of Mammoth Flossy Chews before they were given to the dogs.

These stand a chance of lasting a little while because the individual strands in the rope are wound fairly tight.

Do I think they will get destroyed?

Absolutely!

At this point in the testing I don’t think anything will ever be totally chew proof. But I do think they will have some fun with them for a few days. Like the Tugga Wugga, I think these will be better for playing tug-o-war with than to just let them have them outright for destruction.

Right after I took the picture above I handed them over so in about 30 minutes we should have results.

Here's what the flossy chew looks like after a few minutes of being gnawed on.

30 minutes later: They’re not terribly interested in chewing these. Sanne has been cuddling hers, it’s probably more accurate to say keeping it away from Sophie, and Sophie has been doing a little light chewing and tearing at it but nothing crazy. Sophie aka “Jaws With Paws” did do some quick damage to it.

This is pretty much what I was expecting. If she was really into it this toy would be decimated by now. But neither of them have shown much more than a passing interest. I’m taking these away and we will use them to play together with.

Marrow Bones

Our year old marrow bones are not in awful shape.

Obviously these have held up great but I don’t give them to my dogs any more. Thing like these bones and deer antler chews are a risky treat for dogs.

The reason I don’t let them have them anymore is that many dogs have broken their teeth on them. Even though they love them they aren’t worth the risk of having to spend hundreds of dollars to fix a tooth because of a $2 bone.

The problem is that they are actually harder than their teeth. I realize that wild dogs would be chewing on bones but not ones like these.

These are most likely from a cow or another large animal that dogs would not be hunting in the wild. The bones of smaller mammals are much softer than these and dogs actually eat them and are able to physically digest them. The bones from large animals aren’t much better than chewing on rocks for them. Saving woodwork probably isn’t worth it if you have to fix teeth.

Nylabone Chicken Flavored Chews

A pair of Nylabone chicken flavored chew toys shaped like dinosaurs.

These aren’t the biggest toys in the world but they are made of tough nylon and the chicken must smell absolutely awesome to dogs.

Sanne and Sophie wagging their tails while waiting patiently for their next set of treats to test out for us.

Those tails were wagging a mile a minute while we made them pose for pictures. Fortunately they sat so nicely and waited, but the moment we handed them over they immediately hit the floor and started gnawing away.

Because of their size they won’t last too long but they were really cheap. And since they shipped for free I’ll be adding them to my cart from now on when I order their kibble and treats.

From the looks of it I think Sophie will get a few days out of hers and Sanne will get a week or so as long as her big sister “Jaws With Paws” doesn’t borrow it.

Here’s what they looked like after about a half an hour of constant chew time. Definitely good for the short term but I wouldn’t leave a dog home alone for too long with it. Once it’s gone they’ll be turning their attention to your millwork again.

Here's what the Nylabone dinosaur chews look like after 30 minutes.

Kong Goodie Bone

A brand new Kong Goodie Bone still in the package.

This is made out of the same rubber that the Classic Kong is made out of. We have had one for over a year and it doesn’t have any bite marks in it but we don’t let them sit and sink their teeth in it for extended periods of time either. We learned our lesson with the regular Kong.

We pack this with peanut butter, cheese, a thin layer of bacon fat, or whatever we feel like treating them with that day. They sit and lick and chew and then once they lose interest we take it away.

I think that these haven’t gotten destroyed because the holes are much smaller than on the Classic Kong. Sophie can’t use her teeth to get a hold of an edge and tear at it. All she seems to be able to do is put her tongue in the hole and chomp down on the ends a bit.

Bacon Flavored Nylabone Dura Chew

A brand new bacon flavored Nylabone Dura Chew.

This is different from the Benebone bacon toy because it uses artificial bacon flavoring instead of using real bacon.

It actually lasts longer than the regular Durachew because it nearly twice the size. I highly recommend these because they come in lot’s of different flavors and sizes to keep your dog from chewing on woodwork, and they average right around $6 a piece. Buying one a week at that price isn’t going to break the bank.

here's what the bacon flavored Nylabone looks like after a little work from Sophie.

Someone really wants her bone back.

Here’s what this one looked like after Sophie put in about 15 minutes of work. As you can see there’s really not much damage at all.

Because of its’ bigger size it’s harder for her to generate as much biting power on it. As she continues to make it smaller it will begin to disappear faster, but it’s a great value for just a few dollars. If this was the only toy in the house it would keep her from the millwork for a couple weeks easily.

So What Was The Most Indestructible Dog Toy?

Without a doubt the nylon and natural marrow filled bones stood up to their abuse the best. I’ll let you decide your risk tolerance with the marrow bones, but like we said in our review of them we aren’t going to risk it.

So that leaves us with three nearly, but not quite indestructible chew toys for our dogs. If you skipped to the end they were the Nylabone, the dino chews, and the Benebone. Turns out nothing can’t be destroyed but at least you can get ones that will keep them from remembering to chew woodwork for a couple months, that can also be replaced fairly inexpensively.

We’re still on the hunt for the perfect toy but I’m starting to think it doesn’t exist. You might want to change your thinking like we have from finding an indestructible toy to one that your dogs will get the most enjoyment out of for the longest amount of time.

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