Many canines are literally "in the doghouse" with their owners because of their destructive chewing. No one wants a pet that seeks and destroys any inanimate object into which he can sink his teeth.
However, the urgency for dealing with such behavior is not just governed by personal property damage. Many of these chewers also end up in veterinary hospitals suffering from gastroenteritis or intestinal obstructions. As a result, such adverse activity can cost more than just replacement value of furniture or fixtures. It can even sometimes cost the life of a pet!
In puppies, destructive chewing can easily arise from lack of training and from inappropriate selection of toys. Although puppies are naturally going to explore their environment with their mouths, they need to learn at an early age what is and isn't acceptable to chew on. Solid command training is a must in these little ones.
Avoid providing normal household items such as old shoes, T-shirts, or sweatshirts as toys to play with. Puppies can't tell the difference between an old shoe and a new shoe, and they might decide to try out your new pair for a snack one afternoon!
Objects that repeatedly bear the brunt of your dog's teeth should be placed as far out of reach as possible. For furniture or immovable objects, special pet-safe repellents can be purchase that can be applied on or near these objects to make a mischievous puppy think twice before sinking his teeth into them.
In young to middle-aged adults, separation anxiety is probably the number one cause of destructive chewing. As with all cases of separation anxiety and the behavior it provokes, correction of the problem should focus on correction of the anxiety attack.
Finally, as with problem barking, boredom plays a leading role in destructive chewing in some adult dogs. If you think this might be the case, increase your dog's daily activity, and provide him with plenty of alternative targets, such as rawhides or nylon bones, on which to chew.