Why Do Dogs Chew on Things?

As an animal communicator, I get this question on a regular basis:

Q:  My dog chews on things. It seems almost neurotic.

She is showing me an image of her tearing up a T-shirt. Her primary emotions when she does that are anxiety and worry, but there is also an element of pleasure in it. (For a dog, chewing and licking can release endorphins.) She knows that the clothes aren’t toys, but the clothes and the flip-flops carry your scent, so that increases her feelings of safety and security as she chews. 

Here’s another example from a different dog. This one came through as verbal/auditory information rather than simple knowing: 

I love to chew on paper! I love it best when it’s rolled up and has been sitting in the driveway for a few days. The smell isn’t so sharp then, and the pages are soft and pliable so they don’t stick to my gums or the roof of my mouth. I love the way the softened roll of paper gets squishy and bubbly. The more I chew, the squishier it gets. It makes me so happy to mash the paper between my teeth and feel it expand in my mouth. I don’t swallow it. But I like to chew it until there’s nothing left to swallow. I get a sense of satisfaction from reducing the rolled-up paper into a pulpy mess on the concrete.

I loved this explanation of why a dog likes to chew so much that I used it in my romance novel, Warm Nights in Magnolia Bay. For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s a contemporary romance set in a small town on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. One of the main characters is an animal communicator, and several of the scenes are written from the dogs’ point of view. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I hope you will! 

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