An owner realizing their dog is chewing on their shoes.

Why Do Dogs Chew Shoes?

Dogs are naturally curious animals who love to explore and investigate anything they can get their teeth on. As such, it is no surprise that one of the things dogs may chew on in the house is shoes. Whether it’s your favorite pair of sneakers or grandma’s old slippers, a dog can have a lot of fun (and make quite a mess) digging their teeth into your footwear. But why do dogs chew shoes anyway?

Dogs chew shoes for a variety of reasons, including seeking attention, teething, lack of exercise or stimulation, compulsive behaviors due to boredom and anxiety, and even medical conditions. It’s important to understand why your dog is chewing on your shoes in order to find the best solution for them.

Six Reasons Why Dogs Chew Shoes

A closeup of a dog chewing on a boot.
That’s one tough chew.

Dogs may chew shoes due to underlying behavioral issues that can be addressed with proper training. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of this problem.

Attention Seeking

Dogs that are left alone for extended periods may become bored and frustrated, leading them to seek out attention in any way possible. Chewing on shoes is one of the most common ways a dog will try to get its owner’s attention.


Just like human babies, puppies also go through a teething phase when they are young. During this time, dogs may find comfort in chewing on shoes or other items as it helps to soothe their gums.

Lack Of Exercise Or Stimulation

Dogs need a certain amount of physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. If this is lacking, they may turn to shoe chewing as a way to relieve stress or get some entertainment.

Compulsive Behavior

In some cases, shoe chewing might be the result of a compulsive behavioral issue. Dogs that have been deprived of appropriate exercise or stimulation may develop compulsive behaviors such as chewing on shoes to make up for the lack of activity.

Anxiety Or Stress

Much like humans, dogs can also become anxious or stressed out in certain situations. Chewing on shoes is a common way for them to cope with this emotion by providing comfort and distraction from the situation.

Medical Conditions

In rare cases, shoe chewing may be related to an underlying medical issue such as an allergy or digestive problem. If your dog is exhibiting this behavior, it’s important to consult a veterinarian to rule out any potential health issues.

Are There Any Risks Associated With A Dog Chewing On Shoes?

Chewing is a normal behavior for dogs, but it can cause problems when they target the wrong objects, such as shoes. While chewing on shoes is not necessarily dangerous for your dog, there are still some risks associated with this behavior that pet owners should be aware of.

Digestive Issues

Dogs can swallow pieces of the shoe’s material which can cause serious digestive problems if not addressed right away. In addition, some shoe materials may contain toxic chemicals, dyes, or glues that are harmful to a dog’s health.

Safety Risks

Chewing on shoes can also cause choking hazards if the shoe has any pieces that could be swallowed or inhaled by the dog. It’s important to keep an eye on your pup during playtime and make sure that they are not chewing on any non-edible items.

Injury To A Dog’s Mouth And Teeth

Chewing on shoes can also cause injury to a dog’s mouth and teeth, including scrapes, cuts, and broken teeth. It is important to inspect your dog’s mouth for any signs of damage after they are done chewing on their toys or shoes.

How Can You Prevent Your Dogs From Chewing Shoes?

Owners of dogs who engage in shoe-chewing behavior can take action to address the issue. Implementing a few steps and being consistent with their application is key to curbing these behaviors.

Provide Chewing Toys

Providing your pup with plenty of chew toys that are specifically designed for dogs is a great way to keep them occupied and entertained. When selecting toys, it’s a good idea to look for ones that are durable and made of non-toxic materials.

Training And Modification Techniques

Behavioral modification, such as positive reinforcement and reward-based training, can help your pup learn which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Additionally, teaching basic commands such as sit, stay, and leave will also help reinforce good behaviors.

Alternate Activities

Engaging your pup in other activities, such as walking, playing fetch, or running, can help displace their need to chew on items that are not meant for them.

Professional Help

If the issue persists despite trying these techniques, seeking professional help from a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or dog trainer may be necessary. They will be able to assess the underlying cause of your pup’s shoe-chewing behavior and provide guidance on how to address it.

In Conclusion: Why Do Dogs Chew Shoes?

Dogs may chew shoes due to boredom, anxiety, or medical conditions. To prevent this behavior, pet owners should provide appropriate toys and reward-based training. If the problem persists, professional help may be needed. With patience and consistency, shoe-chewing can be addressed successfully. By taking proper precautions, pet owners can ensure their pup’s safety and well-being.

Have you ever encountered this problem with your dog? How did you address it? Let us know in the comments below! 

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal is a licensed veterinarian with more than 5 years of experience in veterinary medicine. After receiving his DVM degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, he worked as a veterinarian in both government and private sectors. Dr. Mohsin specializes in small animal medicine and surgery and has experience treating all types of animals including dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. He has a passion for pets and has written several eBooks on pet care and surgery. In addition to his clinical work, he also volunteers his time for various animal rescue organizations and helps care for injured and abandoned animals.