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How To Stop A Dog Chewing The Door Frame When Left Alone

dog chewing door frame when left alone

If you’re googling “dog chewing door frame when left alone,” you are one of many pet parents to suffer the consequences of a little doggy vandalism. Destructive chewing is a common problem. But when it’s targeted at door and window frames, it’s more likely to be a behavior issue than the typical puppy chewing during teething.

Nevertheless, dogs chewing door frames can make a bit of an unsightly mess. This is particularly a problem if you rent your home and don’t want to lose your deposit. So let’s look at why dogs can destroy door frames, what to do to stop it, and how to fix it so no one will be any the wiser.

Why Is My Dog Chewing On The Door Frame When They Are Left Alone?

The tendency to chew on a door’s wooden trim often involves your dog asking to go outside. They may start scratching the door, then digging at the bottom, and finally, chewing on the door edges.

However, if a dog damages a door when left alone, it is almost always because of separation anxiety. A well-behaved adult dog suddenly destructive when left alone is what differentiates separation anxiety from other behavior problems.

Symptoms are varied and can include howling, defecating indoors, destructive chewing, and more. But one common symptom is digging or chewing at exit points around the house, such as doorways and windows, to try to escape and find their pet parent.

Of course, chewing is a common enough issue, which is why anti chewing spray for dogs exists. Other reasons a dog could chew on the door frame may be stress from a recent move, a new addition to the family, loud noises, and triggers that cause a dog to try to escape.

Dogs who want to leave the house to go to the park or hear their friends playing outside may also target the wooden trim around the door to vent their frustration. It’s also not uncommon in bored dogs or dogs that don’t get enough exercise.

The same can happen if a dog wants to go outside to potty but can’t get your attention.

Puppies are notorious chewers; they can find relief gnawing on the wood of your door trim when they are teething. If this is your problem, see our article “When Do Puppies Stop Chewing Everything?

But once chewing on the doorframe has started, stopping it can be hard. So, let’s look at how to stop a dog from chewing on wood trim.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing On The Door Frame?

Address behavior issues

If your dog is destroying the trim on your door because they are frantic when left alone, you must address the separation anxiety.

In short, you will need to start behavior modification to help your dog feel less attached to you and more capable of being on their own, as well as stepping up the amount of exercise they get.

Unfortunately, curing dog separation anxiety quickly is not possible. But it can happen with dedication and persistence.

If your dog damages your door during storms or other loud noises, it may be noise phobia. So you must take steps to calm them during storms and holidays. Carefully rule out any other sources of stress and anxiety that may be causing your dog to want to escape.

Step up Exercise

Bored dogs are problem dogs. For most destructive chewing issues, giving your dog more exercise and stimulation will go a long way in reducing unwanted behavior.

Apply Spray To Keep Dogs From Chewing

When it comes to chewing problems, your best option is always a specially formulated natural bitter spray that you can apply to the door frame. Many people use a DIY home remedy to stop dogs from chewing wood, but since wood is porous, one should be careful.

Acids such as vinegar and other cupboard options may damage the wood. A spray with a natural bittering agent is better at repelling dogs and protects the wood.

Block Your Dog’s Access

Controlling your dog’s environment is an excellent way to keep them out of trouble. You can keep your dog away from the door frame and trim by:

  • Using a crate
  • Using baby gates to block access
  • Or attaching a door frame protector.

Scratch-proof doorframe protectors can keep most dogs from scratching the door or chewing on the trim.

But if your dog is chewing on the door frame because they are determined to escape, you may have issues crating them. See our article on what to do when dogs break crates when left alone.

Teach Your Dog To Chew On Appropriate Items

Chewing is natural for dogs, so it’s no good trying to stop them from doing it. The trick to how to stop a dog from

chewing on wood trim is to redirect them toward appropriate chew toys from a young age.

If you see your puppy chewing on something inappropriate, be it a door frame or your favorite shoes, redirect them to dog chews so they can learn to relieve the urge without damaging property.

Install A Doggy Door

If you have a yard, and your dog is chewing on the frame because they want to go outside, install a doggy door for easy access. However, only do this if your yard is secure.

How To Fix A Door Frame Your Dog Has Chewed On

So how to fix trim chewed by a dog? let’s go over the steps.

  1. Ensure your dog can’t reach the door anymore and that you have taken the steps above to prevent damage to your door in the future. It’s going to be extra frustrating fixing the trim and only having to do it again in a week.
  2. Take note of where your dog has chewed and assess the level of the damage. In severe cases, if your dog has chewed most of the outer trim, you may be better off replacing it if the gouges aren’t too deep and closer to the jamb (where the door slots in), it’s fixable.
  3. Use sandpaper to smooth out the area. Aim to get it level.
  4. Use filler to fill out the deeper hollows where your dog has scraped out the wood. Even the filler out with a spackle knife.
  5. Sandpaper the filler until it is smooth after it has dried.
  6. Prime the area and paint the trim to hide the filler. You may need to paint the entire door frame or trim to ensure it’s all the same shade.

Replacing a door frame your dog has chewed on

If you can sandpaper, fill, and paint the trim your dog damaged, then you’ll need to replace it.

  1. Avoid damaging the paint on the walls by marking the spot where the casing meets the wall and the door frame with a razor.
  2. Gently remove the damaged casing with a crowbar.
  3. Take the section of the frame casing to your local hardware store to find a match.
  4. Use a saw to cut a new piece of casing. Measure twice to ensure it fits the section you want to replace.
  5. Nail the casing in place every two feet. Spackle over the nails.
  6. Apply caulk to the door frame and along the joint. Wipe away any excess.
  7. When the caulk has dried, paint the frame to match.

The key is to remember that its relatively to fix a damaged door frame yourself, and you likely won’t need a professional to do it.

Do not punish your dog for chewing on the trim. Remember, this is a fixable issue. Punishing a dog chewing out of boredom or anxiety will not fix the root cause of the problem, but it will strain your relationship with your dog. It can destroy their trust in you and exacerbate problem behaviors.

Remember, our dogs can’t reason the way we do. When taking on our pets, we need to accept that they aren’t tiny humans in fur coats. Sometimes they will do what comes naturally to them, and it’s part of our responsibility to them channel these instincts appropriately.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are not always convenient pets, and from time to time, we may suffer a little property damage from chewing, digging, or scratching. A common issue is dogs chewing on the wooden trim in doorways, especially if they are left alone and have anxiety.

Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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