How to patch and fix dog chew holes in leather furniture?

Like a good bone, dogs can’t resist chewing on fine leather furniture. The damage wrought from Scooby’s snacking often results in a large hole — one that is too big for the normal fabric subpatch and leather filler. Holes larger than 2 in (5 cm) in diameter are best patched with a similar-grained leather. This minimizes the amount of filler needed and results in a more flexible repair. This video demonstrates:

  • 00:42 – Foam Reconstruction
  • 02:30 – Sub-patching
  • 06:27 – Sewing
  • 07:42 – More Foam
  • 10:17 – More Sewing
  • 10:36 – Sewing Recap & Tips for Anchoring Around Buttons
  • 11:54 – Glueing

The buttons and curves on the tufted chaise shown in the video made for an unusual and very challenging repair. Only a subpatch could be used.

Most dog chew damage, however, is a little more straightforward on a cushion or arm. For these, we recommend subpatching with fabric and then glueing a top patch of leather to it, as per these instructions:

  1. If necessary, repair any damage to the substrate foam by plugging in a new piece (or as few pieces as possible). Buy heavy-duty upholstery foam from an upholstery or fabric supply. Don’t be afraid to cut away more of the original foam; this may make plugging another piece easier. Be patient in sculpting the new foam to fit the hole. The subpatch and repair will hide minor variations, but the foam plug should be level and smooth. Use a non-toxic fabric glue to adhere the new foam to the original (the glue we sell in our subpatch kit has a solvent which will melt the foam and cannot be used). You can also do a couple large whip stitches with thread if that’s easier, but take care to avoid tearing through the foam.
  2. Prepare and insert your subpatch. Don’t be afraid to trim any stiff or curled-back edges of the leather. You want everything to glue down easily and evenly. Cut a piece of twill or thin denim that’s at least an inch larger than the perimeter of the hole. Lay the patch on top of the hole. If there are curves (top to bottom, side to side) where the patch puckers or wrinkles, cut out little triangles so the patch can lay flat without overlapping. Round any corners for easier insertion. Then insert the patch underneath the leather, and glue down with a strong, flexible fabric glue (the glue in our subpatch kit is perfect).
  3. Prepare and apply your top-patch. If you don’t have excess of the original material, buy some leather or vinyl (PVC) with a similar thickness, grain, and if possible, color. Do not use polyurethane or polyester faux leather. Top patches can be purchased in our catalog. Cut the patch to fit inside the hole, minimizing the gap between the original material and your top-patch. It is better for the patch to be too small, rather than to overlap the original material. Rounded corners will glue down better than pointy ones. Use the same fabric glue to adhere the top-patch to the subpatch. Work in small sections if necessary until the entire perimeter of the hole is secure.
  4. If repairing a hole around tufting and buttons, anchor the patches to each other and / or the button, so they will withstand stress. Use heavy-duty upholstery thread, a curved needle, and needle-nose pliers as demonstrated in the video above.
  5. Repair the remaining gaps with leather filler. Ensure your glue has completely dried before embarking on this step. See how to use our Soft Filler in this video.
  6. Apply a water-based finish to conceal the repair. Learn how to match color or change color.

Buy Repair Products

Type of Damage Total Area of Damage Filler Needed
Chafed, scaly, cracked but no cuts or holesone coat on 4 sq ft (or four coats on 1 sq ft)1 oz.
Chafed, scaly, cracked but no cuts or holesone coat on 8 sq ft (or four coats on 2 sq ft)2 oz.
Holes or tears (requires a subpatch & more coats of filler)12 sq inches (1 in x 1 ft cut, for example)1 oz.
Holes or tears (requires a subpatch & more coats of filler)24 sq inches (two 1 in x 1 ft cuts, for example)2 oz.


    • You’re on the page with the instructions.
      Details about using the filler are linked in the video and each order of filler comes with written instructions.

      • I live in StGeorge Which is close to Brantford Ont.

        Could I get some one to come to the house to repair a hole in a couch.
        Or is there someone close to where we live?

        • Google “leather and vinyl repair St. George Utah”. Or call the best body shop or upholsterer in the area and ask whom they use.


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