Why do dogs chew?
Dogs love to chew. It is a natural behavior and at different stages in their lives this is an essential part of their development. Chewing allows a dog to explore the world around them, exercise their jaw muscles, and can even help to keep their teeth clean. Chewing also engages a dog mentally and helps to alleviate boredom.
Puppies – when puppies are teething they will often show an increased need to chew. This is due to sore gums and to help their adult teeth coming through. Providing puppies with suitable objects, toys and chews can help to save unwanted attention directed towards furniture or household objects during this developmental stage.
Top Tip: To relieve sore gums (due to puppy teething) try popping a safe rubber toy, stuffed with a favorite treat, into the freezer to cool it down before giving it to your puppy.
How do I know if the chew is safe?
Before giving any toy or a chew to a dog, check that it is safe. Some breeds have exceptionally strong jaws and can manage to chew through most things! So try to match the toy or a chew to the age and breed of the dog. For example bull breeds will generally benefit from toys described as indestructible!
Some toys which are specifically designed to satisfy a dog’s natural desire to chew will come in a variety of age size and strength options. Puppies and senior dogs generally have more delicate teeth and jaws compared to adult dogs, so try to look for options to match your dog’ life stage; Puppy, junior, adult or senior. Alongside this, match the size of toy carefully to the dog to prevent choking hazards. Toys which can be stuffed with food items or treats can provide hours or entertainment and mental stimulation. It is always advisable to supervise your dog or puppy when introducing a new toy or treat.
When looking for natural chews for your dog take note of the list of ingredients. As a rule of thumb is the fewer number of ingredients listed the better. Try to avoid any brightly colored food items or chews, with added artificial additives or dyes. Cooked bones are not generally recommended due to the risk from sharp splinters and blockages if large chunks are swallowed. Cooked bones are more fragile and likely to shatter than raw bones.
Antlers, bones and hooves are popular choices of chews. These however should be used with caution and always under supervision. They are natural and long lasting but it’s best to check your dog’s teeth are in good condition before giving one to your dog for the first time as antlers in particular are exceptionally hard and somewhat unforgiving and can result in a broken tooth. Also check that your dog doesn’t bite off and swallow any large pieces which could end up causing a blockage.
There are numerous natural dental chews available on that market. These can help to reduce the tartar build up on teeth but do not replace regular check-ups and its worth remembering that some can be high in calories.
We all like to spoil our dogs but it’s worth remembering that there is no ‘one chew fits all’ when it comes to giving your dog a chew stick or toy.Always supervise your dog when giving them a chew stick or toy.
Always supervise your dog when giving them a chew stick or toy.
If in doubt, remember to call our MPB vet line support that is available to all our premium members 24/7/365 days