Chewing is not only a natural activity for your dog, it is an important and beneficial one that affects their oral and mental health. Chewing for thirty minutes each and every day can help to keep a dog’s teeth clean, their body exercised and their mind stimulated. However, dogs that are not provided with proper chew toys may begin chewing inappropriate objects instead, like shoes, sticks, rocks, or furniture, for which they are punished. It’s important to provide them with healthy, safe options so that they can undertake this normal and healthful activity, without causing problems in the home.
Choosing Your Dog’s Chew Toys
Most dog owners understand the importance of providing chew toys for their canine companion, but very few may recognize the fact that this should be a more detailed and thoughtful process than simply walking down the toy aisle at the pet store and picking the toys that are the most visually appealing. Every single thing your dog puts in their mouth has the potential to do them harm, even those items that are specifically designated as dog chew toys, so it is important to be very selective. Depending on their size, breed and health, dogs should avoid certain chew toys that can cause them to break a tooth, choke, experience an allergic reaction, have trouble with digestion or perhaps even get an infection. That said, there are so many benefits for providing dogs with chew toys that one should simply learn how to best mitigate the potential risks and select the best options.
Some dogs love to chew anything, and they therefore do not require particularly tasty chews. Owners can simply choose the chew toys that they feel are safest and most beneficial to their dog. However, other dogs are extremely picky, and will only chew on those things that they find to be tasty, and this will obviously have to be considered when choosing specific chew toys for these dogs. Following are some of the best types of dog chews, and what should be considered when selecting them:
Bully sticks are natural and tasty treats for dogs. They have a good nutritional value and can last thirty minutes or longer, depending on the dog and the frequency and aggressiveness with which they chew. Some concerns about their use include the fact that dogs sometimes choke on the end pieces, bully sticks are open to possible bacterial contamination, and some may be chemically treated by the manufacturer.
Himalayan dog chews are very hard cheese chews that have a high nutritional value and can last thirty minutes or longer, depending on the dog. Some concerns about their use include the fact that dogs may break a tooth or choke on a small piece.
Antler chews are cut up deer antlers, they are natural and they have a high nutritional value. These chews can last for many weeks as dogs slowly chew on them. Some concerns about their use include the fact that dogs may break a tooth, choke on a small piece or be exposed to possible bacterial contamination.
Rubber chews are natural and can last for many months, though they aren’t necessarily tasty for those dogs who are picky. Some concerns about their use include the fact that dogs may choke on a small piece, pieces that are swallowed are usually not easily digested, and many dogs won’t even consider them unless they have a food or treat inside. They also aren’t much help for cleaning teeth as they normally have smooth surfaces.
Yam chews are natural and full of nutritional value, but they often only last a few minutes for most dogs. Some concerns about their use include the fact that dogs may choke on small pieces and they function more like treats than actual chews.
Beams fish skin chews are natural, tasty and healthy treats that may occasionally act as a chew for pickier dogs. Some concerns about their use include the fact that they are high in calories and often eaten quickly, negating their purpose as a chew.
Rawhide bones are usually a thick layer of skin from cattle that is wrapped into a bone shape and can take thirty minutes or longer to chew up. Some concerns about their use include the fact that rawhides are often chemically processed, open to possible bacterial contamination, can be choked on and are not easily digested.
Pig ears are usually quickly consumed by avid chewers, but may be consumed more slowly by picky dogs. Some concerns about their use include the fact that they can cause choking problems and are open to possible bacterial contamination.
Nylon chews are made of hard nylon and can often last indefinitely, unless a dog is a real power chewer. Some concerns about their use include the fact that they are not easily digested, they can break a tooth, small pieces can be choked on, they are not natural and they have no nutritional value.
When considering the proper chew toys for your dog, you can also consult with your veterinarian to determine what may be best suited for their nutritional and chewing needs. No matter which chew you end up selecting, it is wise to supervise your dog’s chewing activities, looking for possible risks and eliminating them as much as possible when they arise.