Our dogs need to chew- it is natural and they will find a way to occupy their jaws, whether it is on an approved bone, or your best shoes. Rather than having to throw away your umpteenth ruined pair of shoes or favorite bag, give your dog plenty of appropriate options to choose from instead.
While it is important for your dog to have several chews available to them, not all chews are created equal. Some are longer lasting than others, while some are not very good for your dog. Below is a list of common dog chews, and their pros and cons.
Rawhide: This is my first no-no on the list of chews to give your dog. First of all, rawhide is typically bleached, and there is no need for our dogs to ingest such chemicals. Secondly, rawhide is not actually digestible by our dogs and can be a choking hazard. There are many safe alternatives to rawhide that I will list below.
Cooked bones: Cooked bones, such as chicken bones, are another no-no for our dogs. They splinter easily and can severely perforate your dogs intestines if swallowed, leading to expensive vet bills.
Sterilized Bones: Sterilized bones, even hollow ones, if an appropriate size for your dog’s chewing level, are a great chew to have on hand. Hollow ones can be filled with treats or food and even frozen for a longer lasting snack. Depending on your dog’s chewing intensity, these bones are a nice long lasting chew. *These types of bones can splinter if your dog chews on them hard enough, so always supervise your dog with any chew.
Antlers: These fall off of elk, moose and deer naturally and are harvested from the woods rather than directly from the animal itself. The bone marrow that is in these chews is typically what our dogs go crazy for. Split antlers will have more of this exposed, so may interest dogs more, but also can be consumed more quickly. Depending on your dog’s chewing intensity, these can last a few weeks up to a few months. This is a great source of vitamins and minerals and can maintain good oral health.
Kongs (and other stuffable food toys): Kong is a brand of a durable rubber toy that can be stuffed with treats/food repeatedly and also frozen. It is a great way to keep young puppies busy in their crates and comes in three different strengths. A softer version for puppies, the red is a moderate strength for moderate chewers and the black is a harder rubber for intense chewers. Make sure to supervise your dog at first to make sure they do not attempt to destroy the Kong. If your dog is destroying the Kong, get the next strength up or even next size up so they cannot get their jaws around it enough to really bite down with their molars.
**Until you know your own dog’s chewing habits be sure to supervise your dog any time you give them a new chew and take away small or broken pieces so they cannot be swallowed.**