Why do Dogs Chew?
Chewing is an inherent behavior in dogs, passed on from their ancestors who would spend hours chewing on bones. Giving your dog appropriate chew toys is a great way to add behavioral enrichment to their life. Chewing can help keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy, provide mental stimulation, and relieve stress and anxiety. Many dogs are different in how they chew, preferring certain materials or flavors. Some dogs chew and swallow, while some dogs chew and spit out the pieces. Do some research into what your dog prefers so that you can be sure you are providing them with toys they will enjoy chewing on, while keeping them safe.
There are many chew toy options for dogs. There are “inedible” chews, such as Nylabone and Kong. Stuffing a Kong with treats that cannot immediately fall out encourages chewing and provides great mental stimulation as they try to figure out how to get the treat. Inedible chews are typically safe for dogs when unsupervised, but monitor your dog at first to be sure. Some dogs can make anything edible, and those dogs should not be left alone with inedible chews, as they may pose a choking risk. Edible chews, such as bully sticks and rawhides, are a great way to keep your dog busy and happy. We have a wide variety of edible chews at TGDS. Rawhides can be controversial, so be sure to talk to your vet about appropriate chews and their opinion on which are best. Dogs should be monitored with edible chews, and should be given a relaxing environment to chew leisurely. Dogs that have a tendency to resource guard may eat chews quickly in the presence of other dogs, and be more likely to choke on big pieces. Raw marrow bones can also be a great choice of chew toy. You can pick them at your local butcher, and they will keep your dog busy for hours or even weeks as they work to get the marrow out. The hollowed bones continue to make great chew toys for months afterwards, and can even then be stuffed with treats and peanut butter. The marrow can be rich for dogs who aren’t used to it, and may cause an upset stomach, so be careful when you first give a marrow bone.
Whenever you buy a chew for you dog, make sure it is the appropriate size to prevent choking risk. Each dog will be different in how they use chews. Some will calmly chew for hours, while some will try to eat the chew whole right away. Always supervise your dog the first time with any chew item, and consult your veterinarian if you have question or concerns.