First, why do dogs chew? According to the ASPCA, “it is normal for puppies and adult dogs to chew on objects as they explore their world. Chewing accomplishes several things for a dog. For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. For older dogs, it’s nature’s way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can relive mild anxiety or frustration.”
Dogs love to chew on bones, sticks and just about anything else available. Sometimes dogs will direct their chewing toward inappropriate items, like your rug or couch. All dogs, regardless of age should have a variety of acceptable things or toys to chew on.
Pay attention to what type of chews your dog prefers. Rotate different chews every few days to keep your dog interested. How healthy your dog’s teeth and gums are, her age and size will help determine what type and size chew you offer. As your dog ages, his teeth and gums become more sensitive. But he will still want to chew, so make sure his chews are a bit softer or have more give to them to keep him satisfied and not hurt his teeth.
It is a good idea to start with a chew that is a bit big for your dog’s mouth. This way as it gets smaller, it will still be a safe size for your dog. Make sure to replace them when they get small enough for the whole chew to get inside your dog’s mouth. No swallowing allowed!
It is a fine balance between allowing your dog to satisfy his desire to chew and safety. Anything you offer your dog to chew can become a problem, from swallowing pieces of sticks she picked up in the yard, to rawhide, (grown and processed in the USA only, of course) to processed vegetable products and the natural chews like hooves, bones and antlers. Only let your dog chew when you are around, if there is going to be any kind of problem, you will be right there to attend. Pick up the chews when you are not going to be in attendance. Replace the chews when they get small enough for the dog to swallow.
As with everything in the pet industry, natural products are leading the way in the chew category of products. The most popular are bones, hooves, sheep horns and antlers. Antlers are the most natural and the most kind. The moose, elk or deer shed their antlers each year, so no animals were killed to harvest the antler chews. They are cut into different sizes depending on your dog’s needs. It seems obvious, but don’t get one with the points still on them. You don’t want that point to end up down your dog’s throat or in his eye. You can buy them split in half, which gives the dog easier access to the marrow, but these are more apt to splinter. Antlers also have the advantage of providing naturally occurring minerals. We are proud to offer Elk Antlers in size XL and XXL Antlers.
So, offer your dog, of any age, all natural, appropriate size and hardness, unprocessed chews, rotate them every few days, only when you are in attendance and your dog will be more likely to have good mouth health, be well adjusted and happy!