Dogs of all ages love to get stuck into a tasty treat. Chewing is an instinctive behavior that keeps teeth clean and healthy, relieves boredom and stress, and develops strong neck and jaw muscles. But, with a bewildering range of dog chews available, picking up the right chew for your dog can be confusing, so here are some tips to help you choose the best type of chew for your pooch.
Chews for Puppies
Puppies love to explore their world with their mouths and will pick up and chew on pretty much anything, especially when they’re teething.
To encourage your pup to leave your expensive shoes alone and stick with the chews you give him, make sure that you provide chews with a good texture and flavor. Raw knuckle bones, bully sticks and rib bones are all good choices that your little guy will love.
When your puppy begins teething, a nice, cold chew will provide cooling relief from pain. A rope toy soaked in water, then frozen, makes the perfect puppy chew in this situation.
Chews for Heavy Chewers
If your dog is a heavy chewer, you need heavy duty chews to keep him satisfied. Thick walled, weight bearing bones, either raw, slow cooked especially for pets, or smoked, will give your dog something to get his teeth into.
Antlers are an increasingly popular alternative to bones. They’re ultra hard and they’re also the longest lasting, natural chew on the market. But are antlers safe for dogs? Yes, as long as you choose the right type.
Most antlers from deer are uniformly hard throughout, which increases the risk of tooth splintering. Elk antlers on the other hand have a less dense, slighter softer interior which makes them a very safe choice for a heavy duty chew.
Because antlers and bones are so durable, they can dry out and lose their flavor. To revive the chews and keep your dog interested, soak bones and antlers in chicken broth for a few hours, or coat them in a layer of coconut oil. Most dogs love coconut oil and it’s really good for them too.
Chews for Senior Dogs
Older dogs, while not such voracious chewers as puppies, still get a great deal of enjoyment from a good chew session, and chewing is really important for this age group to keep dental problems at bay.
But often, their teeth aren’t up to the task and could break on harder chews. To avoid the distress and the cost of doggie dental work, make sure you choose softer materials for your pal to chew on. Fish skin chews, tendons, raw knuckle bones, raw turkey necks, and dried sweet potatoes are all great choices for older dogs.
Chews to Avoid
It can be tempting to give your dog leftover bones from dinner, but letting your pet loose on a roast chicken carcass or pork roast bone isn’t a good idea. Cooked bones can splinter and cause internal damage.
Giving your dog appropriate chews keeps him happy and healthy, and because he’ll be busy with his tasty treat, he won’t ruin your furniture or your shoes and get himself in trouble.