All dogs have an instinct to chew, and responsible pet owners will want to take care of their furry companion’s teeth, while encouraging the natural, healthy chewing process. However, navigating the array of dental hygiene products for dogs on the market can be a challenge because of the huge number of choices available.
Why do dogs chew?
Dogs are natural hunters and scavengers, and therefore in the wild, they would chew to break down their prey. However, domesticated dogs chew for a variety of different reasons, depending on their age, environment, and mental health.
Puppies and adolescent dogs may chew because of teething and the discomfort this brings, whereas other reasons could be things like boredom or distress. Further reading on the reasons why dogs chew can be found on the Blue Cross web page.
What are the benefits of chewing?
There are several health benefits of chewing, which include:
— A hormone release underpins the natural desire for dogs to chew. When dogs chew, they release both dopamine and serotonin chemicals, which both support balanced mental health and minimise stress.
— Chewing is a boredom buster, therefore providing focus and stimulation for the K9.
— Chewing can ease the pain of teething for puppies and adolescent dogs.
— The process of chewing keeps a dog’s teeth clean, as the saliva flushes the mouth and therefore helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
— Chewing will exercise the dog’s jaw, keeping the jaw and teeth strong.
What are the best chews for dogs?
Chews are available in two types: natural dog chews or man-made. There are many options on the market within both categories. However, the main considerations when choosing between the two types are as follows:
— Consider the digestibility of the selected chew. Most chews will eventually break down and the pooch will ingest some element, so ensure that the content is safe.
— Consider the additives of man-made chews. Some man-made chews contain glue, food colorings, sugar and other additives, which can upset the dog’s stomach.
To avoid such undesirable elements, choose natural dog chews that are rich in nutrients and do not contain potentially harmful additives. In addition to avoiding any preservatives, natural dog chews are often also sustainable and eco-friendly, too.
What other consequences should dog owners consider when selecting dog chews?
The first thing to consider is safety. Dogs should never be left unsupervised with anything that could be a potential choking hazard. The size of any dog chew should be checked to ensure that the dog can hold the chew with their paws and that it’s not too small so that it could be wholly ingested, causing a blockage.
Should high-calorie dog chews be provided, K9’s can gain weight and therefore their daily food intake would need to be adjusted to accommodate the chews.