When it comes to chewing, it’s very important for any dog’s oral as well as mental health. It helps in keeping his canines clean, his jaw and body exercised and most importantly his mind occupied. Having a chew toy handy for your dog prevents him from chewing on inappropriate objects and also prevents various behavioral problems. A long lasting chew for a dog helps him keep busy for long hours. A dog that has chewed for 30 minutes or more is happy, content, busy and more likely to take a nap than steal your precious wallet for chewing purposes. However, everything it puts in his mouth might be potential threat to his health. He could choke, break teeth, develop allergies or infection, and have indigestion issues and many other things that we haven’t even thought of. Despite all these risks involved, allowing your dog to chew variety of chews is a natural behavior and will allow him to engage. In fact, not providing your dog with variety of chews may result in him finding his own chew like shoes, sticks, furniture etc.
For the dogs that love to chew, you can opt for less tasty chews but with pickier dogs, it gets tricky. You will have to give them tastier chews.
The selection process:
With regard to the consistency of the product – its density or hardness – you need to consider the health of your dog’s teeth and gums.
You’ll have to look keenly for the ingredients in the chew or bone that you are giving your dog, is it providing any sort of nutrient to your mutt? Does it have additives that could pose a threat to your dog? For example, some bones are naturally high in fat content, so you wouldn’t want to offer those bones to your dog.
There are some really bad dog treats and jerky products on the market, and some really good ones. But don’t assume your pet is getting any teeth-cleaning benefit from eating jerky-type treats. Just as, for example, crunchy granola doesn’t clean your teeth, crunchy dog treats don’t clean your pet’s teeth.
Gnawing and repetitive grinding are the chewing actions that wear down plaque and tartar on teeth, which means big recreational bones or chews that are meant to be worked on by your dog over a period of time, that’s where long lasting chews come for the rescue. Smaller treats that are chewed and swallowed in a matter of seconds or minutes provide no dental benefit for your pet. So there’s a big difference between treats that your dog chews and swallows almost immediately, and big bones or chews that require effort and can help control plaque and tartar in your pet’s mouth.
Most importantly, you need to match the size of the bone or chew with the personality, size and health of your dog. Don’t assume the bone or chew your neighbor feeds his dog, or the one you fed your last dog, will also work for your current pet. Small dogs may handle smaller chews just fine. Or not.
1. Bones for Dogs Who Are ‘Scarfers’
Some small dogs, and many large dogs, are scarfers. If your pet tends to scarf down every chew he’s offered, you’ll need to be cautious about any size bone or chew you feed him, because there’s a chance it could end up in his stomach whole. Or he may attempt to swallow it whole and fail, which can be just as disastrous. A scarfer’s primary objective isn’t to chew or gnaw, but to get the item into his stomach as soon as possible. So safety tip for all sized scarfers is, go big. Whether your scarfer is a Labrador or a Yorkie, if you offer a recreational bone larger than the size of his head, it makes it nearly impossible for him to scarf. So that’s an important tip to remember.
2. Bones for Aggressive Chewers
Next on the list of potential problems involves the aggressive chewer. These dogs have one mission — to finish the bone! Aggressive chewers want to consume the thing in its entirety, as soon as possible, hence long lasting chews are a good option. The problem many aggressive chewers develop is fractured teeth. They think nothing of creating multiple slab fractures in their mission to break the bone down as quickly as possible. These dogs get hold of a bone and chew like mad, fracturing or wearing down their teeth very quickly. They shouldn’t be given really hard bones like antlers. Offering rock hard bones to hard chewers can create really significant dental trauma. They also shouldn’t be given narrow bones that fit nicely into their mouths, allowing them to apply a strong vertical bite force. In their passion for chewing, they could create a lot of dental damage.