Every dog parent is aware of a universal truth about dogs – they chew. Be it puppies, adult dogs or senior dogs, chewing is a habit common to all breeds and ages of dogs. They’ll be chewing often throughout the day, however, some dogs are heavy chewers while others aren’t. Moreover, how much they chew also varies according to age, breed, size, and other things.
Chewing In Dogs – A Natural Habit
Being from the wolf family, chewing is a natural instinct for dogs. In the wild, chewing on bones gives a much-needed boost to the young members of the wolf family. This is why puppies feel a stronger need to chew than adult dogs. This natural behavior shouldn’t be punished or discouraged, but rather channelized well.
Why Do Dogs Chew
Puppies mostly chew to explore the world around them and also to ease their teething pain. Adult dogs chew for several reasons though.
- Puppies can chew to ease their teething pain.
- An active dog with a lot of energy and nothing to do will inevitably turn towards chewing to counter boredom.
- An anxious dog can use chewing as a means to relieve stress.
- A dog can also chew from separation anxiety or out of fear for thunder, firecrackers, etc.
- A dog can chew anything in front of you to attract your attention.
- Chewing is definitely a fun activity.
Chewing can be both constructive as well as destructive in dogs. If not managed properly, dogs can get into a destructive chewing habit where they mouth, nibble and gnaw at whatever they lay their eyes on. When we think about chewing in dogs, we mostly think about inappropriate chewing. However, chewing can also be beneficial for various reasons. Providing dogs with appropriate items such as long-lasting dog chews can help them get into a habit of constructive chewing.
The Benefits of Long-Lasting Dog Chews For Dogs
Many vets recommend several dog dental chews for dogs to foster chewing. In fact, they’re advantageous for several reasons:
Dogs generally need regular brushing, otherwise, there can be plaque and tartar build-up in their teeth. Plaque is basically bits of food that get stuck in the teeth and get mixed with saliva. If not removed, then it can combine with the minerals in the saliva and form tartar, which is difficult to remove with regular brushing. They can also lead to gum diseases and loss of teeth. Some gum diseases can cause bacteria to enter the dog’s body and affect the heart and kidneys.
Chewing has a beneficial effect on your dog’s dental health. Plaque and tartar deposits are quite common in dog teeth. They can not only cause bad breath or halitosis but also increase the chances of dental problems. Chewing on dental treats can help in scraping away the plaque and tartar buildup that can grow over a period of time in their teeth. This helps reduce the risk of periodontal diseases, yellowing of teeth, and the acidity in your dog’s mouth, a prime cause for gingivitis.
Dogs need greater amounts of mental stimulation as compared to physical exercise. Chewing is a great activity in this respect since it helps to keep both your dog’s mind and body occupied. Giving your dog dental treats help them utilize their brain power and concentration in chewing which keeps them stimulated. It also helps them keep them off wooden furniture and shoes, thereby reducing destructive chewing. For example, some long-lasting dog chews can help in engaging your dog for a long period of time.
Dogs can get bored pretty easily. Boredom is often the reason which makes dogs chew everything they see in front of them. Sometimes being alone at home with nothing to do can induce boredom in them. You can keep them busy by offering them dog chews, which are especially good for older dogs who are not that active.
Puppies generally start losing their baby teeth at around the age of 12 weeks. During this period, their gums may get red, swollen, and irritated. To ease the discomfort of teething, puppies generally try to chew anything they lay their eyes on. In this case, too, dental treats can help in relieving the teething pain by making them chew.
Keep Your Dog Away From Rawhides
Rawhides are a common option while choosing dog chews. However, they are extremely dangerous for your dog. Rawhides are basically chews made from the inner skin or hide of animals such as cows, sheep, and other livestock. Being by-products of the leather industry, they are processed in an unhealthy way. They are first sent to the tanneries where they are processed with chemicals and treated with an ash-lye solution or sodium sulfide liming. They are then chemically purified with a hydrogen peroxide solution or bleach. Finally, they are painted with dyes or flavors (titanium oxide) and subsequently, glues which contain lead, arsenic, and formaldehyde.
Rawhides pose severe health risks for dogs:
- Contamination – Being laced with toxic chemicals increases chances of Salmonella or E.coli contamination. In the case of human contact, it can pose a risk for them too.
- Irritation – For dogs who are allergic to rawhides, they can cause diarrhea and digestive problems.
- Choking – The most dangerous risk of rawhides is choking. If your dog swallows a piece of rawhide by mistake, it can get stuck in the esophagus and can even lead to death in some cases.
As a parent, you should always promote chewing in dogs. While choosing the right dental chews, it’s important to get the right size, consistency, and flavor for your pet. In the long run, it will inculcate a healthy habit of chewing in your dog.