All dogs chew. It’s a primal instinct and necessary for their overall health. If dogs aren’t given something appropriate to chew, well, they’ll find their own… and it’s not usually something you want your doggo to chew (think: shoes, couch cushions, drywall).
While we know that all dogs need to chew, specific chewing needs differ from dog to dog. For example, their degrees of jaw strength differ (pug vs. German shepherd) and their capacity to enjoy different chews differ (puppy vs. senior).
Even more importantly, though, all dogs need a variety of different kinds of chews to meet different needs. It might look to us like chewing is chewing. But to our dogs, chewing stimulates their mind, requires problem solving, gives their jaw and neck muscles a solid workout, and keeps their teeth and gums clean.
Chew on this (sorry): Different types of chews meet your dog’s different needs, so the best bet is to stock up on ‘em all and rotate. It’ll keep your dog happy and healthy… while keeping your shoes intact!
A bored dog can come up with some pretty creative ways to stay occupied. Often, those creative outlets wreak havoc or, at the very least, make a big mess. We’re away from home for long stretches each day, usually leaving our pups to their own devices. If they’re not well-exercised and well-stimulated, you might be coming home to find a surprise or two! (I know a puppy who chewed through the entire frame around the sliding back door just to get outside…)
Appropriate chews that challenge your pup can burn off energy and ensure your pup is more likely to sleep while you're away. They key is to find a chew that lasts a long time and poses a bit of a challenge. A horn core is a perfect example of a tough chew that’ll keep your dog busy and keep his brain engaged--score!
Dogs’ jaws and neck muscles need to stay in tip-top shape. A solid chew keeps them working out those muscles. Even though our domestic dogs aren’t tracking down and killing prey to fulfill their nutritional needs, those muscles are hardwired into their anatomy. Just like we humans might not be migrating on foot to forage for food anymore, our bodies are just better and we’re generally happier if we’re in healthy shape.
To keep your dog physically engaged, provide a combination of tough chews like the horn core and chews with different textures like bully sticks or crunchy ears. Bonus: The different materials will keep their brains engaged to fulfill that mental need, too.
If you’re one of the approximate seven percent of dog owners who brush their dog’s teeth daily, well, good for you! You can skip this part and pat yourself on the back!
As for the rest of us, chews help keep your dog’s teeth clean and his gums healthy. You can’t beat the scraping power of a chew like a trachea tube. Plus, a range of chew sizes and textures--like, a bully stick one day, a crunchy ear the next, a trachea the day after that, and so on--makes sure you hit on a variety of different scraping and cleaning actions. Just keep an eye on your dog’s gums; excessive blood might warrant a trip to the vet.
The combo of textures and scraping actions keep your dog entertained, their jaw worked out, and their teeth clean. Chews for the win-win-win!
*image by @marzipanthefrenchie