It’s no secret that dogs love to chew; it’s in their primal instinct to nibble, gnaw, and crunch. Our four-legged family members chew for many reasons, and as dog parents, it is a must to provide the right chew for the task, so they are not tempted to indulge in that new pair of shoes or the sofa leg you’ve already replaced.
Let’s Start By Diving Into The Reasons Why Dogs Chew:
Instinct – As we mentioned earlier, dogs are behaviorally hardwired to chew as a survival need in the wild. Even after thousands of years of domestication, our pups still have the natural urge to chew. Additionally, chewing is a best-practice exercise for developing jaw muscles, allowing them to chew harder objects as they enter adulthood.
Teething – When puppies shed their milk teeth, their adult teeth begin to come through. Chewing relieves pressure and tenderness on their teeth and gums. During this time, puppies learn a lot about the world around them by how things feel. Given that dogs do most of their “feeling around” with their mouths, this is an important stage to introduce healthy chewing outlets and correct any destructive chewing behavior.
Dental Hygiene – Chewing helps our pups maintain their dental health and keep their teeth and gums strong. Leveraging their instinctual urge to chew by offering them products designed for dental health saves time and energy on preserving those pearly whites.
Boredom – A bored or lonely dog will find a way to make its own entertainment. Whether that’s shredding your couch pillows or unrolling your toilet paper, dogs will get creative in keeping themselves entertained.
Comfort – By nature, chewing is a dog’s way to relieve tension and anxiety. Just as it is crucial to keep a dog physically entertained, mental stimulation is integral to your pet’s wellbeing. Chewing to relieve stress helps distract our pets from separation anxiety or thunder and fireworks.
Pro Tip: New flavors or scents of chews will keep their minds and tastebuds busy.
Now that we know some of the reasons why dogs chew, selecting the right chew for the task will seem less daunting. Let’s take a close look at some of the determinants in finding the right chew for you!
Size – Finding the perfect chew starts by selecting the appropriate size. Chews can become unsafe when sized incorrectly. If a large dog can easily fit the whole chew in its mouth, the risk of a choking hazard arises. Finding the chew best suited for your dog’s size will also provide them with the highest quality of chewing entertainment, keeping them busy for hours. At Himalayan Pet Supply, we size our chews according to weight.
Age/Life Stage – As your pet ages, their chewing requirements evolve. As puppies are shedding their milk teeth, they need to work up the strength in the jaw muscles that will aid them in adulthood. Starting with medium-density chews and working them up to hard density is a great way to promote positive chewing habits while keeping them entertained. Adult dogs in the prime of their chewing careers will likely benefit the most from hard, long-lasting chews. Senior dogs may have weaker teeth from years of chewing experience behind them. Chewier soft density chews can allow Senior dogs to fulfill their chewing needs without the risk of further weakening their teeth.
Pro Tip: Some chews have active ingredients to improve gut health or provide expanded teeth cleaning power.
Chewing Habits – Gentle Chewer, Super Chewer, Gulper
Dental Development – Dogs don’t have the luxury or ability to brush their teeth, and getting them to sit still while you try to give them a brush can be a difficult task to accomplish. Incorporating dental chews into their chewing routine is a great way to fight plaque and tartar buildup while freshening their breath. Crunchy textures can help scrape gums and teeth, while some chews come specifically designed to clean between teeth.
Safety – Above all, the deciding factor in your chew selection should be its safety. Some long-lasting dog chews like rawhide and no-hide aren’t easily digestible. Antlers, when treated improperly, can splinter or cause irreparable damage to teeth.
It can be challenging to find the dog chew that’s best suited for your furry family member. Always consider the size, chewing habits, and age & dental requirements of your pet. We hope this brief guide to dog chews makes your next chew-purchasing experience a breeze.