What Should You Give Your Dog To Chew?
Recreational chewing is not only enjoyable for your dog, it can also be an important way to help keep the teeth free of plaque and tartar. The choice of appropriate chew toys will help keep your dog occupied as he or she helps to clean his or her teeth.
Your pet's chew items must be chosen carefully. A general rule-of-thumb is to only allow chew items which cannot be chewed into pieces, unless those pieces are digestible.
To repeat -it is important that you only allow your dog to chew on items which he or she cannot chew into pieces (unless the pieces are digestible). Like human babies and small children, dogs can choke on small toys, and can tear stuffing materials,threads, eyes and buttons off of dolls or stuffed toys, (which may cause gastrointestinal problems).
Information on some common chew objects:
Milkbones and Edible Treats: Milkbones and other edible chew treats can be given to almost any dog. However,if your dog has any health issues, metabolic issues, or a tendency to be overweight, you should discuss the use of these treats with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you regarding appropriate, healthy options for your specific pet.
Greenies: Greenies are digestible chew treats that are shaped like a big toothbrush. They are available in different sizes to accommodate both large and small dogs. They contain chlorophyll to help your pet's breath smell more pleasant. They are great for helping clean the teeth and improving the breath; however; there have been reported cases of choking. There have been choking cases (some were fatal) reported in which dogs have choked from getting the Greenie stuck in the throat; therefore, good common sense and caution must be used when your dog is too enthusiastic about these treats. If your dog becomes overly excited about these treats, he or she may try to swallow a Greenie whole or in large pieces. However, Greenies are safe for most dogs.
Rawhide Chew Toys: Rawhide chew toys are a favorite with many dogs; however, rawhide is not completely digestible and may irritate your pet's stomach if too much is swallowed. Therefore, caution must be used when giving your pet a rawhide chew toy. Rawhide has been shown to be superior to other chew toys in preventing tartar accumulation on teeth; therefore, these toys are good for dogs that are content to chew on them without tearing off pieces to swallow.
Pig Ears and Cow Hooves: These are similar to rawhide chews and the same cautions apply to their use. However, pig ears and cow hooves are more likely to cause intestinal upset. Therefore, our doctors recommend clients avoid these chew objects all together.
Avoid Bones. Most veterinarians, including the doctors at Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital, discourage the use of bones as a chew object. We know many pet owners think of bones as an old stand-by chew item; however, large chunks of bone may become lodged in the pet's mouth or throat. More commonly, lower intestinal irritation results form the ingestion of tiny flakes of bone splintered off by the chewing process. Unless a bone is large enough that your dog cannot chew anything off of it, you would be wise to avoid bones entirely. Chicken and turkey bones, which splinter and flake, must definitely be avoided completely.
Nylon, meat-scented imitation bones will satisfy many dogs and they can be used safely for many dogs. However, some dogs, especially large dogs, will be able to demolish even these synthetic
look-alike bones, and/or will excitedly chew and then swallow the stumps (too large to digest easily and/or properly), leading to intestinal irritation and possible problems. If your dog falls into the latter group, the imitation bones should not be used.
Kong Toys: Kong toys are nearly indestructible, rubber, beehive-shaped chew toys. They are hollow which makes it easy to pack some food treats inside the toy, making it an interesting, entertaining chew toy for your pet.
Rubber Toys or Balls: Rubber balls or "squeaky toys" are fine for a very small puppy to chew or for playing fetch with your dog, but they can also be problematic if you allow your older puppy or dog to use the rubber toy as a chew object. Chewing is likely to result in pieces of the rubber material in the stomach and a visit to your veterinarian. Also, the rubber toys do not help keep your pet's teeth clean.
Tennis Balls: Tennis balls are fine for chewing and playing games, as long as they are indestructible for
your pet. However, balls are a common intestinal foreign object, so caution and supervision should be utilized.
Stuffed Socks: Stuffed socks can provide chewing enjoyment and play entertainment for your dog. However, you must use caution and supervision because socks can be swallowed and are common intestinal foreign objects, often resulting in a veterinary visit, and, in some cases, surgery. Additionally, make certain your dog can distinguish between his or her socks and your socks.
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian regarding the best chew toys and/or treats for your unique pet.
This is not a replacement for a veterinary consultation.
Contact us to set up your pet's next appointment!