Do all dogs chew?
Chewing is something that a dog needs to do at all stages of their life It is totally normal for puppies and adult dogs to chew on objects as they explore the world. Young dogs, just like babies chew to relieve the pain of teething. For adult dogs it is nature’s way of keeping teeth clean and jaws strong and healthy.
Can chewing be a sign of a problem?
Chewing however can be negative for dog owners because a dog will also chew to relieve mild anxiety, frustration or boredom. If the stimulus becomes too much for the dog however, the chewing can get out of control and cause major damage to property and contents. Chewing that has reached this level is no longer healthy and the underlying trigger for the destructive behaviour will need to be treated professionally. But this is not the topic of this article.
What are the benefits of chewing?
- Mental and physical stimulation and thus behaviour stability. Ripping, shredding and tearing at muscle meat as well as crushing bones, works the jaw and neck muscles and uses up energy. Dogs can benefit from chewing either raw meaty bones or from a correctly chosen chew. Dogs that chew bones/chews typically settle well and are calm following a bought of chewing.
- Chewing is a primal and instinctual activity. It releases endorphins which heighten the sense of pleasure and well-being. Dogs that are both mentally and physically stimulated by chewing are less likely to engage in destructive, boredom driven, behaviours.
- Chewing helps to improve dental hygiene and so reduces bad breath. Bones or chew bones are hard. As the dog chews the bone, it’s teeth are cleaned and the gums are strengthened. Processed dog foods are soft and so leave plaque behind on the teeth which ultimately leads to bad breath and possible heart disease. Also, a dog’s saliva does not contain the enzyme amylase which is needed to break down sugars. As commercial dog foods often contain high levels of carbohydrate sugars these stay in the mouth and encourage bacterial growth which leads to dental issues and bad breath.
What to be careful about when letting your dog chew.
- All fresh bones and commercial chews can also cause choking and blockages, especially if you do not supervise your dog while she chews, or if you choose bones of the wrong size.
- Do not to give too many fresh bones as this can cause constipation.
- Do not feed large cooked bones These can result in broken teeth or punctures to soft tissues like the oesophagus or intestines. Big, baked, circular beef leg bones (femurs)can fracture the shearing carnassial teeth or get stuck on the lower jaw. A cooked rib bone can become lodged between the teeth of the upper jaw, causing a dog to paw at their mouth.
- A natural chew bone made from rawhide can be a good alternative for a heavy chewer but please make sure that you are buying a truly natural rawhide product. There are many products on the market that, on closer examination can be highly toxic for your dog. To learn more about how to select a safe rawhide chew read our blog “Are Rawhide Chews Dangerous for my Dog?”
A dog should be given the opportunity to chew on a regular basis. You can either offer fresh meaty bones of an appropriate size for your dog or buy a commercially produced 100% natural chew. Both these options are good for your dog if they are correctly supervised. Here at the Woof Club, we give both to our dogs on a regular basis.
We feed and sell only rawhide products from Anco. They make 100% natural chews from 100% safe rawhide. Click here to read about why this is the best 100% natural product available and why you need to be very careful when selecting a rawhide product for your pet.
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