Chew toys and treats are part of nearly every dog owner's life. Many dogs seem to find the process of chewing on a durable toy a relaxing and pleasurable method of passing the time. A couple of factors play into choosing the right chewy for your pup, and some you shouldn't take lightly.
Why They're Important
Dogs and pups chew for a variety of reasons, some instinctual and natural, while others are psychological. A puppy, for example, will chew on things to explore the world around him or to soothe his gums during the teething process. An adult dog will chew to exercise his jaws and clean his teeth. Dogs may also chew because of stress, anxiety or boredom. Knowing why your pup is chewing can help you determine the correct chew toy or chewy treat for her.
Cheap and favorable among most dogs, rawhide is among the most common chew treats on the market. These pieces are made from animal hides, as the name suggests. Rawhide chewies come in various sizes, shapes and flavors. For light to moderate chewers, rawhide shapes are generally OK to give, although single-ply rawhide chews are best. For a power chewer, beware of letting them chew on rawhides as your pup may quickly break off chunks that can cause blockages.
Bully bones, sometimes called bully sticks, have taken the market by storm. According to Dr. Sherry Weaver DVM., these chewies appear "very safe" and "pretty digestible." These sticks are made from the penises of bulls. Dogs chew them up fairly quickly, but since they are digestible they don't carry the same risk as rawhide and some other products. They can be slightly expensive when compared to other chew toys and treats.
The Right Stuff
Not all chew treats and toys are created equal. Some aren't worth the time or money it takes to get them, while there are also different grades of chewies. When choosing the right chew treats and toys for your dog, you need to get her one that is made for her size, age and chewing ability. Smart dogs may get the most out of an educational chew toy, while smaller, soft rubber toys are good for older dogs and those that don't chew a lot.