Chewing is a natural dog behavior, both when they're puppies and as adults. Chewing is especially important during teething when puppy teeth first develop, are lost and adult teeth begin to descend. Giving your dog the most appropriate things to chew can help with the sometimes painful teething process. The right chew toys can help with self-soothing and boredom alleviation throughout your dog’s life.
Just like humans, young dogs lose baby teeth that are replaced with permanent, adult teeth. If teeth don’t fall out as they should, new teeth can end up crowding your dog’s mouth and create dental issues, like impaction, cavities and gum infection, which may require veterinary intervention. This is especially prevalent in smaller breeds and short-snouted dogs or pups with small mouths.
Rubber or nylon bones and toys or cotton rope pulls are effective for relieving teething pain and also make good chew toys in general. Pressed rawhide is another option dogs enjoy. While rubber toys are usually more expensive than edible bones, they last a long time. Some even have bumps and ridges like baby teething toys that can be soothing. Also consider an idea from dog trainer Casey Lomonaco – soak an old washcloth in chicken broth and freeze it to create a soothing “pupsicle” chew or give your dogs ice cubes.
Your pup can entertain himself with a bone or chew toy for long periods of time. This can distract a dog away from boredom or destructive behaviors, like digging or excessive barking. Chewing not only soothes the pain associated with teething, it can help keep teeth free from plaque buildup, which can lead to adult dental problems.
While appropriate chew toys can help adult teeth break through the surface of tender gums, inappropriate chew items also have the potential to cause damage. For example, giving a dog a bone or toy that is too small for him can result in an obstructed airway or lead to choking. Very hard bones can break or crack teeth, resulting in abscesses, dental pain and the need for extraction. Dogs should be monitored when chewing to help prevent against any of these outcomes.
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