You know you own a puppy when your upholstery has more holes than Swiss cheese and your new line of Tupperware containers has become your pup's favorite set of chew toys. You can't blame him, though; most likely Dogzilla is teething and he's simply looking for a way to get relief from those sore, irritated gums. Fortunately, a variety of enticing chew treats are made available just for your puppy's delight.
Getting Teeth into the Right Chews
Not all chews are made equal, and not all dogs are made the same. Puppies love to chew, but their baby teeth are quite brittle and can break easily. You will have to be extra diligent in avoiding feeding treats that have the potential for damaging those chompers. As a general rule, avoid giving your puppy or dog anything that is harder than his teeth such as cow bones, nylon bones or any real bones, recommends the American Animal Hospital Association.
Chews From the Frozen Food Aisle
Your puppy's chewing habit may seem like a nuisance, but actually it's important for him to chew. Puppies need to chew so they can develop strong jaws and facilitate the teething process. Providing Chewbacca with healthy, frozen treats will satisfy his urge to chew while providing some deserved relief. Try feeding him dog-friendly frozen treats such as apples, carrots, green beans and blueberries, suggests Vet Street.
Make No Bones About It
You may feel tempted to feed your puppy bones, but use caution. Skip chicken bones, as they can easily splinter, and stay away from possible bacteria-carrying raw bones, too. Chop or rib bones are also a risky ordeal because they can get caught in the pup's mouth or throat. Generally, all bones pose some risks since sharp pieces or large chunks can be ingested, according to the ASPCA. If you really must give your pup a bone as a treat, look for vet-approved edible chew bones specifically crafted for puppies.
Chew on the Right Chews
The perfect chew treat should be flexible and pliable and labeled as safe for teething puppies. Read the label carefully, as several chew treats may not be suitable for puppies less than 6 months old. Puppies 3 months and older may now enjoy a line of Nylabone treats soft enough for those “baby” teeth and digestible enough for the pup's delicate digestive system. Look for Healthy Edibles Puppy and Nutri Dent Puppy. Puppies over the age of 6 months instead may enjoy dental chews approved by the Veterinary Oral Council such as Greenies, Bright Bites and Checkups Dental Treats.
- Healthy Pet: Caring for Your Dog or Puppy
- Advanced Animal Dental: Puppy's Teeth
- Vet Street: How Do I Keep My Puppy From Chewing Everything in My House?
- ASPCA: Safe Things to Chew
- Veterinary Oral Health Council: Products Currently Awarded the VOHC Seal
- Nylabone: Nylabone® Introduces Two Chews ‘Just for Puppies’ to Popular NutriDent and Healthy Edibles Lines [PDF]
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.