Written by Jessica Harrell
There’s no doubt about it: we all love spoiling our dogs. Whether it be through treats or toys, if it makes our dogs happy, it makes us happy. However, these treats and toys, such as chew products, not only provide our furry friends with joy, but provide health and wellness benefits for them as well!
First, chew products provide our dogs with dental benefits! When dogs chew on these products, they scrape away at plaque and tartar buildup, removing bad breath, yellowing teeth, and the cause for a number of dental problems, such as periodontal disease.
Second, chew products act as a type of mental stimulation for dogs! Much like humans, dogs need both physical and mental exercise. Chewing is a great way to accomplish both of these tasks, seeing as it exercises the jaw muscles and requires a fair amount of concentration to continuously wear down a product. By providing exercise, these products additionally relieve boredom and provide an outlet for older dogs who are no longer able to exercise and play as much as they used to.
Finally, chew products allow dogs to perform one of their most innate, natural habits: chewing. All dogs, from teething puppies to older members of the family, have an urge to chew. This means that, sooner or later, your dog will find a product he or she likes to chew on whether it be your shoes or the legs of your favorite chair. However, chew toys provide an outlet for dogs to perform this innate urge. They taste better and are harder to chew than most household supplies, keeping your belongings safe and your dog satisfied.
As you can tell, chew products do have many benefits to our beloved furry friends; however, some can cause harm, depending on each particular dog’s dietary habits. Rawhide chews, for example, can often times cause blockage. Owners should be cautious giving these chews to dogs who chew fast and swallow large chunks of food at a time, seeing as these big, coarse pieces can get stuck in throats or intestines. Additionally, there are some ingredients in rawhide chews than can cause many dogs to have upset stomachs. If your dog falls into this category of chewers, don’t be discouraged! There are tons of alternative, natural chew products that provide the same benefits as rawhide chews without the same dietary risks.
One example of these products are bully sticks, which are very similar in taste and texture to rawhide chews. These sticks are 100% beef, made from the pizzle or penis of the bull. Because they are only made with one ingredient, they are fully digestible and, therefore, cannot cause any blockage. Additionally, any other form of one-ingredient, natural chews provide our dogs with the same benefits. Examples of these may include raw bones; pork, lamb, and cow ears; deer antlers; duck and turkey feet; and various frozen fruits (check to make sure they are dog-friendly first!).
Chew products provide our favorite furry friends with a variety of health and mental benefits, but it is important to know your dog’s dietary habits before choosing the correct chew product for him or her. There may be an inevitable period of trial and error when attempting to choose the right chew products for your dog; however, once your dog truly finds a product that he or she enjoys, the benefits will be all worth the while.