If we let them, some dogs will chew on just about anything. Dogs chew for many reasons:
- For enjoyment
- To calm themselves
- To explore their environment
- To relieve boredom
- To relieve the pain of teething
- To relieve stress or fear
- To seek attention
There are, however, dogs who are excessive chewers. There are basically 2 reasons why dogs chew excessively - medical and behavioral. If you are concerned about your dog's chewing, take him to your veterinarian to see if there is a medical reason behind it. Then make sure he gets enough physical and mental exercise. Your best bet is to talk with a behavior consultant on how to accomplish this.
Don't Chew on These
There are some toys you should never let your dog chew.
- Thin rubber or vinyl toys because dogs can rip them up and swallow the pieces.
- Toys with small parts that can be easily chewed off and swallowed such as eyes, ears, or tails.
- Cheap toys with squeakers that can be ripped out and swallowed.
- String toys with strings because dogs can chew off the string and swallow it, resulting in its getting tangled in their intestines ?
- Hard toys that can cause dogs to break a tooth.
Chew on These Instead
So what are some guidelines to help you choose safe toys for your dog to chew?
- Firm but flexible
- The right size for your dog
- More than one air hole so it is difficult for suction to form and trap his tongue.
- Large enough not to be broken down and swallowed.
- Rawhides can cause choking. Supervise your dog if you give him a rawhide, and take it away when it gets small enough to swallow.
But What About These?
Only give your dog stuffed toys and balls that are made for dogs. This may seem obvious, but there are things that dogs play with that may be dangerous.
- Branches can be dangerous. Your dog can run with a branch and trip, catching the stick in the roof of his mouth.
- Acorns, pine cones, and other plants contain toxic materials.
- Rocks are irresistible chew toys to some dogs but can wear down their teeth.
- Corn cobs are not digestible.
- Cooked bones can splinter.
- Children's stuffed toys are treated with a flame retardant that clumps when it gets wet. If your dog swallows it, it is not digestible and can lodge in your dog's stomach or intestines.
- What I call "tennis-tennis" balls contain fiberglass, which acts like sandpaper on your dog's teeth. If he is an avid chewer, he can wear his teeth down to the gum line. He can also chew the fuzz off or swallow a chunk of the ball itself.
I would much rather spend my money getting fun stuff for and going to interesting places with my dogs than spending money on vet bills. Just think how many things you could do with your dog with that $600 you paid for an emergency vet visit and operation.