A common question pet owners face is deciding whether or not to give their dogs rawhides and other chew toys.
In our experience of over 20 years of practice and owning 5 veterinary clinics, we have found that rawhide bones and chew toys can definitely provide important benefits to your dog. They provide a positive outlet for a dog to satisfy his instinctive need to chew; and they can also play an important role in supporting good oral health. We always recommend that owners monitor their dogs closely with any rawhide or chew toy, and these items should always be carefully selected for quality.
Why Your Dog Needs Chew Toys
Dogs possess a strong desire to chew on various things throughout their lives. They replace their entire set of puppy teeth within their first year of life, and the discomfort they feel in their gums during this time causes a tremendous desire to chew. Adult dogs also have a need to chew; it exercises their jaw muscles and seems to make them feel relaxed and calm. Rather than becoming frustrated when your pet chews on a leather chair or an expensive pair of shoes, provide him with a chew toy.
Another important reason for providing chew toys to your pets is to promote healthy teeth and gums. Dental disease is very common in dogs, and left untreated, it can progress to painful gums, infection, and tooth and bone loss. Rawhide and some of the specially formed composite chews can help support good oral health because the mechanical scraping action as the dog chews helps reduce the buildup of the plaque and tartar that lead to dental disease.
Why Quality Matters
Some of the cheaper chew products on the market use strong chemicals in the manufacturing process, such as bleach or arsenic. Cheap, poorly made chew products can also splinter or break more easily, increasing the risk of foreign body obstruction and expensive medical bills.
Quality matters, especially when it comes to rawhide. At Doctors Foster and Smith, we select only the highest quality products from manufacturers that produce their rawhide using safe methods, such as high temperature drying ovens. No chemicals that could potentially compromise your pet’s health are included in our rawhide.
For those who prefer not to give their dog rawhide, there is a wide range of composite chew products made from other materials to choose from.
Nylon based products, such as Nylabones, have a slight "give" for hours of chewing and are a great choice for less aggressive chewers.
Cotton-blend chew toys, such as the Flossy Chews Rope Bones, have rope strands that help clean teeth with every chew and make for a fun game of tug of war with your pet. Or you can combine treats and chewing with a tough rubber chew toy, like Kong Toys, which exercise jaw muscles and let your pet chew to dig out treats from inside the toy.