You’ve probably noticed by now that your dog likes to put his mouth on everything. First day home, he chewed the table leg. Found a paper towel on the floor? It's in shreds. Play time? They’re nipping at you. Of course, you want to discourage your dog from chewing on dangerous items, your possessions, and you. But did you know that chewing is actually a normal part of being a dog?
Chewing on the right things, approved toys and chews, is behavior that you should encourage. In fact, a healthy dog needs about 20 minutes a day just to focus on chewing. Why should you let your dog chew? Let’s discuss it and then look at some items that are perfect for your dog to sink his teeth into.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Puppies love to nip, which is something we do our best to train them not to do before they hit adulthood.
This is how they engage with the world and learn to interact with each other. But chewing and exploring the world with their mouths isn’t exclusive to puppies. Chewing is just as important to adult dogs. The urge to chew is an important part of canine development and evolved when they were still wolves. Even though they’ve come a long way from their wild ancestors, chewing has several very important benefits for dogs.
If you have a puppy then they probably seem like they’re desperate to chew on everything. This could be because they’re teething. Between 12 weeks and 6 months of age, puppies are losing their baby teeth and growing in their adult teeth. Chewing helps relieve some of the discomfort that comes with losing and growing teeth.
Dog Dental Health
Chewing plays a very important role in your dog’s dental hygiene. In their wild days, chewing on bones scraped the tartar off their teeth, strengthened their gums, and kept their jaws strong. Your pampered pooch might not be taking down a moose to chew on it, but you can still provide your dog with bones, antlers, and other hard, dog-safe items to chew on. This will remove the tartar you can’t get from brushing your dog’s teeth, and the saliva produced by the act of gnawing helps regulate the bacteria in her mouth. Good oral hygiene not only protects your dog’s teeth, it also helps prevent the build-up of bacteria that can cause systemic infections and even heart disease.
Dog Stress Relief
Chewing plays a role in your dog’s mental health. Chewing helps relieve anxiety and gives their brains a dopamine kick that keeps them happy and relaxed. This stress relief is the reason dogs with separation anxiety can turn destructive. This is their flawed attempt to self-soothe.
Encouraging your dog to chew and providing chew toys helps keep your dog calm. Reduced stress keeps your dog healthier, encourages your dog to be more alert, and can prevent destructive chewing due to anxiety. Soft toys are a good choice for dogs suffering from anxiety since they hold your scent in addition to providing an outlet for constructive chewing.
Dog Mental Stimulation
Dogs need more than just physical activity. They need mental exercise as well. Chewing engages their brain in a way that gives them the mental stimulation they need to prevent boredom. This can be encouraged by taking a puzzle chew and filling it with treats. The act of chewing while attempting to get at the treats engages your dog's brain and gives them the mental workout they need. Chewing combined with physical activity helps your dog rest well and keeps them calm and happy.
The Best Chews For Your Dog
If you’re looking for some new chew toys for your dog, look no further. We have a variety of chew toys that will keep your dog happy and engaged.
Our Cactus Chew Toy is great for a light to medium chewer. Made to be sturdy and flexible, your dog will enjoy laying down and gnawing on this at the end of a long day. The texture of the cactus will keep your dog engaged, and it squeaks, adding extra fun.
The Ring Chew is a sturdy toy for the dog that means business. It’s durable and doubles as a fun tossing toy. Whether your dog is engaged in a physical activity like a game of catch, or just enjoying a good old-fashioned chew, this is a toy she’ll love.
Some dogs don’t want a hard toy. They prefer the squishiness of a soft toy. The Pizza Plush is perfect for the pup that likes the springiness of a stuffed toy. Who doesn’t love pizza? Your dog sure will… even if it’s not the real thing. She’ll have a cute toy that is satisfying to chew on, and you’ll be happy to see your dog enjoying her new favorite toy.
We mentioned puzzle toys earlier. This is a cute combination of a puzzle toy and a stuffed toy… that won’t leave any mess. The Watering Can Plush Toy is a four-in-one toy that your dog will love. The main feature is the soft watering can. It comes with three plush flowers that you can stuff inside so your dog has to work to get them out. Your dog can play with these together, or individually, leading to hours of fun.
This Taco Plush will tickle your dog’s fancy, and keep her busy. The shell has “lettuce” and “cheese” that adds interesting texture and something for your dog to focus on as she chews. The toy is soft and perfect for a light or medium chewer who prefers soft toys.
If you're looking for some more options or something specific, don't forget to check out our Amazon storefront too! This is where we save our tried & true favorites and items we can't bring into our own shop.
What do you think? Is it time to add chewing into your dog’s daily routine? Grab a few toys and chews and mix it up each day! This will keep your dog really into this new addition to their routine. And there’s nothing like that happy tail or wiggle when you pull out a new toy or chew… or one they haven’t seen in awhile!