Dogs Need to Chew

Chewing is a natural behavior all dogs need to express. But every dog is different and a treat or toy that’s good for one dog to chew may be dangerous for another.

Watch a dog or puppy the first time she gets anything new to chew. If she can tear the chew up, crack off chunks or seems to be going through it too fast, take it away from her. This is an indication that this chew may not be right for her. If, however, she gnaws the ends of the chew, gradually wearing it down, the chew may be a good match.

Match the size of the treat to the size of a dog’s mouth, teeth and throat. A dog needs to be able to get his teeth around the chew, carry it and hold it between his paws. Large dogs need chews that are big enough for them to enjoy for a while without the risk of swallowing them whole. In general, the bigger the treat the better.

Dogs come in all sizes, but when it comes to chewing behaviors, size can be deceiving. While little dogs are often more ferocious chewers than large dogs, even a large dog that chews softly can get into trouble with a chew that’s too small. When a dog wears down her chew to a size that she could accidentally swallow, replace it.

Match the hardness of the chew with the strength of the dog’s jaws and the force with which he prefers to chew. If a dog always chews aggressively, look for chews meant to be easily digested, or for hard chews that won’t splinter, fracture or tear.

For more information about canine dental health, visit our Oral Health for Dogs and How to Brush a Dog's Teeth pages.


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We’re not veterinarians. Mud Bay staff are well educated, and our writing is well-researched, but neither the advice of a Mud Bay staff member nor reading Mud Bay's written materials can substitute for visiting a veterinarian. We offer carefully chosen, natural solutions, but we believe that veterinary conditions should be diagnosed and treated by professionals.