Dogs love to chew all the time; it’s an instinctive habit, but sometimes they do it just to kill time. When we first adopted Polar at 9 months old, he was already a destroyer; the toys that we gave him were often mauled in a single seating. If your dog’s chewing capabilities are like Polar’s, below are some tips on how to ensure that your dog chews safely.
1. Remove all soft stuffed toys
Polar’s face lights up whenever he sees a stuffed toy; in fact, he loves them so much that he often ends up tearing them apart and gnawing at the cotton stuffing inside. Although cotton comes from a plant and is “natural”, it is definitely not digestible. There was once when Polar ingested bits of cotton from a toy, and started wheezing and regurgitating his dinner. We rushed him to the vet for an X-ray and other medical tests, but they all came back negative. Instructed by the vet to closely monitor his situation, we rejoiced when he pooped out the cotton bits the very next morning, and went back to his normal goofy self.
From then on, we decided to replace all the stuffed toys from Polar’s toy box with the tougher and practically indestuctible soft toys like the Kong Ballistic range that has 8 rows of stitching, and Tuffy, which is made with 7 layers of material sewn with 4 rows of stitching.
2. Introduce good quality rubber toys or solid ball toys
Rubber toys are best for aggressive chewers. Even though the low prices of toys on Taobao are tempting, I avoid buying from there. It is important to choose a reputable brand so as to reduce the chance of getting defective toys that disintegrate and break apart, thus becoming a swallowing hazard for your dog. Brands like Kong, Dura Doggie, SafeMade all manufacture good quality rubber toys that are durable, and seem to last forever. I love Kong toys because you can stuff treats in them to further entice your dog to play. On hot days, I even fill the Kong toy with yogurt and berries, then freeze it as a frozen treat for Polar. Very versatile, and entertaining. (Click here to read about frozen treat with Kong toy)
3. Introduce natural chews instead of chew treats
Initially, as clueless new dog owners, we fed Polar all types of chews, thinking that they were all good for him.
The first was raw hide, easily bought from most petshops and very affordable. It keeps Polar entertained for long periods of time but after some time, the chew disintegrates into a gross and sticky mess. Only after doing some research did I realise how risky raw hide chews were; they could potentially poison or choke him. Rawhide is classified as one of the deadliest chew toys for dogs. We immediately threw everything away.
We also tried Nylabone, which is supposedly great for power chewers. After Polar gnawed at it for some time, I noticed that he had chewed bits of it off and probably ingested those bits. Remembering that the disclaimer on the toy said that it contains plastic which is not to be ingested, this went into the bin as well. That was two strikes.
Dog chew treats like Whimzees and Smart Bones are good alternatives. They are safe and digestible, but they don’t last. An important point to note is that they are also artificially made. The ingredients normally revolves around potato starch, glycerin, etc which typically makes them a little fat. Polar gets super excited whenever we give him a Whimzee, but the greedy boy devours it in less than a minute. Our verdict is that it’s better to give these as an occasional treat if you are cautious about your dog’s weight.
Right now our favourite type of chews are natural chews. Natural chews meaning natural alternatives derived from animal sources. For example, a cow’s hoof, or a pig’s ear, or a kangaroo’s tail. They are not only fully ingestible, durable but are also tantilising treats for most dogs with all it’s natural goodness.
Why Natural Chews are better
Natural chews are fully digestible; aided by how dogs grind them down with their teeth before ingesting. Unlike rawhides and other chews, they do not contain any artificial chemicals or preservatives that can potentially cause long-term health issues (e.g. cancer).
Another benefit of natural chews is that it also helps with removing plaque from teeth due to all the chewing action. Like how brushing is for us, chewing is for dogs. Chewing encourages healthy gums and strong teeth!
Chews come in different shapes and toughness to cater to every dog’s needs. For Polar, we like to give him moo’s hoove or deer’s antler because they practically last forever. Apart from chewing it, he entertains himself by tossing it around and chasing after it; almost like playing fetch with himself.
He also goes absolutely bonkers whenever we whoop out the Kangaroo Jerky, or Kangaroo Liver, which you can easily break to make into training treats. They all smell so good, I can easily understand why Polar loves them, just like how I love my bakwa.
As an additional treat, we give him Yak’s chew which is made from Cow’s milk with lime juice. It is lactose-free and looks like a block of cheese. I can imagine it tastes like how cheddar cheese tastes to humans.
Keep in mind that you should always supervise your dog when he’s chewing anything, be it natural chew or not. If the chew breaks or gets chewed into a small sharp piece, it is always advisable to discard to prevent any injury. Especially so if you are giving your dog a bone chew, I wouldn’t recommending letting him ingest the whole thing just to be safe. I always remove every piece I see.
A big shoutout to ChewTime for sharing chews with us and in return, we would like to share some great stuff with you!
Open only to our Singapore readers, we have 6 boxes of chews (worth $61 each) to give away, 3 for our Facebook fans and 3 for our Instagram followers, each of which consists of:
- Roo ribs
- Roo tail
- Roo liver (50g)
- Large gullet wraps
- Roo flap (large)
- 1 year VIF (Very Important Fur-parent) ChewTime membership
All chews in the giveaway are hypoallergenic and suitable for Furkids with sensitive skin and tummy! Steps on how to participate below.
For Facebook Fans, just three steps to stand a chance to win the giveaway:
- Like Polar The Curious and Chew Time on Facebook
- Share this blogpost and #PolarChewtimeGiveaway with the reason why you want to win the chew box!
- Tag your bff in your post to get them to join!
For Instagram Fans, just three steps to stand a chance to win the giveaway:
- Follow @PolarTheCurious and @Chew_Time on Instagram
- Repost our Instagram post and #PolarChewtimeGiveaway with the reason why you want to win the chew box!
- Tag your bff in your post to get them to join!
The most creative reason wins! Giveaway contest ends 11 September 2016, 3pm.
If you’ll like to buy some chews from Chew Time, remember to quote “PolarChews” for 12% off all chews!
Until next time, stay curious!
This post is sponsored by Chew Time.