Check out our YouTube video on this topic below, or just keep reading onwards!
Yesterday, Kokoro and Chibi went to a doggy dentist and had their chompers checked out and professionally cleaned. At 5 and 6 years old, they are getting older now, and their oral health has always been a top concern of ours since puppyhood. Thankfully, they both got a clean bill of oral health from the vet. The vet tech was even shocked to hear that Kokoro is 6 years old because her teeth are in such pristine condition!
We totally attribute her sparkling clean teeth to her love for chewing. As a puppy, she would chew on anything and everything. Furniture, shoes, hair brushes, you name it. We of course quickly redirected her passion for chewing to things she was allowed to actually chomp on, and since then she just hasn’t stopped!
For us, we always like to keep a bunch of Kokoro & Chibi’s favorite chews on hand to keep them occupied when we need to work or focus on something else. Especially when the pups come with me to the office and I need them to get some energy out (quietly) and settle near my desk, giving them a long-lasting chew is the perfect way to do that.
Chewing is a great way for dogs to get their energy out. It’s stimulating for them, and often times it’s a great way for them to relieve stress and anxiety. Regular chewing can also be good for your dog’s oral health, preventing excessive buildup of tartar and plaque.
There are definitely a few things to keep in mind when giving your dog durable chews, whether edible or not.
Check with your vet
Make sure to get your dog’s teeth checked out to ensure they’re strong and healthy. Chewing is hard on the teeth!
Consider the hardness of the chew
One wrong bite on a rock hard item like an antler or hard toy can be damaging to a dog’s teeth if they’re not in healthy condition or if they chew too aggressively. Rock hard chews pose a risk for teeth fractures and cracks, which can be painful for your pup and expensive for you to address at the vet.
Always monitor chew time
It’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on your pup when they’re chewing away. Watch out for bleeding gums, which could be a sign of poor dental health. Or take away a chew if your dog is going at it too aggressively. Most of all, make sure they don’t choke on anything or accidentally ingest what they shouldn’t!
Ingredients & quantity
We always like to give our pups natural chews. Essentially, parts of animals that have been dehydrated and minimally processed with artificial ingredients. We also like to go with lower fat options, avoiding too much pig ear or pig skin. Depending on your dog’s size, you can find a balance of how often to give them an edible chew. Too many at once can upset your dog’s stomach. For Kokoro and Chibi, we usually give them an edible chew at most once every other day.
There are a ton of chews out there for your pup to enjoy. We’ve continuously been on the hunt for the best long-lasting chews, so today we’re going to share some of our favorites!
Bully sticks are probably our favorite edible chew to give the pups. They can be quite stinky, so we avoid bringing them to the office and just keep chew time for these at home. You can also purchase odorless versions, but we haven’t found any to be 100% scent free.
A fun trick we like to use to make these last longer is inserting them into a JW Pet rubber toy. The toy becomes a cage or casing around the stick and makes it much more difficult for your pup to devour it quickly.
If you have a bigger dog, it’s important to make sure your pup doesn’t choke on the bully stick, especially as it’s worn down to just a couple of inches. Check out our video on this nifty tool to keep your pup from choking on the end of a bully stick:
We typically buy the 3-inch or 6-inch tracheas for the pups to enjoy. Because they’re tubular in shape, you can fill the inside with yummy goodies like peanut butter and freeze it to make the whole treat an edible version of a Kong toy!
Himalayan Dog Chews
Our pups love these, otherwise known as yaky chews. Essentially, these are super dehydrated and hardened pieces of cheese. Because they’re on the harder end of the spectrum, we don’t give these quite as often and keep a close eye on the dogs when they’re chewing.
Once you reach the last one or two inches of the chew, you can pop it into the microwave for a few seconds and it will puff up! This adds another layer of fun for your pup and changes up how they chew.
Again, these are harder chews that are suitable only if you have a bigger dog with strong, healthy teeth.
We love the filled hooves you can find at the pet store and usually take the hooves away after there has been slight damage done to the edges. You can also fill and freeze empty hooves yourselves as natural alternatives to Kongs!
Our favorite non-edible chews are Benebones. These toys are not meant to be ingested but are flavored with real ingredients like bacon, peanut, and chicken. Although you can’t detect any scents on these bones, your dogs definitely can.
We also like their new line of chews made for puppies and puppy teeth. They are slightly softer and less durable, which can be better if you have a small dog or if you don’t want to give a rock hard chew.
Because they’re softer than the regular chews though, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pup to make sure they’re not chewing off more than they should and swallowing large pieces.
Dogs naturally love chewing and it is indeed a great way to keep their teeth clean and their minds stress-free. However, there are pros and cons to every type of chew, whether edible or not. Keep in mind you should try and find a balance of how many chews to give, the hardness of chews your pup can handle, and regularly inspecting your pup’s teeth or going to the doggy dentist to ensure there are no cracks or fractures that could harm your pup in the long run.