Chewing is very important for your dog’s mental and dental health. It keeps their mind occupied, teeth clean and body exercised.
I have been really lucky with my dog, Tiger. When he was a puppy, I was extremely vigilant in making sure that he always had something to chew on. I really believe that this stopped any destructive behavior.
Chewing is a normal dog behavior. There are many reasons why a dog will chew and it is important to understand why your dog chews so that you can reward good behavior and correct inappropriate chewing.
A dog that as allowed to chew will be kept busy, happy and healthy.
11 Reasons why a dog chews all the wrong things
Puppies are extremely playful and investigative. It is an important part of social development and an important ways for dogs to learn about their environment. It is a normal behavior for puppies to investigate their environment by sniffing, tasting and chewing.
Puppies are around 2 months old when their puppy teeth start coming in. Then between 4-6 months when their milk teeth fall out and are replaced by the adult teeth. This is the start of the destructive stage. Puppies will chew to help their teeth go through this process and to help relieve sore teeth and gums.
Some dogs may chew because they receive attention, even negative attention, when they chew. You may be inadvertently rewarding the behavior when you give them treats or talk to them in order to get them to stop chewing.
Chewing and destructive behavior may also be a response to anxiety. Dogs that are confined in areas where they feel insecure may dig and chew in an attempt to escape. Dogs that are anxious may turn to chewing as an outlet. Chewing may help relieve a dog of tension or anxiety.
5. Dental health
It is important to a dogs health to keep their teeth, guns and mouths clean. Just as we brush our teeth, dogs chew to kep their teeth clean.
As your puppy grows up, 6 - 12 months, they start to following their instincts. They begin to try hunting for food, protecting their families and themselves.
7. Exercises jaw muscles
Just as we run or go to the gym, dogs chew to exercise their jaws. Chewing can last for months, even years, and increasing regular and physical exercise can help to redirect the need to chew and be destructive.
A lonely or bored dog will be more destructive and chew for longer periods of time. Dogs are looking for ways to occupy their time and are finding things to do.
Your dog will practice chewing on what you teach him to chew on. If he can't find an appropriate item to chew on, he will use what ever he can find in stead.
Dogs will look for something that smells good, tastes delicious and feels good in their mouth, they will want to come back for more.
Dogs can develop obsessive chewing disorders . When we allow our dogs' habits to progress to the point of obsession we are creating a very frustrated, unhappy dog.
How to encourage good chewing behavior?
Before wondering how to discourage inappropriate chewing behavior, give your dog an outlet to chew. Begin with a few toys with a variety of tastes, smells and textures to see what your dog is attracted to most.
Dog toys can be made from a variety of different materials like durable plastic, nylon or rubber or perhaps made form natural ingredient like rawhide or pigs ears.
You can make your dog toy more attractive by coating or filing it with liver, cheese spread or peanut butter. Other great enhancers include putting soup into the toy and freezing it.
Supervised your dog in the beginning to encouraged and reward your dog for chewing on its toys. Discouraged your dog from chewing on all other objects . When you cannot supervise them, restrict access to inappropriate objects that it likes chewing on.
How to distract your dog from being destructive?
When teaching your dog to chew the right things, you may need to distract them from being destructive.
Lots of play time such as chasing, hide and seek, retrieving, catching a ball or Frisbee will keep your dog happy and so exhausted that he will forget to chew on your favorite chair.
Long walks or runs will allow your dog to expend excess energy and focus on other things around the neighborhood.
Obedience training and agility classes teaches your dog new skills and a few tricks. This is extremely stimulating and interesting to dogs and provides you quality time to bond and learn with your dog too.
Why are some dogs destructive?
My friend gives her 60 lb Old English Sheepdog soft toys to play with, most have lasted since she was a puppy, almost 4 years.
My 16 lb Lakeland Terrier destroys soft toys in a matter of seconds, literally! He will also chew most rubber and most hard toys into little pieces.
Some dogs have considerable bite pressure with one test measuring Rottweilers as the strongest at 328 pounds of bite pressure. German Shepherds came in second with a 238 measured bite force, and the American Pit Bull Terrier came in third with 235 pounds of pressure. This can make a significant impact to most dog toys on the market.
Terriers have teeth that are very large in proportion to the size of the dog. They have a scissor bite or a vice-like bite which is why terriers can be very destructive despite their size.
When choosing a dog toy for your little chewer, provide your puppy with a variety of toys. In the beginning to let them discover which toys they like best and how interested they are in each toy. You will soon learn how long each toy lasts and ultimately which is the best toys for your dog.
Dangers of Chewing
We need to be careful about what our dogs put in their mouths. There is the possibility of breaking a tooth, choking, become allergic, infection and digestion problems. It is extremely important to give our dogs toys that will be as safe as possible.
Below are a selection of (almost) indestructible dog toys for your little chewing machine.
1. KONG Dog Toy - Extreme Black
The Black KONG Extreme represents the most durable version of our original KONG toy. The ultra-strong, ultra-durable, black rubber compound is recommended for the most powerful chewers.
KONG rubber chew toys offer a variety of options for all types of chewers but the Black KONG is best for extreme chewers.
KONG - Extreme black
For the correct size KONG for your pooch, check out this KONG sizing guide.
- Perfect for stuffing with KONG treats to add extra interest
- Helps reduce boredom and separation anxiety for powerful chewers
- Unpredictable bounce for games of fetch
- Used worldwide by police, drug enforcement and military K-9 teams
- Also used by Schutzhund and AKC competition trainers
- Made in the USA
- Available in five sizes: S, M, L, XL and XXL
2. Himalayan Yak Dog Chew
The Himalayan Yak Dog Chew was born from an ancient recipe for a hard cheese snack chewed by the people of the Himalayas. In the mountains surrounding Mt. Everest at more than 15,000 feet, it is made using traditional methods with yak and/or cow milk, and all natural products with no preservatives or binding agents. They're also gluten-free!
Depending on the size and eating habits of the dog, this can be a very long-lasting dog chew. Dogs must work the end of the treat for hours, softening it with their mouths before small parts of it can be slowly chewed off. When you give this treat to your dog, you know that you are providing them with high-quality eating entertainment.
Ingredients: Yak and cows milk, Salt and Lime Juice. Nutrition: Crude protein 52.8%, Crude fat min 0.9%, Moisture max 10.6%, Ash max 6%
3. Antler Dog Chews, Natural
The Jim Hodges Antlers are Grade A premium quality elk antler dog chews. They are naturally shed and picked off the forest floor in the USA. They are hand picked and hand sorted to ensure the best quality and accurate sizing.
Some antler chews are fragile and splinter, ensure you get a good quality chew like the ones below.
- Grade A Premium Quality Elk Antler Dog Chew
- Fantasic Source of Naturally Calcium, Phosphorous, Manganese and Zinc - Great for Tartar Control
- Great For Indoors - No Sticky, Stinky, Greasy Mess On Your Floor or Hands
There are two sizes of antler chews I would recommend for aggressive chewers:
- Antler Dog Chew XL - 7' - 12"
- Antler Dog Chew XXL - 8" - 12" and very thick
4. Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Souper
Nylabone DuraChew toys are made to be long lasting for powerful chewers. Bristles raised during chewing help clean teeth and control plaque and tartar. They provides long-lasting entertainment and fight boredom. The Nylabone will satisfies your dog's natural urge to chew and are made with durable nylon for powerful chewers
How to select the right Nylabone chew toy
5. Goughnuts - Indestructible Dog Toy
The original GoughNuts toy was designed to address the simple but serious issue of SAFETY. The GoughNuts chew toys are designed knowing that safety and fun go hand in hand. Each GoughNuts pet toy has included in it's design the GoughNuts patented safety indicator where Green means "GoughNuts" and Red means "Stop".
The purpose of the Goughnuts patent pending idea is to change pet chew toy technology for dogs and other pets so that the possibility of blockages (from ingestion of chew toys) in a pet’s digestive track will be lessened or eliminated.
- A virtually Indestructible (and guaranteed) chew toy! GoughNuts toys have been designed by mechanical and polymer engineers. If your pet can chew through the outer layer to expose the inner red layer, GoughNuts will replace your toy
- Best for moderate chewers, 40 lbs and up, or strong chewers 10 to 40 lbs.
- Made in the USA, indestructible, guaranteed
- this floats at water level
- aggresive chewers
All dogs are different and have different sizes and jaw power and bite pressure. If you are having trouble finding a super strong almost indestructible dog chew toys, perhaps this list can help you.