Your new puppy has to chew, there's no way to avoid it. He's losing his baby teeth and his gums are sore. Plus chewing is fun and relaxing. You're better off getting him stuff to chew on so he doesn't wind up gnawing on your furniture, but the toy and bone aisle can be awfully overwhelming. He can chomp on chew sticks and other types of rawhide bones, just don't leave him unattended.
Types of Chew Sticks
Chew sticks come in a variety of textures, shapes and sizes. You can pick up chew sticks that are a straight or knotted piece of rawhide, which is simply dried animal skin, most often from cows. Some types are compressed rawhide, meaning all the moisture is pressed out, resulting in a firm hard-to-chew type of stick. Compressed rawhide sticks come in rolls or bone shapes. Other chew sticks have tiny pieces of dried rawhide pressed together, forming a long round stick. These types often come in an array of colors and flavors.
Chew sticks are fully edible. Once your furry pal sticks it in his mouth, it becomes wet, making it smell even stronger. He'll be more enticed to chew on it, keeping him busy while you make dinner. A little gnawing on a sturdy chew stick can help keep his chompers pearly white by scraping away some of the tartar buildup. Additionally, chowing down on his favorite chew stick may help calm his nerves, allowing him to settle down before bedtime.
Because puppies are inexperienced with everything, you shouldn't leave him alone with any types of chew sticks. Regular rawhide chew sticks swell up when they get wet. That small little stick can quickly fill up his belly, making him full before dinner time and adding unnecessary calories to his diet if he eats the whole thing. Compressed chew sticks chip easily and can get lodged in his throat or wreak havoc on his intestinal tract, leading to an emergency trip to the vet. If you decide to give your dog a bone, make sure he's hanging out in the same room with you.
Always ask your veterinarian which types of chew sticks or chew toys he recommends for your barking buddy. If your dog is a notorious chewer, you may want to invest in some solid chew toys rather than disposable chew sticks. Sturdy rubber toys stand up to his sharp fangs and make an alternative way to feed Fido. You can fill these types of toys with his kibble and a touch of peanut butter to seal in the food. He'll have to work for his entree, while curbing his chewing needs and getting some of his energy out.
Another alternative are chew bones. These toys are shaped like bones and come in meat flavors, but they're made from a strong plastic-like material. He'll be able to chew for as long as he wants, without ruining his diet.
By Melodie Anne
About the Author
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.