To Chew or Not to Chew - Should You Try to Stop Your Dog from Chewing?
Science says chewing can improve your dog's health
Do you wish your dog wouldn't chew as much?—It's natural and normal for dogs to chew. It's also natural for people to get upset when their dogs chew on the furniture or our best pair of shoes am I right!?
You want your dog to be a dog don't you?
But you don't want your furniture, pillows or shoes to be dog food!
There are solutions.
Why *do* dogs love to chew?
Dogs chew for different reasons. Your dog may chew your favorite shoes because of boredom.
Some dogs chew because they are stressed from separation anxiety when you are away from them. The chewing is a stress reliever.
Dogs that are on restricted diets may chew on non-food things because they are looking for more food. A hungry dog thinks a shoe has some nutrition in it.
Other dogs suckle, or "fabric chew" on blankets because they may have been weaned too soon during puppyhood.
You already know what destructive chewing is. It's where your dog chews anything and everything other than the dog food that he or she is supposed to be eating.
Destructive chewing is frustrating for most dog lovers. No matter how much you love your best buddy it's not cool when he/she eats your stuff.
If your dog is a destructive chewer there are some things you can do to encourage him/her to be a more thoughtful chewer.
All natural sprays exist that can nudge your dog to not chew on your valuables. Sprays like this bitter apple spray make everything you put it on taste terrible.
If it tastes awful then your dog will not want to chew it! Simple.
If your dog is a chewer then you will want to encourage constructive chewing.
Constructive chewing has a benefit for the pup.
It keeps the dog busy and helps fight boredom or anxiety.
There are things you can give your dog that are made for constructive chewing. For aggressive chewers you can try something like these flavor infused nylon bones.
One of these "bones" is curved so the dog can get hold of it easily and is infused with flavors that dogs seem to love. It's a great way to give them something to chew on that is hard to destroy.
Does the type of dog food you give really matter?
Studies show that it does matter what type of food you give your dog. At least as far as dental health goes.
Dogs on wet food diets have been shown to have worse dental health than dogs on crunchy food diets.
The reason for this is simple.
Soft food sticks to the teeth easier than crunchy food. Crunchy dog food can also help break up the plaque that builds up in dog's teeth.
That doesn't mean you have to switch your dog to dry food if he hates it.
Have you ever brushed your dog's teeth?
Dogs need a regular teeth brushing
If you have the patience, your dog will benefit from daily tooth brushing.
If you are like most people, you probably won't be able to do this. If you can at least brush his or her teeth a few times a week that is much better than no brushing at all.
Regular brushing helps to remove plaque buildup that can cause other health issues in dogs...
If you can not brush your dog's teeth on a regular schedule, studies have shown that giving him something to chew on can provide similar dental benefits.
The act of chewing on a nylon bone or certain other types of chew toys can help clean off plaque buildup which can help prevent periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease can lead to more serious issues
Periodontal disease has 4 stages. Each stage gets worse for your dog's health if not treated.
The first stage is plaque buildup on the teeth.
If untreated, the next stage of the disease is inflamed gums. After that the next stage is gingivitis (gum disease).
The final stage is periodontitis which can lead to tooth / bone loss.
Pets with periodontal disease are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease and other forms of organ damage in the body.
How does this happen?
Bacteria from the mouth enters the blood stream which adheres to arteries surrounding the heart.
So if your dog has a lot of bacteria in the mouth then that can increase the chances for developing other health issues related to periodontal disease.
Small dogs or large dogs - Who has it worse?
Sorry small dogs...studies show that as dogs get bigger the chances of periodontal disease decreases.
For Chihuahua lovers, this is especially bad news. One study showed that periodontal disease is the #1 health concern for the tiny adorable breed.
The study also showed that age is another factor in developing the disease.
85% of dogs over 3 years old have a high chance of developing periodontal disease.