Choosing a Long-Lasting Chew By Julie Johannes, owner of Happy Hounds Pet Supply
Pet chews are constantly evolving as companies find innovative ways to bring these popular boredom busters to market. At Happy Hounds, we frequently get requests for long lasting chews that divert their pet’s attention from table legs or provide the pet owner guilt-free time away. Here are a few considerations.
Choking is the biggest concern with any chew. Some dogs know how to safely gnaw on a bone, but some will be tempted to gulp down large chunks. Get to know your dog’s habits and treat appropriately. Bones should be big enough to avoid getting stuck in the throat. If you purchase a large bone for your small or sensitive dog, take it away periodically to be sure he does not over-indulge. Consider a smaller treat, like an ox tail slice, that can be consumed in one sitting.
Avoid chemically processed chews like many branded as “rawhide.” They are bleached or processed in other ways that make them difficult for your pet to digest. A better choice is an all-natural sun-dried hide roll. This is similar in texture to a rawhide but contains only the hide itself without alterations that your pet’s body cannot understand. If you are hesitant to try hides, consider a cheek roll or a No-Hide chew.
Benebones come in shapes that prevent choking but are not meant to be consumed. Mentally satisfying and durable, these chews are made of nylon and designed for extremely aggressive chewers.
Antlers, horns and hooves are durable alternatives. If your pet has never had an antler before, start with a split antler to give them easier access to the flavorful bone marrow. Soaking it in bone broth can inspire a disinterested dog into chewing on it. Horns and hooves can be stuffed with yogurt or cottage cheese and then frozen for added enjoyment.
A frozen raw marrow bone or turkey neck is highly satisfying for most dogs. For a cleaner option, choose an air dried or slow roasted bone, but avoid bones cooked at high temperatures (like your turkey dinner), as they can splinter.
If you are still concerned about chew safety, an accessory which makes it tougher for a chew to be inhaled or quickly consumed may be best. The Himalayan Blockhead clamps down on a treat and prevents ingestion of the last chunk. In a pinch, vise grips work too! Puzzle toys come in many different shapes and sizes and can provide a form of exercise. This may be a better option for overweight pets.
Experimenting with different chews may be the only way to know which suits your individual pet. As with any new treat or toy, monitor your pet’s behavior and adjust accordingly.
The above is not a complete list of chews by any means. At Happy Hounds, we have a diverse selection of long lasting chews to suit every pet. Please browse our website or stop in to learn more about the many benefits and wide selection of chews we have in store.