Regardless of the breed of your new puppy, one thing is certain – they’re going to chew!
Puppies use their mouths to learn about the world around them, starting from when they are newborn. They use their mouths in the same way a toddler uses his hands: to explore. As they get older, the urge to chew comes from teething – first as the baby teeth come in and then again when they lose these and get their adult teeth. So how do you save yourself and your belongings from those razor-sharp puppy teeth? By making sure your puppy has appropriate chews to gnaw on!
There are plenty of choice when looking for treats for your dog to chew on – from dehydrated chews, ‘dental sticks’ to rawhide and even vegetarian options like veggie Pig Ears. So, what’s is or isn’t safe for a puppy to chew?
Firstly – rawhide is definitely not – for any dog, at any age. Rawhide is extremely hard for a dog to digest, as well, many are bleached. Dogs also tend to break of large chunks, which can pose choking and blockage risks.
Naturally manufactured treats – such as dehydrated fish skin or sweet potato, are fine to give a teething puppy and are much safer than some other manufactured chews that are compressed into super hard bones. A puppy’s jaw is still developing during this period, and chews that are extremely hard can actually damage the formation of your puppy’s incoming adult teeth and also risk cracking them. Single ingredient dehydrated treats may be a bit softer and don’t last as long, but they still give your dog the chew they need, without the risks.
For teething puppies, putting a treat in the freezer first can add some pain relief. Freeze a carrot, making sure the size fits your puppy – it should not be so small as to pose a choking hazard. For super tiny puppies, frozen whole green beans may also be a good choice, but remember to limit how many give treats you give to a small puppy, 1 – 2 a day is plenty.
Raw Meaty Bones:
These are a personal choice, some people like them, some don’t. Raw meaty bones are what wild ‘dogs’ such as wolves or dingos would eat to satisfy their chew cravings. Raw bones are good because they are not so hard that they will cause problems with the incoming adult teeth, and the fleshy exterior and tendons can soothe gums while helping loosen stubborn baby teeth, especially the canines.
Just remember to keep size in perspective, both a bone too small or too big, can be an issue. For really small puppies, a wing tip may be enough. For large dogs a beef brisket or lamb necks rather than chicken bones, which could be too small and pose a choking hazard.
If purchasing a chewy treat, it’s important to read the label first. Some actually say they are not for dogs under a certain age. (eg: Greenies or Whimzees both say they are not suitable for dogs less than 6 or 9 months respectfully).
Puppies get their puppy teeth at around 4 weeks of age. These teeth then begin to fall out from 14-30 weeks (approx. 3.5 – 7.5 months old) and are replaced by adult teeth. This means that commercially made chews will be of no help to you during your puppy’s strongest chewing phase!
With any chew you give to a puppy, always supervise, do not leave them unattended with anything potentially hazardous, including chews. Choking and blockages are a real risk – if you notice your dog is not chewing small bites, but swallowing big chunks, take the item away and try something else.
While there are risks, thousands of puppies every day eat chews with no issue. Be smart, avoid the bad stuff and keep an eye on puppy.