How to stop destructive dog chewing
How do you stop your dog from chewing on everything? We don’t want puppies to chew our furniture, shoes, x-box remotes, makeup brushes… so how do we stop destructive dog chewing?
Give your puppy or dog enough appropriate things to chew on that are desirable and stimulating!
I’ve known for a long time that rawhides are dangerous for dogs-they can’t be digested, and can cause gastrointestinal blockages. I recently learned, however, that bones can be bad for you dogs, too! So, I’m sure you’re wondering, what is safe for my dog to chew on?
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My dog, Izzy, was recently diagnosed with autoimmune meningitis. Crazy, I know. She started losing balance and eventually couldn’t stand up or move. She had been having some slight limping due to arthritis, so when she first lost her balance, I thought it was due to that. We did x-rays and didn’t notice any worsening arthritis, but the vet said it could be in a different location and sent us home with pain meds. Izzy got progressively worse over the next day or two. Our amazing vet diagnosed her with meningitis and did a spinal tap, resulting in her old man baldness pattern. Her medication to treat the meningitis (prednisone, a steroid) slows hair growth, among other things, so she’s been rocking this style for about six months now.
Prednisone increases appetite, so Izzy has been starving! Poor girl, we don’t give her extra food, so she satiates herself by chewing. Her chewing picked up a lot initially, because the starting dose to treat her was super high, tapering off over time. I let her chew away…. until…..
SHE FRACTURED TWO TEETH!
I noticed her molar had a flap tearing off while she was sitting next to me, panting (another side effect of her meds, the list goes on). We took her to the vet and they confirmed two teeth had been fractured from chewing on bones. She can’t be anesthetized while on prednisone, so we have to wait until her course is over to do a dental. More on that later. In the meantime, she has pain meds when needed, but I soften her food by soaking it in water and mixing in some wet food.
So how do I stop destructive dog chewing for Izzy without using bones or rawhides? I give her more appropriate, healthy things that aren’t going to damage her teeth.
Now, chewing is vital for dogs. Some have a natural desire, and it helps clean their teeth. To prevent destructive dog chewing, Here are some options for what to give your dog instead of rawhide and bones
Fruits and Vegetables
Most people are surprised to learn that some fruits and vegetables are extremely healthy for you dog a can be a healthy treat that have the added bonus of cleaning their teeth! Be cautious, as not all fruits and vegetables are safe. Apples, carrots, broccoli, and zucchini are great crunchy treats that can clean teeth and freshen breath.
Some fruits and vegetables to watch out for that are not safe:
Apricot pits, raw cabbage, grapes and raisins, onions, potatoes greens of tomatoes,
http://www.ikibble.com is a great app to have for quick reference about which common foods are safe for your dog.
Himalayan Dog Chews
These have about 3 ingredients and are basically really hard cheese. The great thing is that when they become choking-hazard size you can microwave them and they soften. Get them here.
Ice is a great option for something to satisfy that crunch craving some dogs have. Ice is also a great treat for summertime. Add some treats and toys to a bowl of water, freeze it, and let your dog to to town on it in the summer heat.
Bully sticks are a similar texture to rawhide, so they can be very satisfying for dogs. These are one of my favorite options to prevent destructive dog chewing. They also have a very strong smell, which dogs will love, but you may not. I always make my dog take hers outside. Try to find the scentless variety if you can. Bully sticks are more digestible than rawhide, but small pieces may still be swallowed, so make sure your dog has a bully stick that is the appropriate size for them. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. I like the braided ones because they last even longer. Get them here.
Everlasting Dog Treat
The Everlasting Dog Treat is an extremely durable rubber ball in different shapes with a spot to insert a long-lasting dog treat. It can also be filled with peanut butter, similar to a Kong. They are good for puppies and light chewers, but heavy chewers go through the insertable treat pretty quickly. Find some here.
Rag soaked in chicken broth, frozen
This is a great option for dogs that do not eat fabric. Some dogs are known to swallow clothing and soft toys, so don’t use this option if you have a stinker like that. The soft, cold texture is great for teething puppies.
There are edible dog chews for purchase that are hard and long lasting for puppies, but usually don’t last long for adult dogs. They are a great option for teething, as they are made with completely edible ingredients and are made with textures that will sooth sore gums. Here’s the link.
Antlers are a good option for strong chewers. They are long lasting and will clean teeth well. They are probably the hardest alternative to bones, so be wary about tooth damage and always monitor your dog. You can purchase antlers that are split, exposing the inside. I find these to be more enticing for dogs to chews. Here is an example. Be sure to find the right size for your dog.
Nylon chews are one of the best things for you dog to chew on. They are hard enough to clean teeth but not too hard that they will cause damage. They are unlikely to break and be swallowed (I’ve never encountered this but it is possible). They come in a variety of different flavors, textures, and styles. You can get some attached to toys and ropes, and there are even wood flavored ones if you have dog that enjoys chewing on sticks. There is something out there for every style of chewer. Every dog I’ve watched or fostered has loved the Benebone. They even make a softer, smaller variety for puppies.
To stop destructive dog chewing, There are plenty of safe options out there to keep your dog’s need to chew satisfied, as well as keep their teeth clean. Stay safe, and happy dog momming!