How to Make Chewing Safe for Your Dog

Internal blockage. This is about matching your dog’s chewing size and chewing style to the right chew toy. Some strong chewers go through chews so quickly that big hunks of the product end up forming blockages in the digestive tract. This can also happen when dogs grind down and swallow an entire chew. Read the labels to make sure you’re getting the right size, and monitor your dog’s chewing to prevent an entire chew from being ingested quickly. Dispose of any pieces that could pose a choking or swallowing hazard, and never leave your dog unsupervised with a chew toy. Finally, watch for signs of blockage, such as vomiting and lack of appetite. Contamination. Many brands of jerky treats have been recalled but may still be on store shelves. Check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website for recall information (you can also sign up for alerts). And handle chew treats and toys appropriately, washing your hands after handling to minimize risk to you and your human family. If your dog shows any signs of illness, check with your veterinarian.

Ask the Experts for Advice

Veterinarians, trainers and behaviorists can help you select the right chew toys and treats for your dog. As a veterinarian, I’ve pulled too many of the wrong ones out during surgery and dealt with too many cracked or broken teeth to steer you wrong. Trainers and behaviorists, such as my daughter Mikkel Becker, use chew toys as food puzzles (such as by stuffing a Kong) to help address behavior challenges such as inappropriate chewing or separation anxiety.

Pet care professionals hate to see dogs denied the pleasure of chewing or hurt by bad selections. Just ask! We’ll help you find what's right for your pet.

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