Puppies need items to chew on in order to keep them busy. If they don’t have items to chew on, they may destroy things around the house, like your favorite pair of shoes. Not everything for sale in the dog aisle is suitable for puppies though, as some chewing items can even be harmful to dogs under one year of age.
Items that are unsuitable for puppies to chew include:
Though readily available anywhere pet supplies are sold, rawhide items should not be given to a dog until she is at least one year old. The developing digestive systems of young puppies can not always digest rawhide. If a puppy eats a piece of rawhide, it can damage her throat, stomach, or intestines, causing an expensive trip to the vet.
Also, puppies tend to swallow rawhide whole, or in large chunks, not only causing the aforementioned problems, but choking as well. Rawhide is better for dogs with more experience, dogs who realize it is better to eat little chunks, rather than whole pieces.
Most dogs find pig’s ears delicious, but they are not for puppies. Again, like rawhide, puppies like to try and swallow pig’s ears whole, and their digestive systems are not equipped to deal with such a burden. A dog should only swallow a piece of pig ear after they have worked at it to get it soft a chewy. Most puppies just don’t have the patience to wear a pig’s ear down.
Vinyl Chew Toys
These cheap squeak toys usually last about 5 minutes, but take a couple of days for the puppy to pass the pieces of the toy out the other end. This is never pleasant for the puppy, or the owner. Invest in latex or rubber chew toys, as they are more resilient to chewing, and last longer.
Items suitable for puppies to chew include:
Latex and Rubber Toys
As previously mentioned, these toys have more give to them, so that a puppy has a hard time braking off and swallowing chunks of the toy. Kong toys are the staple in the market, as treats can be put in them to further entertain the puppy, but any high quality rubber toy will do.
Bones made out of nylon flake off in rice grain size pieces and easily pass through the digestive track of a puppy. These bones are often infused with flavor, helping to entice puppies to chew them. Nylabone also makes a dental bone that is covered with bumps, which are great for teething puppies.
Rope and Material Toys
Puppies are much like teething children, and enjoy putting items with different textures in their mouths. Many toys incorporate rope, rubber, and sturdy material to satisfy the urge of a puppy to chew many different textures. Some of these toys can even be put into the freeze to help sooth the painful gums of a teething puppy.
Though messy, natural bones provide hours of entertainment for puppies. A puppy just loves to gnaw off every little piece of meat they can find on a natural marrow bone or beef knuckle. Make sure the bones have either been smoked and boiled in salt water, or are completely uncooked. If the bones have been cooked, they will splinter and possibly injure the dog.
Whenever a puppy is given something to chew, they should always be supervised to ensure that they don’t choke. If you have any questions about the suitability of a chew toy for your puppy, a staff member at your favorite pet store should be able to help.