Types of Chewing
There are 3 different phases of chewing for dogs – Teething, Adolescent and Adult. And all dogs should be supported with their chewing needs catered to for both mental and physical health.
The teething stages of chewing happen between 12 weeks and 7 months of age when puppies have an uncontrollable urge to chew to relieve some of the discomfort in their gums. Chewing also facilitates the removal of their puppy teeth and aids with the eruption of their adult set. It is very important that they are able to gnaw and rubs their gums on suitable surfaces to help ease the discomfort of their puppy teeth and aid the loss of their teeth as they loosen away from the gum line. They are also at this stage learning HOW to chew, puppies need to be given the opportunity to learn how to grind and gnaw from a young age to help them later in life.
The adolescent chewing phase for a dog occurs when the puppy is moving from puppyhood into adulthood and can vary from individuals. A basic timeframe is between 7 and 12 months of age, and it can last for up to 6 months. It is different from puppy teething as it happens after all of their puppy teeth have fallen out. Adolescent dogs often have an uncontrollable urge to chew, which could be because of discomfort in the gums as their adult teeth are settling into their jaw.
And finally, Adult Chewing. Adult dogs still have the same need to chew albeit for slightly different reasons rather than for teething relief and learning development. For older dogs, it’s nature’s way of keeping their jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can relieve mild anxiety or frustration.
Chewing Hints and Tips
- Learn how your dog chews. Every dog is different and what is suitable for one may not be for another. Some dogs are known as strong chewers, this is when they bear down and tear at the chew with strong jaws. If this sounds like your pet, look for chews meant to be easily digested, or for hard chews that won’t splinter, fracture, or tear to encourage proper gnawing behaviours.
- Watch your dog or puppy the first time they get anything new to chew. Eating a chew all in one go and in record time can give them an upset tummy, so it’s best to observe and supervise them carefully.
- They should – gnaw at the ends of the chew, gradually wearing it down.
- Match the size of the treat to the size of the dog. A dog needs to be able to pick up the chew, get its jaw around it and hold it between its paws. All dogs need chews that are big enough for them to enjoy and gnaw on without the risk of swallowing them whole. Never give a dog something they can fully fit whole in their mouth.
- Watch your pet carefully, no matter how they prefer to chew their toys or chews, it’s important that it is taken away when it becomes too small. Good chews are designed to wear down over time through gnawing, but they will still wear away. When they get to a size that the dog can fit the whole thing in their mouth it is best to take it away to reduce the risk of them swallowing it whole.
Choosing a Chew
There are loads of chews available for dogs and all have their benefits as well as differing suitability depending on the dog or puppy. This is again why it is very important to understand your dog’s individual chewing behaviour before choosing a product and of course to always monitor them.
Every dog is different and what is suitable for one may not be for another. Some dogs are known as strong chewers, this is when they bear down and tear at the chew with strong jaws. If this sounds like your pet, look for chews meant to be easily digested, or for hard chews that won’t splinter, fracture or tear to encourage proper gnawing behaviours.
You should watch your dog or puppy the first time they get anything new to chew. If they can tear at the chew and remove chunks easily or it looks as though they are going through it in record time it is best to take the treat away from them. This indicates that the chew is not for them.
The chew should also ALWAYS be removed when they become worn down and small enough to be swallowed, particularly harder chews such as starch chews, hide and antlers etc. We don’t want to risk any pet swallowing them whole.
Why not have a look at some of the chews we have available for your pet – https://www.petscorner.co.uk/dogs/treats/dog-chews
Our staff at Pets Corner are trained to give you the best advice when choosing the right chew for your pet. Pop into your local store and ask one of our advisors for further chewing advice for your pet.
Chewing behaviours can also be caused by other reasons...
Boredom – dogs left alone for long periods or those that are not getting enough mental and physical stimulation are likely to become bored. Working breeds have naturally high activity levels and can become easily bored in the wrong home. This can lead to destructive behaviour. As well as appropriate chews, we should also consider mental stimulation and provide opportunities to help alleviate boredom. We have lots to offer at Pets Corner, from puzzle games to interactive play toys – https://www.petscorner.co.uk/dogs/toys/activity-toys
Attention seeking – if the dog learns that chewing something forbidden (such as the TV remote) makes their owners get up and chase around the room, the animal quickly learns that this is a great way to get attention. Providing correct chewing materials and their own chews is super important to help alleviate attention-seeking chewing.
An unbalanced diet – for example, if a pet is not getting enough calcium the dog may try to compensate by chewing stones or plasterboard. All dogs should be fed according to their age, weight, health and the amount of exercise they receive. Reviewing your pet’s diet and speaking to one of the trained staff in-store can help ensure your dog is getting the key nutrients he needs for optimum health.