September 30, 2020
2 min read
No, it isn't another reality show. But given the damage potential, it ought to be worth a few cash prizes. Chewing comes naturally to dogs and provides an outlet for canine energy.
It's what dogs want
Extreme chewers seek out bones just like any other dog. Bones are a natural byproduct of the hunt, containing trace vitamins and minerals while cleaning the dog's teeth of debris that might otherwise lead to expensive veterinary bills. Best of all, at least from the dog's point of view, they smell great.
The problem is that average cooked bones splinter, leaving dogs vulnerable to ulcers. Raw bones won't splinter as easily, but last no more than a day or two. For many dog owners that's almost a relief, since that meaty smell isn't so scintillating to most humans. That's why there are so many neater alternatives sold in pet supply stores. Chews are a big part of the approximately $48 billion spent on pets each year.
For owners of extreme chewers, this chewing is an unusually expensive habit. Staffordshire bull terriers, rottweilers and similar breeds can take apart a nylon bone or Kong toy in minutes. Rawhide bones disappear, swallowed almost whole. Even the most expensive chews last less than a day, leaving the owner with a lighter wallet, a few rubbery scraps to clean up and a grinning dog begging for more.
An alternative chew
The extreme chewer won't quit chewing. In fact, they'll give new meaning to the word, sculpting furniture and walls into unique shapes.
Extreme chewers can have their needs met, and at a reasonable cost to the owner. One long lasting and therefore comparatively inexpensive alternative is antlers. Antlers are a natural byproduct of annual male deer, elk and moose shedding. It is bone, but without a soft center. That makes it much harder to break or splinter.
Unlike rubber or nylon, antlers contain trace minerals. They have a scent far less detectable to humans than that of average bone chews. Dogs can chew to their heart's content while saving owners money since one extra large chunk of antler costs about 18 dollars. Compare that with the $20.99 for the most popular alternative.
Regardless of size or breed, all dogs should have their chewing needs met. Antlers are a cost effective alternative, even for extreme chewers.
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