Why Dogs Like to Chew
Chewing is natural for dogs. Puppies chew on things as a way of exploring, but also to relieve the discomfort of new teething breaking through their gums. As dogs get older, some back off and chew less, while others continue on as vigorously as when they were puppies. Dogs primary sense is smell; they can smell things we never will. When it comes to touch, the way we would examine an object by feeling it, a dog will examine it with its mouth.
Dog owners who have puppies can expect chewing to occur. It is the owners responsibility to ensure that the puppy does not destroy things, either by being with them or keeping them confined in a safe place. Puppies need have plenty of chewable toys on hand to satisfy the need to chew. Shoes, socks, clothing, children's toys and other tempting items should be put out of the puppies reach.
Older dogs may continue to chew if they are bored, lonely or just because it is in their nature. Owners of Labrador Retrievers will be the first to tell how their dogs just about always have a toy their mouth, carrying it around and chewing on it when they are still. It is the nature of the breed. Owners of such dogs can provide their pet with durable chewable toys. It is best to get strong toys that the dog cannot consume. Rawhide may look durable but in cases of extreme chewers it can be gone in minutes.
Chewing should not be discouraged. It is natural behavior, and when dogs chew on the proper toys, it helps to promote healthy teeth and gums. Many chew toys will say on the packaging that they are veterinarian approved, when in doubt it is a good idea to ask the veterinarian if a certain chew toy is suitable. Keep a toy box with a few different chew toys and rotate them periodically. Your dog will love getting a new toy, even if it is not recently purchased!
Working with dogs and teaching them what they can and cannot chew, keeping them exercised and stimulated, and crating or confining them when necessary will keep the peace within the home.
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