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Dog Chews and Safety

Dog chewing Wapiti treat
Chewing is very important for your dog’s mental and oral health. A dog that has chewed for thirty minutes is busy, contented and then more apt to take a nap than eat your shoes! For dogs, chews are not a luxury, but a necessity. It keeps their teeth clean, their body exercised and their mind occupied.  However, everything your dog puts in his or her mouth has a potential for harm.
Many factors contribute to the safety or danger of a toy and a number of them depend upon your dog’s size, activity level, and preferences. There are many chews out there for you to choose from for your 4 legged kids. Choosing the correct size dog chew is one of the most important factors. Some choices include rawhide, real bones, frozen raw bones, plastic & fabric toys, and antler chews. Just to name a few. Here is my list of do’s and don’ts.
Unfortunately rawhide is not digestible. I have firsthand knowledge of the effects of rawhide on a dog’s body. I have had Labrador Retrievers my whole life. About eight years ago my dog stopped going potty, became lethargic, and seemed to be in pain. We brought him to the vet right away. The rawhide he had been chewing on had wrapped itself around his small intestines. It was quite an expensive surgery, but he was just fine after. Needless to say we never gave him rawhide again.
Raw Bones
I am a huge advocate of raw bones. They keep your pets busy and are very good for their oral care. There are two important factors to keep in mind when feeding raw bones. Size and chewing ability are key factors. I would never give a #70 Labrador a 4” raw bone. I always say pick the size chew you think is correct and then grab one size bigger.
Plastic & Fabric Toys
There are a wide variety of pet toys on the market. They greatly range in price. These toys are usually meant to be torn apart by your pet and discarded. They are not made to last very long. Many pets love to chew on these. They generally eat the stuffing, or pieces that fall off. I do not waste my money on these plastic or stuffed toys. I choose to purchase long lasting bones that are great for their oral care as well.
Antler Chews
I am a huge advocate for antler chews. They are long lasting; the correct size can keep your pet busy for weeks on end, and (when purchased from a reputable company) is one of the safest pet chews on the market. With Antler Chews the only thing to be careful of is the company you purchase from. I choose Wapiti Labs Elk Antlers because they are; guaranteed grade A+, washed with well water only (no harsh chemicals), they come from their own elk ranch in MN, and they are tested for Chronic Wasting Disease and Tuberculosis. I do not trust wild shed antler because you do not know where they came from and there is no way to test the wild elk for diseases. Wild shed antler are also much more likely to splinter.
Krissy Ailara 11/30/15

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