Why do Puppies Need Different Chew Treats?
If you are heading to a pet store and are looking for chew treats for your puppy, the choice may look like a no-brainer. Pet stores are now heavily stocked when it comes to dental chews, chew treats and chew bones. Yet, not all pet parents are aware of the fact that puppies have special requirements. Don't make the mistake of choosing just any chew treat you find in the store. Be an informed consumer and learn why those appealing chew treats may not be suitable for little Chewbacca.
Yes, puppies chew and that's a perfectly normal behavior. When dog owners tell me "my puppy chews" I explain to them that that's exactly what they need to do. First of all, as human babies, puppies go through an oral-stage where they will "taste" everything in sight to better learn about their surroundings. Second, puppies need to chew to get relief from those sore gums, help cut those permanent teeth and get those jaws to grow strong. Last but not least, chewing is fun and when dogs chew endorphins are released, which will ultimately make your dog relax. Ever seen a dog fall asleep with a bone between his paws? Yet, puppies are different from adult dogs in many ways. Let's take a look at why you need to look for chew treats suitable for puppies.
- Puppy baby teeth are delicate. Yes, they are quite brittle and can break easily compared to adult teeth according to Advanced Animal Dentistry.
- Puppies have more delicate digestive systems compared to dogs. After being weaned, a pup's digestive system is not entirely developed compared to an adult dog.
- Puppies tend to gulp down items fast and may be prone to intestinal obstructions. Some dental chews that are OK for adult dogs may be swallowed and cause a blockage in a puppy.
So now that we know why you should not feed your puppy dental chews designed for dogs, you may be interested in knowing exactly what dental chews may be available for your pup. You'll be surprised that most of the chews you find in your pet store are actually not designed with young puppies in mind.
So What Chews are Suitable for Puppies?
For starters, lets look at what chews are not suitable for young puppies, which are the majority. Stay away from any chews that are harder than your dog's teeth, recommends the American Animal Hospital Association. This means avoid feeding nylon bones, cow bones and any real bones in general. All these bones have the potential of breaking your pup's teeth! Other bones to be worried about include cooked bones which can easily splinter and chop or rib bones which can easily cause choking or may get caught in the pup's mouth, suggests Advanced Animal Dentistry.
So what's left you may say? Well there are some chew treats that may help a teething puppy feel better, you just need to be aware of them. Some may be found in your home's fridge. The occasional frozen carrot, apple, blueberry or string bean may help, suggests Vet Street. These dog-friendly frozen delights may give some relief to those sore gums while giving an opportunity to chew on something acceptable and appealing.
If you are looking for something produced commercially, make sure you read the fine print very, very carefully. You'll be surprised that many dental chews that appear quite innocuous are actually not recommended for puppies younger than 6 months!
Chew Treats for Teething Puppies Aged 3 Months and Older
If your puppy is younger than 6 months, you may be happy to hear that a new line of Nylabone products was crafted with teething puppies 3 months and older in mind. Look for Nyablone's Healthy Edibles and Nutri Dent Chews with the word "puppy" on the packaging. These were crafted with both a puppy's delicate teeth in mind and its delicate digestive system.
Chew Treats for Puppies Aged 6 Months and Older
Surprisingly, even some of the dog dental chews designed for dogs and receiving the Veterinary Oral Health Council stamp of approval were found not to be suitable for puppies under 6 months of age. If your puppy is over 6 months though, you may find Greenies, Check Ups and Bright Bites appealing dental chews especially since they have the VOHC seal of approval.
If you're looking for chew toys for puppies, don't forget about Kong's line of toys made specifically for puppies. Kong's Teething Stick, for instance, is made of a softer, more pliable material just for pups.
Disclaimer: this article is not to be used as a replacement for a veterinarian's nutritional advice. By reading this article you accept this disclaimer. Consult with your vet for health and nutritional advice.
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Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 13, 2013:
Yes, those sharp shark teeth can really hurt! To teach my pups to stop nipping my "ouch!" were quite authentic.
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on January 13, 2013:
Their little teeth can be laser sharp so you might as well entertain them with a chew toy rather than your fingers.