Did you know that dogs can be just as destructive as children when it comes to playtime? It doesn't matter how old your pet is they'll always have a way to get bored. And boredom leads to gnawing, which can wreak havoc on furniture and other household items. If you don't want your home to end up looking like the set from "Home Improvement," then you need to learn about the dangers of letting your pets gnaw things.
If one of your furry friends does start gnawing on your favorite chair, you should immediately take action. However, sometimes the damage isn't so easy to see, especially if the item has been damaged by gnaws years ago and was replaced by a newer model.
This is why it's important to understand exactly what types of things your dog likes to chew on. You may think they're only interested in destroying your shoes and scratching at your furniture, but this isn't necessarily true. Dogs will often resort to gnawing anything plastic, wood or rubber because these are usually harmless items.
In fact, even if they're not trying to destroy them, they'll still try to break them down into smaller pieces. Your dog's desire to chew on something isn't really dangerous unless it causes him harm. The most common type of injury occurs when dogs tear off part of their mouth while eating something, which can lead to infections. Your best bet is to keep your dog away from objects that he might try to eat or chew on.
Before we go over different ways to prevent your dog from chewing on certain things, let's talk about what types of things your dog actually needs to chew on. First of all, you should never give your pet raw meat or bones. Raw meat is full of bacteria that could make your dog sick, and bones contain calcium. These substances aren't good for your pet's teeth or gums, so it's better to feed them cooked food instead.
You probably already know that some foods are bad for dogs' dental health. Chocolate, potato chips and cookies all contain sugars that encourage bacteria growth in the mouth. Other snacks, such as raisins or grapes, are also harmful. Most dried fruits can cause problems too, since they dry out the inside of your pet's mouth.
Onions and garlic won't hurt your dog, but they can irritate his digestive system. Finally, chewy candies made with sugar are extremely hard to digest and can cause stomach ulcers in dogs.
Now that you know what to look for in healthy treats, you might wonder what kind of chew toy would satisfy your dog's natural instinct to gnaw. Keep reading to find out.
The average adult human weighs between 70 and 150 pounds (31 to 68 kilograms), and the average child weighs anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds (4 to 9 kilograms). For comparison purposes, the smallest known wild carnivorous mammal is the pygmy mouse, which weighs less than 2 ounces (57 grams).
When it comes to keeping your dog entertained, bone-shaped chew toys are among the top choices. Bones provide lots of exercise for your pet, plus they help clean his teeth and stimulate his jaw muscles. This makes them ideal for long walks, hikes and camping trips. Because bones are hollow, they allow your dog to gnaw on them without causing any real damage.
When your pet wants to check out another piece, he simply extends the bone further until he finds something edible. Although many people prefer artificial bones, others believe that real bones carry more nutritional value and therefore offer more benefits to your pet.
Real bones should come from cows, sheep or goats, but chicken bones are OK too. While a lot of dogs refuse to touch cow bones, they tend to accept goat and sheep bones quite readily. Before giving your dog a new chew toy, make sure you wash it thoroughly under warm water. Any dirt or germs should be removed before offering your pet the snack.
To make choosing easier, many stores sell specialty chew toys designed specifically to meet individual needs. Some specialize in training, others focus on entertainment, and some are even made to resemble popular characters. With so many options available, you shouldn't have trouble finding toys your pup will love.
Keeping your dog occupied can be difficult if you don't have enough time to walk him. One solution is to buy a chew toy that requires frequent attention. Fibrous materials, like rope and nylon strings, are great for this purpose. They can also help clean your pet's teeth.
However, they can pose a threat to your carpet and flooring. If your dog chews on a string or rope, be careful to pick it up right after he finishes. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with sticky residue left behind.
Even though ropes and strings are relatively safe, they can cause a few problems if used improperly. You should never leave a fiber toy lying around where your pet can access it. Instead, store it in a sealed container or use a treat ball to hide it. Don't forget to replace the rope or string regularly, either. If your dog takes a bite out of it, throw it away immediately and get a replacement.
On the next page, you'll discover alternative chew toys that are safer to chew on.
If you own a cat, you know that its natural instincts are far worse than those of dogs. Cats are notorious for clawing, jumping onto high places and swatting at flies. Their claws can easily shred paper, rip through fabric and gouge skin.
Although cats tend to scratch themselves more than dogs, owners often underestimate the potential danger. A simple precautionary measure is to trim your cat's nails every six weeks or whenever they begin growing longer. To reduce the amount of damage inflicted during these manicures, cut the nail close to the quick rather than cutting straight across.
Like bones, nuts are excellent chew toys that help relieve stress and provide energy. Nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals, and they're generally low in calories. So if your dog gets hungry and tired of traditional dog biscuits, consider switching to nut-based alternatives.
Many dogs also enjoy the texture and taste of nuts, so they're perfect for satisfying cravings. Just remember to monitor your pet closely if he eats any raw nuts. Like onions and garlic, they can cause gastrointestinal distress.
Of course, not everything that goes into your pet's mouth is going to stay there forever. Once you've finished munching on nuts, you should discard any shells and pits. Even if your pet didn't swallow any of the pit, it can affect his digestion. As mentioned earlier, raw nuts are particularly hazardous because they can become lodged in your pet's throat.
There are plenty of fun ways to entertain your dog indoors. Read on to find out what games and activities work well together. It's impossible to predict how a wolf will change over the course of thousands of years.
Scientists have discovered several anatomical features unique to modern wolves, including a large hole near the back of their skulls called a dural window. Through this opening, they can hear sounds from outside, allowing them to hunt prey successfully.
Toys Made of Wood
Wooden toys are widely considered the safest option for your dog. Unlike plastic, metal or rubber, wood provides no risk of choking hazards or sharp edges. Wooden toys are also very durable, so they last for months or even years. Not surprisingly, wooden toys are also cheap. Since they're mostly manufactured overseas, they cost significantly less than toys made elsewhere.
While wooden toys are undoubtedly the safest choice for most dogs, they can still be dangerous. For example, if your pet decides to chew on a splinter, it can cause serious injuries. Splinters are tiny bits of wood that break off larger objects. If your animal swallows one, it can lodge itself deep within the digestive tract. If your pet doesn't seek medical attention quickly, the splinter may eventually perforate his insides.
Because of the risks associated with wooden toys, it's important to supervise your pet while he plays with them. Make sure that you remove any splinters prior to handing your dog a new toy. If your dog begins to show signs of discomfort, contact your vet immediately.
Also, don't let your pet play with sticks, twigs or other small objects that might seem insignificant compared to bigger pieces of wood. They can potentially snap off and injure his mouth or eyes. Most importantly, never share a wooden chew toy with another person or animal. Wooden toys are fragile, and sharing them can result in serious injury.
Safe Snack Ideas
With so many options for keeping your pet busy, it's easy to overlook the importance of providing your four-legged friend with safe snacks. Fruits and vegetables are nutritious, but they can also contain pesticides and waxes that might upset his digestive system.