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Destructive Chewing - Hey That's My Shoe!

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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If you don't give your dog his own personal things to chew, he will be forced to satisfy his natural instincts by chewing the things around him. And trust me, he'll find plenty of things that are pleasing to chew ... like your favorite shoes, those new throw pillows or the living room sofa! Bummer.

Destructive chewing behavior can really test your undying love for your four-legged pal.

But did you know that it could also cause a lot of serious health problems for your dog?

Eating the stuffing in those pillows and sofa cushions can lead to serious gastro-intestinal
problems. Painful splinters from chewed wood can cut your dog's gums or become deeply lodged in his paws or gums. Once swallowed, those buttons from your favorite cardigan sweater can become stuck in your dog's throat, causing him to choke or lodged in his intestine causing a life-threatening obstruction.

Yes, dogs love to chew. It can be a very soothing activity that brings your dog a lot of comfort... or a very dangerous one that threatens his very life. You can't change your dog's biology. The fact is, he's driven to chew.

What can you do?

Well, to begin with you can make the activity safe for him (and easier on you) by getting him his very own chew toy.

Every dog needs a great chew toy. It can bring your playful pup tons of fun! A good chew toy will satisfy his natural urge to chew, help keep his life interesting and keep him contentedly entertained for hours on end. It can also help break your dog of those destructive chewing behaviors.

When you're shopping for a good chew toy, choose wisely. The wrong chew toys could lead to serious health problems, including choking, gastro-intestinal blockages and painful dental damage. Here are some important safety tips for choosing chew toys.

  • Size matters. Make sure the chew toy is the right size. Avoid toys that are small enough for your dog to swallow or too large for your pup to play with comfortably.

  • No spare parts. Make sure the toy has no pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed. Don't buy toys with sewn-on eyes. Some dogs will even tear toys apart to find the squeakers inside... and swallow them!

  • The right stuff. If your dog tends to tear stuffed toys apart and eat the stuffing, look out! It can make him really sick. Look for durable toys that will be hard for your dog to chew apart.

  • Get involved. When you first give your dog a new toy, supervise his play to make sure he plays with it appropriately.

  • Keep it clean. Between the dirt and drool, your dog's chew toys can become pretty disgusting ... not to mention a natural breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria. Choose a toy that can be washed and keep it clean.

    My staff and I are always on the lookout for the best new dog toys, so we've tested plenty of chew toys over the years. We love bottle toys such as the Bottle Crunchers and Kong toys that are durable. Check your local pet store for good durable toys.

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