Guest post by Karena Richardson
Wagging tails, exciting barks, and several joyful leaps greet me each day as I return home. There is always additional excitement when I arrive home with a beloved brown paper Whole Dog Market bag! My six fur girls know it distinctly and are always overjoyed to see which treats or chews are among its contents.
My home is far from lacking when it comes to tail wags, licks, and fur child love! My girls each found my husband and I in different ways, and our lives wouldn't be nearly as full of love without each of them. They range from 4 pounds to 40 pounds, and each has its own individual likes, dislikes, quirks, strengths, and faults! My pack is comprised of Yorkie mix, Autumn; Pomeranians, Espresso and River; tiny Poodle, Paris, Papillon mix, Enya Rose; and Husky, Gypsy!
People often ask how I can manage having a multi-dog household while keeping up with a busy lifestyle and maintaining sanity! Among a few other things, keeping my girls’ mouths and minds occupied through chewing is a top priority.
“Dogs have an instinctual need to chew. It is nature’s way of easing puppy teething pain and keeping teeth healthy and strong as a dog gets older.”
Why do dogs love to chew? If you have a dog or have ever had a puppy, you know that dogs love to chew! You may have even been the victim of some destructive chewing. You came home from a long day of work to find that your beloved companion had decided to use your new slippers or the TV remote as his latest and greatest chewing conquest!
Dogs have an instinctual need to chew. It is nature’s way of easing puppy teething pain and keeping teeth healthy and strong as a dog gets older. Chewing also releases endorphins in a dog’s brain! Endorphins are often called “happy” chemicals. This release can be compared to the feeling humans have when laughing. Therefore, dogs will use chewing to naturally ease anxiety and stress. It is also a great resource for getting out some excess energy on a rainy day when a walk or a run to the park is just not feasible!
Toughness matters, but chews can be given in intervals. Giving a chew for 30-45 minutes at a time will satisfy your pups chewing desires, but allow the chews to last for more than one chewing session, depending on the item of choice. At my house, evening chewing time is a sacred event beloved by both dog and human! After dinner, my husband and I settle down to watch our newest Netflix obsession while the girls dig into a chew. It’s a wonderful time of quiet aside from the sound of six busy mouths chomping away. Even tiny Paris enjoys a good chew session.
“Dogs have an instinctual prey drive, so if your pooch can’t “kill” a chew fast enough, he may get tired of it.”
Speaking of our tiny friends, don’t underestimate the power of a tiny jaw! The smaller girls in our house enjoy chewing as much as the bigger ones. Just because your fur kid is on the smaller side of the canine scale doesn’t mean they don’t also wish to chew.
Many little dogs can conquer much more than us human counterparts realize, and will often take on twice their size depending on age and chew desire. Being small does not mean their desires are any different from their wolfish ancestors. With smaller pooches, I always say go for a smaller chew and you can always increase the size as needed. Keep in mind that if your dog gets bored with a chew, it may be too big for him. Dogs have an instinctual prey drive, so if your pooch can’t “kill” a chew fast enough, he may get tired of it.
“Chewing also releases endorphins in a dog’s brain! Endorphins are often called ‘happy’ chemicals. This release can be compared to the feeling humans have when laughing. Therefore, dogs will use chewing to naturally ease anxiety and stress.”
These are just a few of the most popular ideas and options among my pack! No matter what chew your pup decides to favor, always monitor them during chew time, especially when trying out a new option. Offering a couple of chew sessions per week has greatly reduced mental frustration, helped my girls cope with stress/anxiety, helped fight boredom, and has ultimately led to an overall calmer home. We hope you and your pups experience the same!
Happy chewing adventures, fur-iends, from my pack to yours!