Why are there SOOO many choices out there when it comes to chew treats? Well, that’s because dogs like to CHEW! And, they need to chew.
Chewing releases endorphins, which helps relax them and bring about a sense of calm; much like exercise does. Most chew treats help strengthen gums and remove plaque from the teeth. Some chews are even hard enough to remove tartar which clings to teeth like a barnacle – a barnacle filled with bacteria and hair. Tartar is a major cause of bad breath.
So, with so many options, how do you choose? One thing that ALL chews have in common is that your dog should ALWAYS be supervised when chewing. Appropriately sized treats must also be carefully selected. If your dog swallows treats in large pieces without chewing, you must choose an over-sized treat for them. If you are unsure, bring your dog into your nearest Tail Blazers and let them help you choose.
While many vets warn against some chews such as Elk Antlers and Raw Bones in fear of broken teeth and internal punctures, many have realized that while these things can happen (accidents DO happen), the risks of NOT chewing are much higher. If dogs are supervised and given appropriately sized treats, the risks go down significantly.
The following are a list of some popular dogs chews:
Bully Sticks – bully sticks, otherwise know as “pizzles” are made from the penis of the bull. While production varies from vendor to vendor, most sort and dry the bull sticks by hanging and baking. The longer the product is dried, the less smell it produces. “Odor Free” bully sticks are typically more expensive due to the production taking longer.
Not all bull sticks are approved by Tail Blazers. Some companies irradiate their products, and others are made with inferior raw materials. The bull sticks that Tail Blazers caries have been carefully selected for safety. Two local companies we support are Puppy Love Pet Products and Aron Pet Food.
When choosing a bull stick for your dog, choose one that is too small or too big to become a choking hazard. While chewing these sticks thoroughly is ideal, if one is swallowed without incident, it is usually digested or passed.
Bull sticks are not hard enough to remove tartar from teeth, but are good for strengthening gums and they keep your dog happy and busy!
Nature’s Premium Elk Antler Chew
Elk Antlers – elk antlers are just that. Elk antlers! Antlers are naturally shed from the elk and manufacturers gather and cut them into smaller pieces for dog chews. The antlers are cleaned and have the velvet removed.
Antlers are hard enough to remove tartar from teeth, but this benefit is what also makes them indigestible. While the marrow can be consumed without incident, the outer shell is only for chewing. Due to their tenacity, these chews are very long lasting.
As with any chew, supervision and proper size selection will reduce or eliminate any risk associated with the chews. At Tail Blazers we carry a large selection of elk antler chews and most are made right here in Canada like Puppy Love Pet Products and Nature’s Premium!
The Big Bit On Dog Chews
Raw Bones – Raw bones come in all shapes and sizes. From ribs, to necks, knuckles and femurs, all are great at removing plaque and tartar and keeping your pup occupied. Although small pieces of raw, fresh, bone swallowed will unlikely do any harm, larger pieces should not be swallowed. Bones that are fresh and contain moisture are much less likely to fracture and splinter than bones that have been left out in the sun and dried out.
A good rule of thumb is that if the bone supports the animal’s weight, and the weight of the animal is great, then the harder the bone will be. For instance, a rib bone of an elk will be much “softer” than a leg bone of a bison. Of course the harder the bone the longer lasting it is. So if you are worried about cracked teeth, choose NON-weight bearing bones.
And of course, supervision is always required. Tail Blazers has a large selection of raw bones from local manufacturers to suit dogs of all shapes and sizes. Always serve bones raw – never cooked.
Some consumers are often curious why Tail Blazers does not carry rawhide. We have very good reasons; I assure you!
Rawhide – is made from the hide of an animal, usually a cow. Unfortunately, many chemical processes are applied to the rawhide during processing. Sodium sulphide liming, washed and whitened with hydrogen peroxide, and even arsenic and formaldehyde can make an appearance. Not to mention the addition of artificial colours and flavours in several varieties.
Rawhide is linked to stomach torsion, choking, vomiting, diarrhea, and salmonella poisoning. And, another downfall of rawhide is that it is very unlikely to be produced locally. We feel we have made a wise decision for your dog leaving rawhide out of our chew selection!
While there are MANY more options, these just touch on a few of the most popular. Good luck chew-sing! (pun intended)