Unless their chew of choice happens to be your coffee table legs or favorite pair of sneakers, your dog’s chomping habits are doing some serious good. Regularly gnawing on designated chew toys (like scented and flavor-infused Benebones) comes with perks you can’t always see, but they help keep your pup healthy, happy, and bursting with butt wiggles. Take a bite below:
1. Relieves Stress & Anxiety
When you come home from work to find your throw pillows have exploded all over the living room, it’s obvious your dog has been enjoying some reckless chewing. The telltale cause? Stress and boredom!
High energy dogs will chew to relieve stress, even if it means turning on your home decor. Providing appropriate chew toys (in addition to adequate exercise, of course) can help lessen anxiety and give your dog something on which to focus their attention. Scented toys provide added stimulation, as do toys that incorporate treats or chews.
2. Reduces Plaque Buildup
Next to brushing your dogs teeth, the scraping action as dogs chew helps to keep their teeth clean and free of pesky plaque. If plaque accumulates on the tooth’s surface, it can inflame gums and allow tough-to-remove tartar to grow. The result, over time, is the formation of dental disease that can affect the rest of the mouth and body.
3. Burns Excess Energy
While going for a long walk, throwing a ball around, or taking your dog for a jog around the neighborhood is ideal to shave off layers of energy, chewing is still working muscles.
Particularly when the weather isn’t nice enough to go outside, a good chew session and mental muscle flex are great ways to wear out an active pup and calm an overactive mind. As we all know, a tired dog is a happy dog!
4. Helps Puppies Explore The World
Puppies learn from everything you do—and don’t—let them do. Introducing them to appropriate chewing outlets gives them a safe way to begin to explore the world through their mouth.
Those tiny needle teeth need something to get them through the teething process more effectively than nipping your bare skin. Teaching a positive association with chew toys vs, say, your TV cords and couch corners, will go a long way as they continue to grow.
5. Indicates Potential Health Issues
If your dog enjoys chewing and then suddenly, or over time, loses interest in the activity, it may indicate a potential dental issue. Dogs don’t always tell us if they’re uncomfortable or in pain, but we can learn to identify when something is wrong based on deviations from normal behavior.
When dogs stop chewing (or even show less enthusiasm for crunchy treats or dry food, sometimes picking them up only to drop them again), it might be time for a vet visit to rule out something more serious.