The Importance of Chewing

There are few parts of dog ownership more annoying than coming home and finding the house chewed up, with pieces of pillow everywhere, or your favorite pair of shoes devoured. Why does your furry friend feel the need to taste test and chew up everything in the house? Dogs like to chew as a way to explore their environment, so giving your pup appropriate things to chew on is important.


A major reason to give your dog appropriate things to chew on is to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Having chews or stimulating toys gives them something to do, rather than allowing them to become bored and chew on inappropriate things.

You often have to work with your pup to teach him which items are appropriate to chew. Many toys don't smell like you, whereas items like your shoes have an intense smell and attract your pooch. Playing fetch and redirecting their chewing behaviors to appropriate toys or chews can help associate appropriate chewing with objects that you permit them to chomp on.

You might wonder what types of chews are appropriate. Look for strong toys and treats that are marketed for chewing, as opposed to soft toys that are meant for playing.  Stick with something that smells great to your pooch such as trachea, duck feet, chicken feet, or bully sticks. These are a little softer than actual bones, and most pets love the taste.

Elk and deer antlers have become popular in the last few years. Antlers don’t smell, and they don’t create any mess as your dog chews on it, but the taste of the marrow seems to be a real prize! Your dog can get additional calcium in his diet by chewing on these, and it’s nice to know that no harm came to any elk or deer because they naturally shed their antlers. We recommend choosing an antler large enough so it can’t go entirely into the mouth. Of course, this would be true for any pet chew!

Dental Benefits

When your dog chews, you want them to have something that provides a benefit, such as clean teeth. We offer many varieties of dental chews that clean your pet’s teeth or freshen breath. Some of these are flavored or treated with compounds to fight plaque, while others clean tartar off the teeth as your dog chews into them. Greenies dental chews have the Veterinary Oral Health Council's seal that they meet labeled claims. Another brand is Ark Naturals, which offers a variety of dental chews, including one for dogs with sensitive gums. Missing Link has created a dental chew called Smartmouth, which also provides skin & coat benefits.

Other Benefits

Some natural chews (such as trachea) have additional components like glucosamine, which helps promote healthy joints and decrease pain from arthritis. Bones, like antlers, provide calcium, an important cell signaling messenger and component of your pet's own body structure.

Years ago, rawhide was a popular chew treat. But rawhide can be very hard for dogs to digest, and there is concern over how the hides are cleaned in various countries. We recommend rawhide-alternative chews instead. These are made with completely digestible ingredients and provide the same chewing satisfaction. Earth Animal No-Hide Chews and SmartBones are two very popular brands available in a variety of flavors, sizes, and shapes.

Femur and marrow bones satisfy a dog’s natural chewing urges, but we strongly suggest giving bones under supervision. Primal Pet Foods describes the benefits of their raw bones as “an excellent method to exercise (dog’s and cat’s) jaws, massage their gums and clean their teeth while consuming amino and essential fatty acids that promote a superior level of dental and digestive health”.

Check out at the variety of chewing products we offer at Jake's Pet Supply. There are many more items that aren’t shown on our website, but we’ll be glad to deliver any you request!

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