Puppies explore the world with their mouths and teeth. Providing them with appropriate puppy chew toys will keep your shoes, rugs and wood furniture intact, not to mention your hands and limbs. I will never forget the time I returned home to find the entire side of a brand new couch in shreds! This kind of destructive chewing can be avoided by providing your puppy with appropriate chew toys and a safe environment where they can’t get into trouble.
For the first 6 to 8 months of their life, puppies are teething and will experience mouth discomfort. Chewing can help relieve tender gums. Puppies chew for a variety of reasons besides mouth discomfort in the teething period. They could be bored, seeking attention or even experiencing separation anxiety. Whatever the reason, it is important to provide them with things you want them to chew or you may find them chewing on things you don’t want them chewing. Biting and chewing is natural for your puppy and they will not be able to distinguish what is yours and what is theirs. Toys with texture provide soothing relief as do toys you can freeze. For natural puppy teething solutions, check out Raising Rascal.
My favorite puppy chew toys include rope toys, kongs and nylabones because of their durability. The kongs are nice because you can fill them with kibble mixed with peanut butter, freeze them and then give it to them in their kennel when you are away for a while. It will provide a nice diversion for your puppy.
Puzzle type interactive toys that hide treats are also a great option providing mental stimulation as well as interactive fun for your puppy. Lick mats are a new favorite distraction! You can put ground up kibble mixed with peanut butter, apple sauce and natural baby foods and freeze them. They will provide your dog with less anxiety, can slow down their eating and can reduce destructive behavior. CAUTION: You still need to keep a close eye that your puppy doesn’t devour the mat along with the food treat! Search the web for interactive dog toys. Outward Hound and Kong are two brands you might explore.
My girls would tear apart stuffed toys and leave the stuffing everywhere, but these new stuffing-free toys seem to remain intact and keep them quite entertained.
I don’t give my dogs rawhide mostly because it gives them terrible gas and sometimes diarrhea. 🙁 Lastly, I have heard too many stories of puppies and dogs in the emergency vet to remove said toys from their guts. I have found that antlers and hooves have given them hours of chewing enjoyment and I don’t worry as much about them swallowing these whole.