How to choose the right chew for your dog

dog chews how to prevent choking

Dogs love to chew, but it’s best when it’s not your favourite shoe! Chewing aids can be a great alternative, but it’s important that you heed a few safety rules to avoid mishaps, so we’ve prepared a few tips on the dos and don’ts of dog chews. 

Why are chews good for your dog?

Dogs can literally spend hours chewing bones. It keeps their jaws strong and promotes healthy gums by removing tartar and scraping away bacteria from the teeth. 

Chewing is also an enjoyable and mentally stimulating activity for puppers and they even use it to relieve anxiety.  

Quality chews often contain a plethora of nutrients, including collagen and chondroitin, which are the building block of your dog’s bones, joints, and cartilage. These ingredients can be especially helpful for dogs with arthritis

If it’s pouring with rain and you can’t go for a walk, a good chewing session is a great way to calm an active puppy. Chews are also fantastic for teething puppies and will teach them positive chewing behaviour rather than munching on electrical cords or couch corners. 

Chewing aids should be combined with regular brushing and dental check-ups with your vet to maintain dental health and should be used a few times a week.  

dog chews how to prevent choking

What are the risks with chews?

Different dogs have varied eating and chewing styles, so it’s important that you know your pupper’s eating style. 

Gulpers tend to take the treats in whole or large chunks, which means they don’t really chew at all. If this is your dog, it is important that you calm them down first before giving them their treat to avoid choking. 

Destroyers tend to make a big mess chewing anything they can find, and they don’t always swallow their destruction. Long-lasting chews are best for these types of puppers so they can’t make too much of a mess. 

Nibblers on the other hand, take their time and savour their treats.

What to look out for when choosing treats?

  • Make sure the treat is the length of your dog’s head before they start eating so that they can’t swallow it and be sure to remove bones once they get too small. 
  • Avoid pigs’ ears as they are very high in fat and can trigger pancreatitis. 
  • Never feed cooked or smoked bones as they can splinter more easily posing a choking risk. 
  • Processed meat treats containing nitrates/nitrites are suspected to be carcinogenic so are not recommended 
dog chews how to prevent choking

If your dog has digestive issues, our in-house Integrative Vet, Dr. Matthew Muir, recommends feeding treats on an empty stomach, as more stomach acid can be dedicated to digesting chews to ensure complete digestion. 

If you have a Brachycephalic dog, such as a Pug or Shih Tzu, take extra care with treats as these pups may choke more easily.  
 
It’s important that you seek advice from your vet about the most appropriate chews for your pupper, and we advise always supervising your dog when giving them treats, especially bones. 

What should you do if your dog chokes?

The Heimlich Manoeuvre should be practiced immediately if your dog is choking. We recommend you familiarise yourself with this method as a handy first aid tool. 
 
Even if you manage to dislodge the treat or your dog is still breathing, they will need to see a vet as soon as possible to check that no treat fragments are stuck and that there is no damage. 

Lyka: it’s time to chomp & chew

Chews are a wonderful way to keep your pupper happy and healthy. We offer two types of chews – Lamb Straws and Pig Twigs, both have which received the chomp of approval and we know your pupper will love them! Our Dental pack is a great way to sample both varieties, and includes two pouches of Lamb Straws and one pouch of Pig Twigs. These popular treats give you the chance to choose the appropriate size that is safest for your dog to minimise any risk of choking. 

Our chews are available exclusively to Lyka pack members – order a Starter Box and add a pouch to your first delivery today!