Puppies can chew on everything, including people, furniture, and other valuable objects. Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies. It is usually more intense when they are teething. Puppies first grow their baby teeth at around two weeks old. They have 28 deciduous teeth that fall out when the pup is about three months old, and 42 permanent teeth grow in their place.
Besides teething, another reason why dogs chew on things is they learn more about the world around them. Chewing is the human equivalent of grabbing and touching things. This behavior can subside after a year and a half. However, it could go for the rest of their lives, depending on the breed of the dog. The chewing habit is more pronounced in some breeds referred to as mouthy such as the ‘retriever.’
How important is chewing for dogs? Surprisingly, chewing is quite beneficial to these furry friends. For one, it acts as a form of exercise for their teeth. Secondly, it helps reduce the amount of plaque that could build on their teeth and render them susceptible to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease develops when food particles get stuck within the dog’s teeth. The same can happen in human beings. These particles combine with bacteria to form plaque, which later results in deposits of hard tartar on the gumline. If it is not removed, the tartar will cause inflammation and irritation on the gum and cause it to separate from the teeth. The separation will provide a breeding ground for bacteria. This can then lead to abscess, pain, and tooth loss for your furry friend. It can also cause bacterial infections, which can spread through the bloodstream to vital body organs in the body such as the heart, kidneys, brain, or liver. This disease is irreversible, but it can be easily prevented by ensuring that your dog has a good dental hygiene routine.
Advantages of a dental hygiene routine
- Puts bad breath at bay. Bad breath is usually caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, as well as the presence of plaque. By reducing the amount of plaque in the mouth, you will significantly reduce bad breath.
- Improves the health and strength of teeth and gums. Apart from strength they acquire by chewing, the residue that is left behind after chewing a chew toy helps break down the plaque on the teeth. This is because most dog chews are coated with substances that can loosen up plaque build-up.
Most dog owners reach for dog chews when their puppies begin to chew on things. The most preferred chew toy is the bully stick, which is made up of dried high-protein beef muscle. Other dog chews include bones, antlers, toys, and ropes, among others.
The importance of dog chews cannot be overemphasized. They keep a dog occupied and prevent them from chewing on valuable items. They also help improve the health of a dog and consequently make them feel good and lengthen their lifespan by 2 to 4 years.