Puppies chew EVERYTHING… seriously never underestimate how much and what puppies will get their teeth into. Puppy chews will be a lifeline to help you through the chewing and teething puppy stage. They chew a lot when they’re cutting their baby teeth and trying to cut their second set of teeth. As you’re here, you’re probably curious about the best chews for puppies because your puppy chews on everything! Well, hopefully, this article will help you decide which puppy chews are right for your puppy.

We’re going to help you understand why puppies eat their chews and whether that’s a good thing or not. If puppy chew sticks are good or bad, the health benefits of puppy chewing sticks, and how to safely introduce chews to your puppy. 

Puppy chewing is such a common problem that virtually every owner will have to deal with it so you’re not alone. For more advice, tips and exercises why not download the Zigzag puppy training app? There is so much wonderful information to get your teeth into, and we have expert puppy coaches on hand to talk to you 7 days a week. 

puppy looking at the camera wanting a treat
Photo by Oleksandr Horbach on Unsplash

Do puppies eat chews?

Puppies love chews.. Or specifically chewing! Some dog breeds are more powerful chewers than others, but when dogs are puppies, they almost all adore chewing. It’s like a switch flicks in their brain when it comes to teething time, and they will want to chew anything they can. Far better to give them safe chews to chew on than get cross that they’ve chewed the wall, or another dining chair.

Side note: Your puppy isn’t chewing your favourite shoes to spite you, or get back at you. They just love the taste of leather and things that smell of you, plus shoes are easy to grab and chew on. Give them puppy chews to eat instead, and pop those Louboutins safely out of the way until your puppy is past the teething stage.

Are chews bad for puppies?

No, chews are not bad for puppies. They’re generally a very good idea! Puppy chews designed for puppies should be safe for them to eat. There are a few things to look out for when deciding what the best chews for puppies are and the kind of puppy chews you should be giving them.

Puppy chews made of rawhide should (generally) be avoided

Oh, the old favourite rawhide. Once a common sight in pet shops across the land, most people have read about the problems that rawhide can cause. Thankfully there are many other puppy chews on the market now which are safer, do not splinter or leave sharp edges and are made of far more desirable ingredients.

There are safer alternatives to rawhide such as these no-hide chews or buffalo hide.

Puppy chews can be high in calories

It is worth noting that some of the edible puppy chews can be high in calories. With this in mind, while we don’t recommend restricting access to chews at all, if you have a particularly aherm chubby puppy who eats a lot of edible chews, you might want to switch to something more longer lasting or choose a low fat chew like rice bones.

Some puppy chews are too hard for them

While deer antler is commonly suggested as a great puppy chew, we have our reservations as they’re actually made of bone and are very very hard. Many puppies may chew on them obsessively and damage their teeth. A safe option for something long lasting is buffalo horn as it’s made up of bone covered in keratin, or hooves which are all made of keratin.  

Edible puppy chews should be gnawed not pulled apart

If your puppy is more of the type to pull large pieces off the puppy chew to try and consume and eat them, rather than chewing and exercising their jaw then you might want to avoid that type of chew. 

Puppy chews should be made of simple ingredients

Puppy chews like cow or buffalo ears, rabbit ears and bully sticks, while a bit icky, do mean your puppy is getting something which is natural for them to eat. 

Some puppy chews have a lot of chemicals in them which we don’t want our puppies to eat so try and stick to products where you can recognise most of the ingredients.  

Puppy chews should be the right size for your puppy

Puppy chews that are too small can end up swallowed whole, which we definitely don’t want so make sure they’re an appropriate size for your puppy. Of course, what size you get will depend on if you have a Chihuahua or a Great Dane! 

puppy reaching up to grab a puppy chew
Photo by Sarah Shull on Unsplash

Health Benefits of Puppy Chewing Sticks

There are quite a few health benefits to giving your puppy chew sticks. Recreational chews and chew toys should be offered to all dogs. 

Puppy chews are good for your puppy’s dental health

Sadly that delicious puppy breath doesn’t last forever, and puppies will need some help keeping their breath fresh, and their mouth clean. While puppy chews won’t take the place of brushing your puppy’s teeth, they are great for helping keep their teeth clean. Clean teeth equals a healthy mouth! The best puppy chews for dental health often contain ingredients to help fight bacteria and freshen breath.

Puppy chews relieve boredom

Puppies are busy little things, and require a lot of stimulation and mental enrichment, which can be tiring for us! You can use puzzle toys for this, but chews are also a great way to keep them entertained.

Puppy chews give your puppy a safe outlet for teething

There is no stopping a teething puppy. Those ‘itchy teeth’ need scratching and if you don’t give them puppy chews, they will chew on your furniture, shoes, or other beloved items! 

Puppy chews can be great for encouraging fussy puppies to eat

While edible puppy chews are great for strengthening the jaw, using food in chew toys can help even the fussiest puppies get involved in eating, because they have to work for it a little more, and enjoy the experience.

Frozen puppy chews help soothe sore gums

You can buy puppy chew toys which go in the freezer. The cooling sensation helps to soothe the pain in your puppy’s gums from when your puppy is teething. Carrots cut lengthways and then frozen also work well.

dog licking their lips on an orange background
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

How to introduce chews to my puppy?

Puppies sometimes need a bit of encouragement to get into chew toys, but in our experience, they don’t need much help getting into edible chews. 

Some chew toys which are designed to be long lasting or non-edible can be a bit artificial smelling. To counteract this, rub them with your hands to get your scent on them, or for the even more discerning puppy rubbing them with some hard cheese will often do the trick.

If you have stuffable chew toys then using something yummy like puppy safe liver paste or peanut butter that they can lick off will help to get them interested in the chew toy. After that they tend to be happy to go to town on them.

One last thing we want you to think about is safety around puppy chews. Obviously, we’ve gone through how to keep it safe for your puppy, but we also want to make it safe for you by teaching a reliable drop and swap. You’ll find this all in the Zigzag app

Too often, people give a puppy a chew and then expect to be able to take it off of the puppy straight away. In your puppy’s head this doesn’t make much sense, and if they haven’t had these excellent chews before they can rightly feel like they want to keep hold of them and not want you to take the chew off of them. This can lead to resource guarding if not handled correctly. 

We can’t think of many sensible reasons why you’d need to take a chew off of a puppy, but in case you do, remember that you want to swap it for something of higher value. Practice swapping items of different values before you give your puppy a chew and then think you’ll be ok to just take it from them. Everyone will be much happier!

We hope you’ve found this article interesting, while you’re here stick around and have a read of how to teach your puppy to leave items.. We also have a tonne of lessons, articles and collected wisdom in our Zigzag puppy training app. Download a free trial today and get started on your puppy training journey. There’s also the expert puppy coaches to chat to if you have any concerns as well.