What chews are best for puppies?
When getting a new puppy, there are a lot of things to think about. Often at the top of new owner’s minds is protecting their home from little teeth - and so providing their new family member with appropriate chews. Many dog owners are increasingly conscious that dogs need varied protein sources to be healthy and that dogs also really enjoy a daily chew.
When it comes to dog chews – not all chews are created equal. Here is our round up of the ones to buy and ones to miss.
- Pizzle sticks aka Bully Sticks. At up to 90% protein, bone free and a ‘hard but not too hard’ texture, our fresh Bully Sticks are our number one choice for a puppy chew. Once you stop sniggering at the thought of feeding your pup an air-dried penis, these flavoursome, low cholesterol little sticks are a hit with most dogs. They do have a smell however – which adds to their appeal – so be prepared for this. Bully sticks are tough – even the strongest of adult chewers average around 10 mins with one. As these are a hard chew, the mechanical abrasion will remove tartar and plaque too, which makes them great for oral health and the action of chewing will create strong jaw muscles. As with all chews – chewing releases endorphins which help to calm your dog and make him feel happy. One word of warning – the average Pizzle contains around 90 calories – so aim to feed around twice a week.
- Lamb Spaghetti. Of all the proteins – Lamb proves time and time again to be a favourite. These lamb sticks are great for the youngest of pups as a chew and for older dogs, as a treat. Bone free, low in fat and really easy on tummies to digest. They have a slight odour which makes them really appealable to inexperienced pups and we love their varied texture – which is hard enough to remove plaque and tartar and varied enough to reach new places!
- Buffalo Head Skin – in all its forms! Buffalo is a nutrient powerhouse and is a fantastic protein to introduce to your dog’s diet, because it is extremely rare that a dog will have an allergic reaction to it. We often call is a hypoallergenic protein! It also contains a wide variety of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. It is almost entirely odourless and extremely inoffensive – it looks similar to rawhide – but it absolutely is not! We recommend Buffalo plaits (which are perfect for pups as they are puppy sized) or try our Buffalo head skin pieces, which are extremely good value for money and last for ages! More natural looking than the plaits, but still inoffensive and unlikely to upset any squeamish family members.
- Yak Milk Chews. What about lactose, I hear you cry? Most of us know lactose isn’t great for dogs – many dogs are actually intolerant to it. During the production process of these treats, the lactose is actually almost entirely destroyed. As with all the other recommendations, these are high protein and zero carbohydrate. They are also low fat, low salt and long lasting. They are entirely inoffensive as they don’t contain any animal body parts! They also have a magic trick up their milky sleeves – when the chew is becoming small and potentially a choking hazard, typically around 3-4cm, whip it away from your pup, soak it in a bowl of water for an hour and then pop in the microwave for up to a minute. Hey presto - you have a new, entirely chewable and crunchy snack
- Our final recommendation for a puppy chew is actually two items. There has been much debate in our Chewbox office about this – so they have to tie. Both are really long lasting- and meant to be nibbled, over a long period of time, often months! Firstly, are Buffalo Horns. For pups, these are a great way to actually feed them their wet food- thus getting them thinking and working for their dinner! Secondly, are small Antlers. Although antlers can’t be stuffed and so used for ‘enrichment’ games – most dogs love to have an antler close by. Neither the Horn nor the Antler is a smelly item, and both are perfect for teething pups. Please note there is one difference between a Horn and an Antler. The Horn will soften and come away in sort of 'strings' whereas the Antler is much harder and could be too much for extremely persistent pups - so monitor closely.
What do we recommend avoiding?
With any young dog, it is always best to minimise risk. As Hoof and Bone can break off into tiny pieces, we recommend avoiding feeding them until the dog is older, so has a larger gullet – typically around 6-8 months.
We also recommend feeding any Pork product with caution – as often upset tummies can result. Again – wait until the dog is 6 – 8 months if you can before trying this protein. Likewise, with Poultry – although dogs generally tolerate Chicken extremely well, if there is going to be an allergen issue, it is often feeding a bird that has caused it.
Ensure fresh drinking water is always available for your pup and never leave him unsupervised with any chew (or plastic toy for that matter!) -and when chews get small, 3-4cm, it is best to remove them.
Feeding novel, high quality proteins to your dog is fantastic. Supplementing their diet with new amino acids, minerals and vitamins has to be commended. The mental benefits of offering fresh daily chews should not be dismissed – chewing is a primal need for a dog. It is stress relieving and something that dogs need to do for their own wellbeing. From a dental hygiene perspective, offering a daily tough chew, with a varied texture is essential to keep plaque and tartar at bay- and for pups, it is so soothing for those pesky new teeth and sore gums.
I hope you found this article helpful. For more puppy friendly chews and treats, you can click here or type 'puppy' into the search bar.