Dog chews: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Chew toys are essential for Fido’s mental and physical wellbeing, but it’s important to pick the right ones. We crunch down on the good, the bad, and the ugly.
By Pets Team
Published on Friday, 09 October 2015

SINEWS AND EARS
Fido’s teeth can break if a chew is too hard, so the flexibility of sinews and ears make them suitable even for smaller chompers. Derived from protein sources like pork and venison, pet owners can actively avoid chews containing meat that their furkids are allergic to. Dr Eugene Lin, senior veterinary surgeon with The Animal Ark Veterinary Group, advises feeding these chews in moderation, as some are so palatable that pets can begin to lose interest in their daily meals. Dr Kenneth Tong, principal veterinary surgeon with Animal & Avian Veterinary Clinic also cautions against assumptions that going natural is more reliable. “While natural chews can be eaten and digested,don’t assume that natural is better. They may also contain added preservatives, so it is how the product is made, transported
and stored that matters most,” he explains. Hygiene is also important with such chews, so Dr Tong suggests placing them under direct sunlight for 30 minutes weekly, or scalding them with boiling water to reduce opportunistic bacteria. Jolene Loke, co-owner of Chew Time, an online natural chew provider, also recommends refrigeration to maintain
freshness and durability. She adds that chews which cannot be held by your furkid’s paws should be replaced with larger pieces to prevent gagging, especially for greedy pooches that tend to scarf down their food.

RAWHIDE
Despite the product’s name, rawhide is actually a by-product of leather tanneries, where the skin of animals such as cattle is processed. Separated into a top and bottom grain, the top layer is used for leather products, and the bottom is used for dog chews. These hides are washed and sometimes bleached, treated with flavourings to make them more appealing
to canines, and then manipulated into various shapes to suit different chewers and increase abrasiveness for improved teeth cleaning. However, Dr Lin warns that trace amounts of arsenic and formaldehyde have been detected inrawhides, so dog owners should always consult their vets and reliable sellers prior to purchasing. Initially hard in texture, rawhides
become soft with gnawing, and pieces can be easily chewed off. Should Fido swallow these pieces and they are too large to be properly digested, they may cause obstruction in the digestive tract. If rawhides are Fido’s chew of choice, it is recommended that softened chews be removed and allowed to dry and harden before Fido’s next chewing session.

 

For more on dental bones and synthetic chew toys, flip to Pet Bowl of our Aug-Sep 2015 issue!