To chew or not to chew

Focussing our puppies needle sharp gnashers on something other than our skin, furniture and the remote control can be a pretty much full time occupation!  But for utmost safety and enjoyment, you really can't beat (IMHO) the appropriate size and density Kong, skilfully stuffed to provide a challenge.

Other options include the vast range of chews available, but how safe and digestible are they?  Very little research is available on this, so I was interested to read a discussion by Linda Case (link below), of a study which looked at the digestibility of pig skin vs cow hide chews, and was shocked by this finding:

"After six hours, which is approximately the time it takes for a meal to begin to leave a dog’s stomach and enter the small intestine, the pork chew was more than 50 percent digested, while the rawhide was only 7.6 percent digested."

7.6%!  If your pup has swallowed a large lump of rawhide, that means that it is passing into his intestines almost whole - risking blockage.  Even with supervised chewing, the chances of rescuing a lump of rawhide from your puppy before it is swallowed are slim (and you risk creating a guarding problem into the bargain).  This study certainly suggests that pig skin is a much safer option, if you want to feed a chew at all.

Hide chews provide very little in the way of nutrition, however they do keep the puppy and his teeth busy ... tempting, but until more is understood about the digestibility of the various chews, hooves, compressed bones etc I will probably be sticking to  stuffed Kongs.

To read the full article from Linda Case, click here.