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When you have 2 dogs

When you have 2 dogs, and you want to give them both something to chew, why can’t they just be nice and focus on the one you’ve given them? Why does every dog think that you’ve given the other dog something better?

Rey and Leia need different chews. Rey can and will eat anything, but Leia has a sensitive stomach and is limited in what proteins she tolerates. And of course, those items are much more expensive, so we don’t want to give the gluttonous and insatiable Rey those expensive chews.

So we have to watch like a hawk that Rey doesn’t sneak over and take Leia’s treat (Leia is such a gentle soul that she would never protest), and also have to watch that Leia doesn’t get a hold of a treat Rey may have left behind (a very infrequent event, but still).

Finding the chew that both satisfies you pet and your pocketbook isn’t always the easiest thing, but there are many options that can do both.

Our most popular long lasting chews are Himalayan cheese, antlers and knuckle bones (frozen or smoked). These tend to last the longest, but each has their own concerns. Some dogs can bust through the cheese quickly, while others gum them for weeks, so depending on your pet, they can be hit or miss. Antlers can be long lasting, but some don’t like the fact they can’t get anything off them. Split antlers are easier to break down for the dogs that like that, but again, some can break them down too fast. Solid antlers can be made more attractive with a tiny bit of peanut butter or bacon grease, or by boiling for a few minutes in low sodium beef or chicken broth (which can soften and add flavour). Knuckle bones of an appropriate size are great for most dogs. Frozen they can come whole or split and you can train your dog to consume them on a mat or towel so as not to wander the house with a raw bone. Smoked ones are a little less of an issue, but in both cases, watch to make sure your pet does not break off chunks they can get in trouble with by swallowing. Regardless what chew you choose, you need to monitor your pet when they consume them. Just in case.

Faster chews, like pig/beef/buffalo ears (rabbit, lamb or kangaroo for smaller dogs) can be easy, affordable outlets for your dog’s chewing needs. Leia likes a buffalo ear, it can take her two full sessions to consume one. Rey, however, busts through a cow ear in minutes, and then hovers over Leia while she enjoys her ear. Rey is usually a good girl, but we have to make sure she doesn’t steal it. She will, however, come in and clean up any bits left behind once Leia is done.

There are so many real treat options available that we do not have to resort to the “dental treats and bones” that are loaded with starches, flavourings, colours and even chemicals like Titanium Dioxide that has recently been in the news. Look for chews with one ingredient, they are natural and usually much better. Rawhides have long been a favourite, but again, they may be processed using chemicals and in places you may not trust. Much better are tendons, tracheas, esophagus, backstraps, tripe, pizzles and other single ingredient items.

When we want to give Leia and Rey something that they can work on longer, they get Benebones. These nylon bones are tough, and have interesting enough taste/shape to keep their attention. They prefer the wishbone shape, and I give Leia the puppy version because it is a bit softer for her wittle teefs. But I have to be careful that Rey doesn’t steal it, because she can power through it quickly, and breaking it down can make it a choking hazard. There are lots of options of similar items from companies like Nylabone, just watch on the package, they usually have a rating system for how strong a chewer they are recommended for.

Finding an outlet for your pets chewing is an important part of taking care of them, it is both important for their teeth, and important for their psyche. Once you find the right combo, you will have a happy pet when they see you coming with their treat.