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Dogs and chew toys – Furbaby Pet Care Nea DeMuri shares some important info!

A few of our Furbaby Pet Care clients (and staff!) may have noticed that I am a bit vigilant about giving their pups dog treats that may not be very suitable. It’s probably because many of the dogs I see apparently cannot stop themselves from eating or chewing things that are NOT good for them, like the floor, rocks, and poop. These behaviours can easily develop into a disorder or obsession if not redirected to something healthier. “Redirection” is a key word here. Sure I can scold and give time-outs until me and the dogs hate each other. But, I would prefer to work together with owners to make sure the dogs are happy and healthy. Actually, I would much rather take some time and use my energy and food in my own house to make sure the dog treats I give my dog are healthy and safe.

Furbaby Pet Care’s trainer Nea gives Raven some water and tuna
AND some praise

Some dogs haven’t realized the joys of chewing and invariably find other, more irritating ways to blow off steam. These dogs may need some help getting into the habit. And that is why I always recommend a good dog treat for your pup – especially while you are both training. And yes, there are some dogs such as pugs, who may always struggle to chew things because of their particular anatomy. But rest assured, I will discuss some great alternatives to chews in a future article.

But everything is dangerous!

I’ve seen a lot of pros and cons when it comes to dogs’ chews. Rawhide, bully sticks, raw bones, smoked bones, and branches can potentially lead to blockages, broken teeth, or other problems if not consumed properly. Personally, I know my dog; he’s a careful chewer, not a so-called inhaler, and for this reason I am able to give him a wide assortment of things to chew on. But most dogs aren’t able to eat all of these things safely.

Kongs are king

Both for safety and practicality, I really love recommending Kongs, but whatever chew toy brand works for you and your dog is fine. There are plenty on the market and I’ve seen a terrific selection at Early’s Farm and Garden Centre. Just ensure the product you’re buying is durable, sturdy and comes recommended by industry pros. That’s another reason I generally defer to Kongs.

Oh, and there are some great dog chew recipes out there to try. You can adjust them for your favourite brand or for the ingredients you might like to use pretty easily. Or, just freeze your dog’s meal in a block of iced bone broth! Maybe, be adventurous and get some silicone dog trays and put your home-made treats into the freezer, or bake them in the oven!

But….my dog is on a special diet!

That’s fine if your dog needs special attention to their diet! I usually stuff the dog’s chew toys with portions of their daily meal, with just a couple treats. I like to use some yogurt or peanut butter at the very bottom to keep them interested to the end. If doggo needs a highly limited diet, just use a bit of water to moisten the kibble before placing in the toy and then freeze. Tadda! Lunch is now a popsicle. In fact the extra time and effort this feeding style requires of your dog can even help your dog feel full and satisfied for longer.

There are many benefits of chewing. It is a great enjoyable activity that also reduces stress. A dog is much less likely to do other “problem behaviour” like barking, digging or eating your shoes when they have to work to get their daily meal out of an iceblock.

So, I asked around…

I did! I asked some of the staff at Furbaby Pet Care about the treats they make for their dogs. Jillian gave us some ideas for her dog Rosie.

Rosie’s favourite pupsicle recipes
  • plain Greek yogurt + watermelon (all of these are frozen into little paw print ice-cube trays)
  • Plain Greek yogurt + strawberry + banana
  • plain Greek yogurt + blueberries
  • Plain Greek yogurt + peanut butter + banana
  • plain Greek yogurt + honey + water (I made this one last summer when Rosie had Kennel Cough!)
  • And, my sister makes one for fresh breath for her little dog. She freezes plain Greek yogurt, mint, and water!

Here is a great recipe from Christina and her dog Gypsy:

Gypsy’s favourite treat is beef bone broth mixed with apple sauce and frozen into ice cube trays

This is Gypsy’s favourite frozen treat. Christina mixes equal parts of bone broth and organic apple sauce she gets at the Saskatoon Farmer’s Market or other local vendors. Then, she freezes the concoction into bone-shaped ice cube trays. Yum! Even Christina has tried eating them!

Sweet and savoury frozen bone treats for Gypsy

Remember, dogs need distractions

As one of my many heroes put it:
“The dog is a social and inquisitive animal. He needs to do something, especially if left at home alone. What would you like your dog to do? Crosswords? Needlepoint? Watch soaps on the telly? You must provide some form of occupational therapy for your puppy to pass the day.” –Dr. Ian Dunbar, Errorless Chewtoy Training

Got any great recipes for dog treats? Email Christina, our Public Relations Director
and she’ll share them with the Furbaby Pet Care gang!

If you have any questions about training at Furbaby Pet Care, you can find out more on our webpage. Also, if you want to send Nea a note about the possibility of training, don’t hesitate to do so! It may take a day or two to respond, but we’ll get there! Make sure to find out about booking time with Nea. You can do so on our booking app called Gingr.

Make sure you subscribe to FURBABY PET CARE’s YouTube channel. There’s a new video every week! And (you never know) you might see your pup in the video! Our staff captures great moments with your dogs – when they’re playing, sleeping or even getting groomed!

Remember, we’re on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Twitter! Just search for @furbabysk on all those platforms!

And thanks to you ALL for bringing your dogs or cats to Furbaby. We love ’em all!