If your dog is a power chewer, the costs of keeping them entertained can add up. While we try to provide affordable dog chews, it’s still important to get the most bang for your buck. Here are some tips to get the most use and the best experience from your dog chews.
Limit Chew Sessions
Instead of letting your dog chew for hours at a time, consider providing a chew for 15-30 minutes. This will help them get the calming dopamine and serotonin that relaxes them, while also extending the life of the chew. Not every chew works exactly the same, but Ugly Chew’s hide rolls soften as the dog chews on them. If you take the chew away for a few hours between sessions, it will reharden, which will make it last much longer.
There are a lot of benefits to limited chew sessions beyond just the life of the chew. It makes it easier for you to monitor your dog, which makes chewing safer. Every chew comes with some amount of choking risk, so it’s important to keep an eye on your dog while they’re chewing. That’s easier to do over short sessions. Chew sessions also increase the net benefit for your dog. Dogs get a lot of emotional benefits from chewing, but they don’t need to chew a lot to get them. Usually, 30 minutes of chewing is enough to calm most dogs down and leave them chill and relaxed. They may keep chewing after that, but they aren’t getting as much of the benefit. Think of it like having a cookie. If you eat a cookie, you really enjoy it. You probably enjoy a second cookie. By the seventh cookie, you probably aren’t enjoying the cookie near as much as the first one. It would be better to have one or two cookies, then save the rest for later when you’ll enjoy them more.
If you want to get the most value from your chews, do multiple short chew sessions, not one long one. We often hear from our customers that one Ugly Chew will last their dog several days when spaced out across a few chew sessions per day.
Understand Your Dog’s Emotional State
As we just mentioned, chewing provides anxiety relief for your dog. It’s a destresser that changes their brain chemistry. One Ugly Chews customer described his first experience giving his dog one of our chews. He said she chewed on it for a few minutes, but then just kind of cuddled it for a while. That was just before they left town on a big trip. He gave her the chew again after the long weekend spent with family, toddlers, and other dogs, and she went nuts and chewed it like crazy. This is a great example of the role emotions play in chewing. Think of a chew like your comfort food, caffeine, alcohol, or even some recreational drug. Humans use a lot of coping mechanisms to deal with stress. You may turn to any of those mechanisms when you’re having a hard time. You may like a glass of wine with dinner on many nights, but after a particularly hard day, you may want more than one glass. Your dog is the same way. Most days they’ll enjoy something to chew on for a bit. But when they are stressed, anxious, or have been cooped up, they will really be looking for an outlet. And the dopamine and serotonin that comes from chewing make a huge difference.
Get A Properly Sized Chew
It’s very tempting to fall into the trap of buying a smaller chew for your dog. Maybe it’s because you don’t want them to chew too much. Maybe it’s because smaller chews are cheaper. Regardless of your reason, always make sure that the chew you purchase is appropriately sized for your dog. When in doubt, err on the side of a larger chew. Chews that are too small can increase the risk of choking. If the dog can fit the entire chew in their mouth, they are more likely to choke. The smaller the chew, the sooner it reaches this “high choke risk” size.
In addition to safety, smaller chews simply don’t last as long, especially for larger dogs. You’ll get fewer sessions out of them, if you get multiple sessions at all.
Always Monitor Your Dog
You know your dog. You know how they work. Online advice can only go so far. Keep an eye on them and see how they do with any chew that you give them. You’ll find horror stories for almost every type of chew out there, but most of those horror stories happen because people were careless. Keep an eye on your dog.