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I have a 6- almost 7 month old norfolk terrier pup who for his size is a monster chewer. he's got all his adult teeth now but still wants to chew pretty much constantly. i've been giving him bully sticks since i got him (actually the breeder gave them to him when he was tiny too) and he LOVES them but he can make an 8" bully disappear in about 15 mins. they are really expensive and despite being digestible, i cant imagine letting him eat an entire one every single day is healthy for him. the problem is that for every chew imaginable, i've heard bad things and i dont know what to do. I want to give him something that will be super long lasting. so here comes my slew of questions. any help is much appreciated.

1. is it bad for him to eat a bully everyday? he chews it all down but then swallows the last 2" or so once its all chewed up and gummy and white. can him swallowing that lead to an internal blockage or does it just pass because it's 100% digestible?

2. my neighbour gave him an antler which he seemed to like but i took it away from him after reading about dogs breaking and wearing down their teeth on them. it's a full round antler, not split down the middle. the breeder said that i should wait at lest 2 years before giving him antlers or raw bones because they are too hard for new teeth. thoughts?

3. with meat bones, cooked or raw, is the dog suppose to actually consume it or just chew on it? i'm weary of cooked bones because i know they can splinter but i've allowed him to chew on a BBQ'd bone from a steak before with close supervision. I just allowed him to eat the meat off and then removed it. could he actually eat the whole bone?

4. he has a couple nylabones which he doesnt really like, but same question- will he eventually chew down/consume the whole thing or should it be removed before that? going back about 10 years i used to give my dog nylabones and he would eventually chew down the whole thing i would just toss out the end. is that okay?

5. anything i am able to stuff in his kong, frozen or otherwise, he is able to clean out in under 10 minutes. i've heard horrible things about greenies and the likes so i've completely avoided them. thoughts?

6. i know all the commotion about rawhide being undigestible and have a few questions about that. is the danger present only because dogs tend to swallow big chunks? if i was to give him a large pressed bone and watch closely that he only made it all gummy and never swallowed a solid piece, is that safe? or is the entire thing just completely undigestible meaning any amount will stay in his guts and rot? what about the fact that they tend to all be made in china? should i be concerned about that? i have a hard time understanding how an animals skin could be undigestible. doesnt everyone eat the skin on chicken wings?

7. i've heard pig hide is better than cowhide because it is 100% digestible. is that true? what about the fact that it's very greasy? couldnt that set off his pancreas? and what about salmonella?

thanks, nicole
 

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1. Not that I know of. If it's not a huge one, then it should be fine. You can get all sorts of sizes at this site for great prices: www.bestbulltsyicks.com


2.
Pfff, my Shiba's been eating raw bones since he was 6 months old, my other two had raw bones to chew on since they was little pups. Some people wean straight onto raw foods, including bones, and I have yet to see evidence that it's worse for their teeth than waiting. I personally won't give an antler to a power chewer, or any real hard bones either, though.

3. I don't give cooked bones. Too expensive, too dangerous. They are usually made out of "wreck" bones which are the leg bones or large mammals so they are very very hard. Those are what break teeth, raw or cooked. I give anything from beef ribs to chicken wings, and yes, they eat the whole thing. Beef ribs can take a while to whittle down, but the dogs do eat the whole thing.

4. I don't like nylabones or anything similar. Plastic can flake/chunk off and the dog could swallow it. I have heard stories about dogs breaking teeth on these but I don't know if they are true or just rumors.

5. I generally like frozen Kongs, but my dogs just lick them to death. I HATE greenies. Won't give those to any dog.

6. I avoid all rawhides as well, any kind, no matter where it's made. My two mixes have iron stomachs but rawhide is one of the few things that can set them off, and that ain't fun to clean up. I also just won't take the chance of them swallowing a large chunk. I have never seen these things digest well either, in any dog I've seen them given to. These things are WAY different than chicken skin, btw. They are two completely different things. "Rawhide" is not actual raw hide, it's been highly processed.

7. I don't know much about these. I just give them as treats every now and then. But the hype about fatty things causing pancreatitis is false. Fat does not cause it, some underlying condition does and the fatty treat triggers it. So if your dog ends up with pancreatitis or already has it, it was not caused by the fatty treats. But those could have triggered it, and it would have shown up sooner or later anyways.
Salmonella shouldn't be a problem generally, but honestly, it's possible in anything. Heard of the recent Diamond recalls? That was salmonella, and it was in food.
 

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thanks for the info. so if i give him a beef rib i can let him eat the whole thing? thats great. are marrow bones the ones that break teeth? i've spoken in depth with my vet about nutrition and pancreatitis and she says dogs should NEVER have turkey because it's far too rich and it can cause pancreatitis, also that its hard on the liver and kidneys. i know most vet no little about nutrition but she actually has a bachelor in nutrition science additional to her vet degree so i trust she knows her stuff.
can anyone else weigh in on rawhide? if the dog doesnt swallow big chunks does it still not get broken down?
 

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1. I wouldn't give a bully stick every day...Technically you're feeding him a lot of bull penis, and I just can't imagine it's good to eat too much of anything. Maybe 2x a week?
2. Hmm...my dog is a soft chewer so the antler lasts a really long time and it cleans their teeth. Supervise him when he's chewing on it, and if you can tell he's really chomping down on it and you can hear his teeth smashing against it, then maybe not a hot idea.
3. Completely consume it. Don't give him any weight bearing bones like marrow bones. Just chicken wings, turkey necks, pork ribs, chicken necks, chicken drum sticks, chicken backs, things of that nature. Think about it as feeding an entire animal to a dog (Except for weight bearing bones) which includes organs, bones and cartilage. They can definitely eat the whole bone, and please don't cook it.
4. Yeah nylabones are no good. They aren't digestible, and there are some cases where dogs chewed off pieces and choked on them/intestinal blockages which lead to death.
5. Greenies are terrible stay away from them. You can stuff layers of cream cheese, peanut butter, kibble, chedar cheese, and then freeze it all in the kong, The key is to freeze it - this is what makes it last longer.
6. Yeah...just don't do rawhide...There are so many healthier and safer alternatives like pig ears, beef chews, etc.
7. Yeah, greasiness is no good, which is why you shouldn't feed so many bully sticks - they are the epitome of greasy dog chews, and should be given sparingly.
 

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There's also Himalayan chews for another alternative.
 

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The reason vets dislike clients feeding turkey is during the holiday season dogs end up at the e-vet with pancreatitis. People don't know and give the dogs lots of extra meat and skin in addition to the regular food and the dogs can die from the inflammation of the pancreas. Fat and meat is good for dogs but substitute a little at a time for the regular food, don't add a whole bunch to the regular meal. My 38 pound dog gets all of 10 ounces a day total, that is a good sized pork chop maybe. Think how much a tiny dog ought to get. Maybe something like the size of a half a hot dog total for the whole day! And how much would you regard as a nice treat for your dog? And how many people would like to give that much to the dog?

I suspect your pup is bored silly and being a good pup is avoiding sneaking away and eating the house/shoes/innards of your bed and so on. I think he needs more play time that really wears him out so he can nap more instead of constantly chewing. Even chewing good stuff can wear down teeth to the nubs. Have you read about lure coursing? My Max goes nuts for a toy on a string and stick even now that he is 12 years old. I have a commercial one and one made from a 7' horse lunge whip. It is awesome for teaching self control in the face of extreme stimulation. Max has to wait to chase until I give the word and I dance the lure [old sock] around him and over him even. In 5 minutes his brain is completely fried. Lots of videos now on youtube, maybe that could be part of your day. I also am a big fan of teaching a dog to chill out with regular down stays.

As for long lasting chews... Max won't because they are too frustrating for him but raw pig feet are very long lasting. Raw beef ribs are terrific but there is enough meat on them for a meal, he doesn't get the next meal when he gets a meaty rib. A whole pork neck bone might work as it is hard to get all the meat off but you would be throwing away a lot of bone, don't let him eat all the bone. If you could find racks of lamb, pork or beef ribs a super fun meal/chew is leaving a couple together in a natural food puzzle. Max has to nibble the meat between the bones, pull the membrane from the back, fold the bones to get more from the middle and finally put his foot on one and pull to get the bones apart.

Make mealtime more fun too. I have a large assortment of food puzzles and wish I had a good excuse to buy the kong wobbler. All of mine are hard to fill, hard to clean and hard to take apart. Maybe the wobbler is noisy but otherwise it seems really good to me. For cheap Max has an empty rinsed out milk jug that he has smashed up. I put in small bits of treats and he slams it all over the house to shake the goodies free. Works for kibble too but now Max eats raw and I would rather not have chicken liver and the like rolling around even outside.

My dogs adore plain bread and a bit shoved into the kong never comes out, you could try something like that. I entertained Sassy for 40 minutes once by stepping on a kong and forcing a large hard biscuit inside. I was mad at her but she was delighted with the new puzzle. After she figured out how to break the biscuit up it only took her 5 minutes but for a couple weeks she loved that one. A bit of dried lung won't ever come out because it won't shatter like a biscuit, I always have to squeeze the kong and hold the hole so the bit hangs down to help Max out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
believe me boredom isn't it. he just likes to chew. he gets plenty of play time, attention and exercise. i bring him to work with me a few times a week. he spends 8+ hours walking around with me, playing with other dogs and doing training demos and then we go home and he goes straight to the bully. i just got back from the park with him. we did 40 minutes of agility on the playground and when we got back he went straight to his kong.
 

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1. Once a day should be fine but I don't know if I'd let him swallow 2" of it at once. That bestbullystick website even says to not let them swallow the last inch and recommends attaching a vice grip to the end so the dog won't do so.

2. I'm not sure how antlers would compare to regular bone so I might be cautious but saying you have to wait two years to feed raw bones sounds rediculous to me.

3. I never ever recommend giving cooked bones just because the risk of splintering isn't worth it. Raw bones are perfectly acceptable to be eaten whole. Most people are cautious about giving really thick bones like skulls and legs though.

4. Nylabones (the plastic/rubber kinds) are not meant to be consumed. They are made to pass time/clean the dogs teeth, and they do wear out over time, but if you see pieces of it larger than a grain of rice falling off, you need to either throw it away and get a new one (if you've had it for a while) or get the next size up.

5. I'd say under 10 minutes is normal. I've also not heard anything bad about greenies ever. They are highly recommended in another forum I participate in.

6. Rawhide has moved over onto the avoid list for me just because they are so highly processed and it's really hard to prevent your dog from swallowing a large piece of it towards the end.

7. I don't know very much about this. Salmonella on the other hand is something you have to deal with no matter what kind of processed food/treat you feed. Just keep an eye on the palce of manufacture and the brands reputation.
 

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5. I'd say under 10 minutes is normal. I've also not heard anything bad about greenies ever. They are highly recommended in another forum I participate in.
In the past they were causing obstructions, but my understanding is that they have been reformulated since then. Personally, I would feed those skinny, pencil-sized rawhides before I would ever feed a greenie. My favorite chews have been antlers, nylabones and himalayan dog chews (those last WAY longer than I thought they would for my dog). Raw bones are good too, but I generally give those outside. They're more of a hassle so she only gets them about once a week.
 

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I agree with Losech.

Sounds like your dog is a thinker and needs something to do. Bully sticks are a great chew. But, everything in moderation.

Raw bones should not wreck teeth unless they are weight bearing bones. If you will not feed your dog a raw diet, the occasional recreational bone is a great additive to a healthy lifestyle. No soup bones! Something like turkey neck or ribs are a good idea. I would suggest careful observation as every dog is different with how they handle bones. For instance, I know some dogs who will chomp down and eat beef ribs. My own dogs prefer to only eat the meat off and do not eat the bone (which i prefer because I find beef ribs to be quite hard).

For a recreational chew, my dogs get goat heads :)

I would offer your dog different styles of kong like toys filled with healthy snacks (like dehydrated lung) to keep his mind busy.

To be honest, most chews and treats marketed for dogs are junk. Loaded with calories, dyes, preservatives and potentially dangerous.

PERSONALLY, I am not a fan of antlers. I think they are too hard. A rambunctious dog may bite down too hard before they get a chance to soften it with their saliva. But, to each their own. I know a few people like like them. I tried it once with my mastiff. I have him the antlers from my husband's deer. It still had the skull cap on it and my dog was more interested in the skull part than the antler part.

Nylabones are crap. The edible kind doesn't last my dogs very long at all and the unedible kind if just plain dangerous.

The problem with rawhide: For one, many of them are processed with some very dangerous chemicals including formaldehyde!!!! Even if you find a very good quality rawhide, it is not raw. When a dog chews it, it softens. As it softens, it swells. So when a dog swallows a piece, it actually grows in size which has the potential to block somewhere in the digestive system. That cheap $2 rawhide could cost thousands to remove or worse...cost your dog its life.

Now raw skin is different. No chemicals are used, it is all natural. In a raw diet, the skin is considered fat. Too much skin is not good either, but given in proportion in a healthy raw diet, is completely digestible.

Salmonella does happen in both raw foods and processed ones. There was a not too long ago breakout in kibble. If you noticed, it was affecting people more than dogs. I am not saying they are immune to it by any means. I have been feeding my dogs raw chicken for years with no problems. I think they are better equipped to handle it than we humans are.

I basically am just reiterating what everyone else said. LOL. I hope it all helped.
 

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Question about giving raw beef bones: we bought some raw beef ribs from the butcher, but they're quite large - Snowball is only 30lbs. Do I just let him chew on it until he gets bored, or should I just give it to him for a certain length of time then take it away?
 
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