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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I are taking care of a found puppy. She still has some baby teeth, so we're guessing that she's about 5-6 months old. The most common guesses about her breed are that she's a Doberman or Rottweiler mix. She weighs about 60 pounds, and she is an aggressive chewer.

She desperately needs something to chew on other than our furniture, our rug, our TV remote, pieces of the wooden support beams that she bites off in our yard on a hill, or whatever else she can put in her mouth. Because she's still a puppy, we can't give her anything really hard. She chewed off and ate a third of the largest size Nylabone for puppies in a few hours, so I don't have confidence in any non-edible chew toys for her now. She will lick the Kong toy that you can put treats in, but she's only interested in it when there's peanut butter in it, and we can't give her peanut butter all day long. Edible chew treats cost a couple of dollars or more each and last maybe 15 minutes. The longest-lasting treat was a piece of beef trachea. We put a long piece of carrot in it, and it lasted her about half an hour. We also give her ice cubes with a bit of peanut butter in them. They're inexpensive, but they last only a few minutes.

She has itchy skin and inflamed ears. We're giving a supplement to try to help with that. If possible, we want to give her only healthy food and treats, to build up her immune system.

I really don't want to give her rawhide because I know about the problems associated with it, but we're running out of options. Which is worse -- giving her rawhide to satisfy her craving to chew on something, or keeping her locked in her crate for hours a day when we can't watch her constantly? Or is there another option?

She gets a walk every day, usually 20-30 minutes, and usually in the morning. That's enough to tire her out. I throw the ball for her in the yard almost every day. She's had several play dates to help burn off her energy. Two of us are home most of the time, but we can't watch her movements all the time. We have work and other things that we have to do.

She's been with us for over 3 weeks. Her stray hold will be up next week, and if we don't find her family, we're going to adopt her to a family in the area that's a good match for her. In addition to taking care of her needs now, we want to be able to tell her new family how they can meet her strong chewing needs.

Thanks for your help!
Emily 5-2.png
 

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Puppy Nylabones are softer than regular ones, so a regular Nylabone would be a better choice. Benebone is another hard chew that stands up well to heavy chewing. A Kong stuffed with kibble and yogurt or canned dog food, and then frozen, will usually keep a dog occupied for quite a while.

Has she been to the vet to try and figure out why she is so itchy?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Puppy Nylabones are softer than regular ones, so a regular Nylabone would be a better choice. Benebone is another hard chew that stands up well to heavy chewing. A Kong stuffed with kibble and yogurt or canned dog food, and then frozen, will usually keep a dog occupied for quite a while.
Are adult Nylabones and Benebones safe for puppies with puppy teeth and some soft adult teeth? That's my concern with them.

She isn't very interested in kibble (getting her weight on is another problem), but putting canned food in the Kong toy and freezing it is a great idea. Thanks!

Has she been to the vet to try and figure out why she is so itchy?
Not yet. If we don't find her family by the end of next week, we'll be working with a rescue group to get her adopted. She'll go to a vet then. She doesn't have fleas. She's on Frontline, and I've checked for fleas quite a few times. The finder took her to the vet just to get scanned for a microchip (she isn't chipped) and get weighed for Frontline. The vet noted that this dog has bumps under chin, which the vet said were from allergies.

The finder couldn't hold onto her, so she came to us. He (the finder) told us that people in the area where he found her said that she'd been running loose for several days at least. She could've gotten into anything during that time, but she's been with us for several weeks now and eating mid-quality dry dog food (no by-products or anything like that) along with some canned food and sometimes other things like egg. We'd give her straight canned food if we could afford to, but we can't. She still has those bumps.

We're giving her Aller-Immune Bites to help with her itchy skin. She's been on them for a week and a half now, and I think she's itching a little less now. It's hard to say.
 

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I'd really be concerned about mange if she's really itchy and doesn't have fleas. My GSD had sarcoptic mange when I found her, and she was an itchy, miserable mess until we finally got it cleared up. I've also had two dogs who had demodectic mange, and while they weren't as bad as my GSD, they were definitely itchy. As an FYI, sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, and is zoonotic, meaning that humans can get it. In humans, it's called scabies.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'd really be concerned about mange if she's really itchy and doesn't have fleas. My GSD had sarcoptic mange when I found her, and she was an itchy, miserable mess until we finally got it cleared up. I've also had two dogs who had demodectic mange, and while they weren't as bad as my GSD, they were definitely itchy. As an FYI, sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, and is zoonotic, meaning that humans can get it. In humans, it's called scabies.
Thanks for the warning. At this point, I think it's just allergies. First, her skin and coat look completely normal except for the redness in her ears. Second, I think she's scratching less now that she's been on the Aller-Immune Bites for about 10 days. I'll need to watch her more to see. But if she doesn't get better, we'll need to consider mange and probably other possibilities.

I mentioned the itchiness because I'd rather not give her something to chew on that would go against building up her immune system. However, we have to look at the big picture. Until we find an outlet for her chewing, she'll have to spend a lot of time in her crate, when we can't watch her constantly. I'm wondering if rawhide, bad as it is, might not be as bad as her having to stay in her crate for a few hours every day as well as at night. She likes her crate and is fine in it at night, but I'd rather not have to lock her in it during the day as well. She has an active mind and wants to be active.
 

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A dog that chews like that is going to go through a large (and expensive) rawhide in a couple of hours. Rottweiler experience talking here - from before I read up on the dangers and stopped giving them. You could try an actual raw beef knuckle bone if you can find them. They probably don't cost any more than large rawhides. Nothing lasts my dogs more than an hour or two and very little is safe. Large black Kongs, do last. I give bully sticks sometimes. Only affordable source is Costco and their packages of them range from good-sized to awfully thin, which I can give to my casual chewer but wouldn't give to a voracious one. I've never had a dog that would look twice at a Nylabone, but if I did have, I wouldn't shy from giving a youngster that chews that hard one made for adult dogs.

I hope for any adopter's sake the chewing becomes more reasonable with age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A dog that chews like that is going to go through a large (and expensive) rawhide in a couple of hours. Rottweiler experience talking here - from before I read up on the dangers and stopped giving them. You could try an actual raw beef knuckle bone if you can find them. They probably don't cost any more than large rawhides. Nothing lasts my dogs more than an hour or two and very little is safe. Large black Kongs, do last. I give bully sticks sometimes. Only affordable source is Costco and their packages of them range from good-sized to awfully thin, which I can give to my casual chewer but wouldn't give to a voracious one. I've never had a dog that would look twice at a Nylabone, but if I did have, I wouldn't shy from giving a youngster that chews that hard one made for adult dogs.

I hope for any adopter's sake the chewing becomes more reasonable with age.
Thank you for sharing your experience and ideas. It sounds like you understand this dog.

Where should I look for a raw beef knuckle bone? Should I ask a butcher? Or do some pet stores sell them? Are they safer than the long beef bones that we can give to adult dogs?

I hope she grows out of this strong chewing need too. Because of her age, there is hope.
 

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I'm no expert on raw bones. My two girls are older and never were the kind of chewers you're trying to deal with, and while I feed raw, I don't feed bones. It was an Akita years ago I used to give knuckle bones to, and at that time you could find them in the meat department of the grocery store now and then. That said, my understanding from doing a lot of raw feeding research is that the weight-bearing long bones are harder and more likely to crack or break teeth. I think the shape of them probably enables a dog to get the kind of hold on the bone that enables power chewing too. The bones raw feeders give for consumption are non-weight-bearing ones like neck and rib. And the bones given for recreational chewing, which is what you want, are appropriately sized joint bones, which I think just from the rounder shape are probably harder to get a power grip on. At 60 pounds (which on a Rottweiler would be more like 6 months), you'd want something decent-sized so it gets chewed and not consumed.

So yes, I'd ask a butcher. The bones pet stores sell are not raw, and I wouldn't give them, but obviously, like rawhide, some do. Good luck.
 

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A good local pet supply store should have raw bones, usually in the frozen section.
Don't get the "smoked" ones that are typically shrink wrapped, like you'd find at places like Walmart, those are dangerous.
 

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The ONLY thing our pup won't destroy in a few hours are the large Himalayan Chews made from Yak milk. Those last her about 2 weeks.
 

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Try a large adult Nylabone. When my dog was a pup and in the teething phase, he could really gnaw down an adult size/hard Nylabone. I liked to get the flavored ones that were a bit awkward and knobby so it was difficult for him to get a good grip with his teeth and he couldn't destroy them as quickly.

Frozen treats like Kongs stuffed with wet dog food were also a favorite (and still are).
 

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Disclaimer: I know I've told this story before - probably multiple times. I'm old, so it's okay - expected, really.

Esther, the alleged Plott hound, (more likely some kind of rottweiler/crocodile mix) was a power chewer unlike anything I'd ever seen. I went to a local pet store and asked for the toughest toy they had. They sold me a huge black Kong (for about $28) and told me it came with a guarantee. I asked them what would happen if she destroyed it. They actually laughed at me and told me I'd get my money back.

I took it home that evening and handed it to Esther (without any stuffing.) In the time it took me to get my jacket off, she had it in about a thousand pieces. (It was a new jacket because Esther had eaten the old one.)

I gathered up a bunch of the larger pieces and put them in a ziplock bag. The next morning, I took it into the pet store with my receipt and confronted them. They said, "What the heck kind of dog do you have?" (They didn't say "heck.") I invited them to come out to the car and meet her, but they declined. They gave me a refund, but not before calling the entire staff together to examine the carnage and hear the story.

We've had the best luck with toys and chews that are meant to be destroyed but with minimal mess and little chance of choking the dog (or the vacuum cleaner.) They need to come apart in very small pieces that are digestible or easily passed.
 
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The best chew for a dog is raw bones. They keep teeth clean. I do not use weight bearing bones (marrow bones) as they are hard and can break teeth. I use rib or knuckle bones and when they get small I remove them so there is not choking hazard.

I also feed a raw diet. Mornings I feed either whole chicken leg quarter, whole chicken breast or a couple of chicken thighs.. sometimes I can get half whole chickens too... bones and all. Night it is a raw mix and I usually add green tripe. Raw bones are OK for dogs. They do not splinter and are not a danger like cooked bones. I never ever use cooked bones like the ones they sell in the pet stores. Those can splinter and cause issues.

I have fed the raw chicken frozen. It gives a dog something to gnaw on for awhile. I have also fed the raw mix as a frozen chunk and again, the dog can gnaw on it for awhile.
 

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While not a fan of Purina, they make a chew bone that isn't horrible.
I use the small for my Aussie as the large are pretty large. They're called Prime Bones, the venison ones.
Might be worth a shot, not too expensive.
Also, will second the Himalayan yak chews.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm no expert on raw bones. My two girls are older and never were the kind of chewers you're trying to deal with, and while I feed raw, I don't feed bones. It was an Akita years ago I used to give knuckle bones to, and at that time you could find them in the meat department of the grocery store now and then. That said, my understanding from doing a lot of raw feeding research is that the weight-bearing long bones are harder and more likely to crack or break teeth. I think the shape of them probably enables a dog to get the kind of hold on the bone that enables power chewing too. The bones raw feeders give for consumption are non-weight-bearing ones like neck and rib. And the bones given for recreational chewing, which is what you want, are appropriately sized joint bones, which I think just from the rounder shape are probably harder to get a power grip on. At 60 pounds (which on a Rottweiler would be more like 6 months), you'd want something decent-sized so it gets chewed and not consumed.

So yes, I'd ask a butcher. The bones pet stores sell are not raw, and I wouldn't give them, but obviously, like rawhide, some do. Good luck.
Thanks! I saw some at Chewy, but I'll need to look at them again.

Today I got her a Nylabone power chewer wishbone. It's for adult dogs, but it's better than chewing on the remote or a table leg, both for her teeth and for us. We aren't going to leave it with her for long at a time. She chewed on it, but it doesn't interest her a lot. It looks like it'll work for occasional chewing along with other things, such as beef knuckle bones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Disclaimer: I know I've told this story before - probably multiple times. I'm old, so it's okay - expected, really.

Esther, the alleged Plott hound, (more likely some kind of rottweiler/crocodile mix) was a power chewer unlike anything I'd ever seen. I went to a local pet store and asked for the toughest toy they had. They sold me a huge black Kong (for about $28) and told me it came with a guarantee. I asked them what would happen if she destroyed it. They actually laughed at me and told me I'd get my money back.

I took it home that evening and handed it to Esther (without any stuffing.) In the time it took me to get my jacket off, she had it in about a thousand pieces. (It was a new jacket because Esther had eaten the old one.)

I gathered up a bunch of the larger pieces and put them in a ziplock bag. The next morning, I took it into the pet store with my receipt and confronted them. They said, "What the heck kind of dog do you have?" (They didn't say "heck.") I invited them to come out to the car and meet her, but they declined. They gave me a refund, but not before calling the entire staff together to examine the carnage and hear the story.

We've had the best luck with toys and chews that are meant to be destroyed but with minimal mess and little chance of choking the dog (or the vacuum cleaner.) They need to come apart in very small pieces that are digestible or easily passed.
Wow. I'm glad you were still there to pick up the pieces before she could eat them.

That kind of thing makes me prefer edible toys. But when they disappear in minutes, they don't serve their main purpose well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A good local pet supply store should have raw bones, usually in the frozen section.
Don't get the "smoked" ones that are typically shrink wrapped, like you'd find at places like Walmart, those are dangerous.
Can you tell me why they're dangerous? We got the shrink-wrapped beef bones from Chewy for our large dog that crossed the rainbow bridge last fall. Even after he had chewed everything off, he liked chewing on the bones and sometimes carrying them around. They're what we switched to after I became concerned about rawhide. I did wonder about them, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Try a large adult Nylabone. When my dog was a pup and in the teething phase, he could really gnaw down an adult size/hard Nylabone. I liked to get the flavored ones that were a bit awkward and knobby so it was difficult for him to get a good grip with his teeth and he couldn't destroy them as quickly.

Frozen treats like Kongs stuffed with wet dog food were also a favorite (and still are).
Thanks!

We actually got a wishbone Nylabone for adult dogs today. She's only interested in it for a few minutes at a time, but at least she gets some chewing out of it. I'm hoping that the wishbone shape will make it harder to destroy than the usual bone shape.

We also used the idea from this thread to freeze treats in the Kong toy. I froze some peanut butter in it and gave it to her just before I went out for a while today. It kept her busy. :)
 
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