My bulldog Roscoe can make short work of a chew toy. He can tear one to shreds in minutes. That’s why I set out on a search for the best chew toys for bulldogs.
First, a little history on why bulldogs -- or any dog for that matter -- like to chew on things.
The ASPCA says in an online article that the chewing urge is genetically built in:
“It’s normal for puppies and dogs to chew on objects as they explore the world. Chewing accomplishes a number of things for a dog. For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. For older dogs, it’s nature’s way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can relieve mild anxiety or frustration.”
Puppies are like babies
According to Dr. Kristy Conn, puppies are like babies in that their mouths become a primary means of exploring the world around them:
“Inappropriate chewing is a fairly common problem in young dogs and stems from the fact that puppies use their mouths as a means of exploring the world around them. Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies but becomes undesirable behavior when it is directed towards inappropriate objects such as your shoes, furniture, or even your hands and feet. If inappropriate chewing is not corrected then it can lead to wide scale destruction of personal property, medical problems and erosion of the human-animal bond.
“A dog’s deciduous teeth will erupt between three to eight weeks of age and around four to six months of age these teeth will be gradually replaced with permanent teeth. Teething is a painful process and puppies chew more during this period of time because their gums are very irritated during this time and the act of chewing relieves their discomfort. Inappropriate chewing is most likely to occur while the puppy is teething but if not corrected can become a long standing problem even after all the adult teeth emerge and teething ends.”
Not a good thing, right? But what to do about it?
Finding a good way to direct the chewing instinct
The Humane Society weighs in with this observation:
“Sooner or later every dog lover returns home to find some unexpected damage inflicted by their or their dog; or, more specifically, that dog's teeth. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore the world, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work.
“Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn't destroying things you value or jeopardizing their own safety.
“Until they've learned what they can and can't chew, however, it's your responsibility to manage the situation as much as possible, so they doesn't have the opportunity to chew on unacceptable objects.”
Some acceptable alternatives to chewing on your shoes
Here are several useful things you can do and/or give your dog to acceptably channel the chewing instinct. Many of these tips are from WebMD:
“’Dog-proof’ your house. Put valuable objects away until you’re confident that your dog’s chewing behavior is restricted to appropriate items. Keep shoes and clothing in a closed closest, dirty laundry in a hamper and books on shelves. Make it easy for your dog to succeed.
“Provide your dog with plenty of his own toys and inedible chew bones. Pay attention to the types of toys that keep him chewing for long periods of time and continue to offer those. Try the Chicken Flavored Wishbone Chew Toy and other toys found on that site. It’s ideal to introduce something new or rotate your dog’s chew toys every couple of days so that he doesn’t get bored with the same old toys.
“Identify times of the day when your dog is most likely to chew and give him a puzzle toy, such as a Zogoflex Tux Guaranteed Tough Treat Stuffable Dog Chew Toy, filled with something delicious. You can include some of your dog’s daily ration of food in the toy."
If you can’t be at home during the day
Confine your dog during the times you’re at work or elsewhere. Put him in a room with the door closed, or in a kennel.
Then, when you get home, remember to take him on a long walk or perhaps a romp at the park.
Discourage inappropriate chewing
You can put a bad taste in your dog’s mouth by spraying something like Anti-Chew Bitter Spray for Dogs or Grannick's Bitter Apple for Dogs on things they shouldn’t be chewing on. Spray a small piece of cotton cloth with one of these products and gently put it on your dog’s tongue. He’ll probably gag and spit it out. Then, when he smells that spray on items like your shoes, he’ll avoid them.
Keep an eye on your dog and watch for opportunities to switch off-limits object with chew toys, so he can begin to understand what he can and can’t chew on.
My dog really IS my best friend
My dog Roscoe really IS one of my best friends. By giving him appropriate toys to chew on (especially when I’m gone), both he and I can stay happy.