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Why Your Dog Should Not Be Left Unattended With Toys and Treats

There are several things that may require a visit to an animal hospital someday. If your dog is attacked by another dog or appears to have ingested large amounts of dark chocolate – all of these things can require a trained veterinary expert to try to help save your pet’s life. One of the things that most pet owners do not expect, however, is the number of times that a dog is sent to the pet hospital for choking on the treats and toys that the owner assumed were entirely safe.

Yet many hospitals have reported numerous visits from dog owners whose pets have choked on such toys and treats as Greenies, Rawhide Bones, and any rubber chew toy. All of these have caused issues with choking and ingestion.

Why Do Dogs Choke?

Dogs have never been taught to chew their food more than a few chomps. With treats like Greenies, which are great for cleaning teeth and reducing bad breath, these dogs have a difficult time trying to chew through the treat. So rather than simply keep chewing it in small bits, they put the entire thing in their mouth and try to give it a few chomps before swallowing. One false move and the Greenie or rawhide bone will fall straight down their throat, causing choking to occur.

A similar thing occurs with chew toys. Plastic chew toys, in particular, are a great source of fun for your pet, but your pet is ripping into it with all its force. Aggressive chewers will easily rip off pieces and, not knowing any better, try to swallow these pieces that it has ripped free. Since plastic and rubber do not digest, your dog runs the risk of choking and/or getting very sick due to swallowing too much of these non-food items.

What to Do to Reduce Choking

There are not a lot of ways to train your dog out of choking. With food, you may be able to purchase small bite food or soft food. But with teeth cleaners like rawhide bones, smaller rawhide bones will not last as long and do not fix the problem. In addition, smaller toys are not going to be a good idea with larger dogs, and larger toys also do not necessarily solve the problem.
The only thing you can do is monitor your dog’s activity with these toys and treats. Only give them to your dog when you are there to help if something goes wrong, and take them away when not in use. If you are worried that your dog will not have a toy around while you are gone, find something like a large rope which is less likely to have large, choking sized pieces, and can withstand greater amounts of biting. Or find large Kong Toys which do a better job withstanding aggressive chewers.

This is not to say you should not give your dog Greenies and rawhide treats, or take away your dog’s favorite chew toy. Quite the contrary, they are still great choices for your pet. What it does mean, however, is that you should only give these to your pet when you are around to make sure they are okay. And since most dog owners would prefer to be there as their dog enjoys its favorite toy or dog treat anyway, this should not be a big problem.

As long as you are willing to monitor your pet as they chew on these items, it is far less likely that any serious injury will occur, and should something happen you will be there to help save your dog’s life.

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