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Pets

Ask the Pet Expert | Toys for chew-happy dogs

My 1-year-old German shepherd destroys all of his toys — he shreds them up. Do you have any suggestions for really heavy-duty-chewing toys besides bones and antlers?

Natural bones, antlers, Nylabones, and Kongs are best for dogs who are "aggressive" chewers. In my way of thinking, toys are not for chewing, they are for interactive playing whether with people or other dogs. I always supervise when I introduce a new toy to see how the dog will behave. If the dog is not likely to swallow any pieces but enjoys shredding, then I occasionally buy a safe, non-toxic soft toy and allow the dog to have at it. Some toys such as tennis balls can wear down the enamel on your dog's teeth, so check with your vet and read the labels to make sure it's safe for your dog.

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The other thing to consider is that constant chewing could be a sign of stress or boredom. I suggest getting your dog involved in some training to give him other outlets. This could be in the form of an obedience class or a dog sport. There's something out there for just about every dog.

Pauline Houliaras, CPT is a Certified Professional Trainer & Behavior Consultant with Doghouse Girls, doghousegirls.com, which offers group classes, private one-on-one training and boarding school for dogs in her home. Send your questions to sun.unleashed@gmail.com.


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