Considerations for Chew Items for Dogs and Cats

John R. Lewis, VMD


Issue: Volume 72 Fall 2023

Online Publication Date: 14 September 2023


Veterinary practitioners are often asked by pet owners, “What chew items should I give my pet?” Considerations include dental trauma, chewing behavior and bite forces, and periodontal disease. Characteristics of the ideal chew item may include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) It must be of interest to dogs and cats to encourage chewing behavior; (2) it is either long-lasting or, alternatively, it can be administered frequently without adverse consequences; (3) it is of high nutritional quality with minimal calorie increases above the current diet; (4) it is proven to decrease plaque and calculus; (5) it is not excessively hard to avoid harm to the teeth and jaws; (6) it has a broad safety spectrum with minimal risk of toxicity, choking, and GI obstruction. Maintenance of periodontal health may help to minimize systemic inflammation and sequela of chronic inflammation.