Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Chew chew!

Hector during teething - a mixture of puppy and adult teeth
Hector has got a beautiful, full set of adult teeth now and he’s determined to enjoy them.

He’s always liked a bit of a chew, but there’s no stopping him now. Over the past few weeks as his adult teeth have really established themselves, he's seemed to get cravings for particular textures. The antlers were a firm favourite but they've fallen out of favour for now. Next thing you know he's chomping into wood, then plush toys, and then only rubber will do before he gets a sudden urge to chew plastic.

Rope toys may be advertised as good for dental health, but at the moment Hector and Stanley see these only as tug toys. That means they last a lot longer than they would if any of the dogs was in the mood to nibble at them, but it leaves a recently-teethed young dog looking for something else.

Our firewood basket attracts Hector with its selection of dried sticks. This has had the same appeal for every dog who’s lived here, so I’ve invested in a root for safer wood-based chewing.

The nylon marrow bone is also doing a great job at the moment. All the dogs love these as they have a jerky flavoured filling, and for Hector the nylon is tough enough to satisfy his craving for hard plastic.

Another favourite is the Busy Buddy Waggle bone, which is great for when Hector wants something a bit more yielding. That's OK as long as I keep checking it for wear and tear - it seems incredibly hardwaering and he hasn't broken anything off of it, but as he illustrated the other night when he threw up some bits of tennis ball, he's not averse to eating anything that falls off a toy.

But really, anything is fair game to Hector at the moment - a book left lying around is a brilliant toy that makes great ripping noises as well as providing lovely chewy cardboard. And while no shoes have been destroyed, a few have found their way out to the garden. 

Hector's need to chew is literally keeping us on our toes, but he hasn't done much damage so far. My role in all this is to remove temptation (such as access to firewood and shoes) as much as possible and provide a steady supply of satisfying, safe and approved chew toys, as well as making sure Hector gets enough play and interaction so he doesn't end up chewing from boredom. I also take away any toys that he has lost interest in, as these become 'special' again after a short absence. Hence the Stagbar will be in demand again, the rubber dumbell will fall out of favour and even the firewood basket may eventually be safe.
All this is natural for a five-month-old puppy and it's a delight to watch Hector enjoying his new gnashers as long as he's not sinking them into my favourite boots. I'm absurdly proud of his beautiful white teeth and I think he should be too. He certainly loves having his teeth cleaned and he's had a positive effect on Billy and Stanley's attitudes to the toothbrush too.

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