Are you using dog chews to give your pup some much needed mental stimulation?
My doodles, Maggie and Rossi, get lots of walks and playtime yet sometimes, they’re still bored. That’s where mental enrichment comes in.
News flash: a walk around the block isn’t enough for your dog. If you’re looking to fix many behavior problems, the first thing you need to check is if your dog is getting enough mental stimulation.
In the past we discussed all the many ways to provide mental enrichment with products or making games yourself but today let’s look at stimulating brain activity using Rossi’s favorite thing in the world: food.
How does food provide mental enrichment? (Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to teach your dog how to cook.)
Food for dogs is usually just a matter of eating out of the bowl. But there are creative ways for your dog to get his calories in. Specifically, we’re going to be talking about chews and the ways in which a healthy chew can benefit your dog. (Hint: it’s not just what’s in the chew but also in the work it takes to eat the chew.)
I use light chews for training – these are bite-size pieces of real meat parts which they love. Medium and large chews are for relaxing after work, sometimes as a frozen treat or stuffed with peanut butter.
What are the best bones and chews for mental enrichment?
For the past few months I’ve subscribed to no contract Real Dog Box, which handcrafts and air dries different chews of human-quality fresh meat and seafood. I get mine once a month but you can easily skip months by sending them a text. I pay $39 (and free shipping) which for the amount I get is well worth it.
What do you get in real dog box? If you’re like me, you’ll be seeing some things you’ve never seen before. Beef trachea? Lamb lung? Duck feet? Chicken heart? I admit I was a little freaked out at first but my dogs certainly weren’t. To them, these looked and smelled like the yummiest treats ever.
One thing that really helped me was the explainer cards Real Dog Box includes in the packages. You learn what it is, where it comes from and why it’s good for your dog.
Some items that arrive as medium and large chews are truly eye-poppers – a duck foot or a beef trachea, anyone? – and I admit I was more than a little freaked out at first. But honestly, I got used to it, especially when I learned how good these ‘weird’ animal parts were for my dogs and how much my dogs loved them.
I love Real Dog because it’s 100% animal and 100% real food. The subscription service allows you to cancel anytime or skip a shipment. The chews are all air-dried so the process is never rushed. Customer service is excellent. You get an info card about what each meat does for your dog. For example, chicken heart provides taurine (yes, you might recognize that from the DCM recommendations) which is something dogs don’t create on their own.
After confirming that both me and the doodles love the treats, I decided to become an ambassador for Real Dog Box. This means you can use our link and get an extra bag of treats included in your box.
I can’t recommend this company enough. I was a subscriber before I came onboard as an ambassador. I’ve tested these treats for months to make sure they were right for my (sensitive and picky) dogs and I’m so excited about these treats when they arrive each month.
Some of my favorite things about Real Dog Box:
- 100% meat – My dogs have so many allergies (ugh) so I love not being worried that an ingredient in the treat is going to make those allergies worse.
- Woman-owned and run – and by an amazing lady, Ruby. Check out their Instagram and you’ll love her too. She holds your hand and walks you through what dogs need in their diet, what will help them and more. We need more people like Ruby in the animal world.
- Customer service – Have a question? Shoot them a text or email and you’ll see how helpful they are.
Which dog chews for clean teeth?
- 75% of dogs suffer from periodontal disease in America and single-ingredient chews are one of the best ways to combat dental issues. Dental issues are more than just that – they can lead to cardiac issues which may in the long run shorten your dog’s life.
- Many dental chews have no nutritional value and are full of empty calories.
- As your dog’s teeth scrape the bones and chews on them, this action also scrapes tartar off of the teeth. In 3 months, I have seen a huge improvement in both Maggie and Rossi’s teeth and gums from their dog chews.
How to prevent an upset tummy from a new chew
My dogs with very sensitive stomachs – that’s what held me back from doing Real Dog Box sooner. So here’s what you can do to prevent that:
- Freeze your treats to slow your dog from eating them too quickly (and helps keep them fresh) and hence will help tire your dog out.
- Don’t give your dog the whole chew at first, I often break up things like pig ears the first time my dogs have it. This helps their stomach adjust to something new and it’s good for them to have variety in their diets.
- Give some slippery elm if they’re trying something new. This is my go-to before pumpkin. Just a tiny bit goes a long way. This is the one I purchase and it has worked amazingly for my dogs. (You can read all about slippery elm here, including how much to give.) You may recognize this item from our blog post on items to always have in your home.
Ready to give your dog a box of their new favorite chews? Click below, you can choose from treats only, chews only, treats and chews (this is what I do), or super chews (not for really small dogs). You can also select to not include certain proteins for dogs with allergies.
🌟🎉🌟 Click here to use my Read Dog Box referral and get a free bag of treats in your first box! 🌟🎉🌟