As you lovingly watch your dog completely engrossed in chewing their furry kangaroo ear or a dried cow face, you may find yourself wondering “why have I done this?”
Seeing the fur still intact on our treats can take a little getting used to, and we completely understand that you may wonder why we’ve chosen to lead you down this… frankly, pretty gross path. We get it. Ears and faces and hooves and hides are not what you signed up for when you brought this fluffy four-legged bundle of joy into your home. And yet… they really seem to love them? Well, there are a few very good reasons for that! Feeding weird and wonderful things like fur have some major health benefits for your pup, which is why we strongly encourage you to include them in your dog’s treats and enrichment activities.
No matter what you feed your pooch, whether it’s kibble or a raw diet designed to replicate ancestral feeding, chances are they aren’t getting any of this organic roughage in their diet, simply due to the wonders of modern life. Adding in whole prey style treats, like furry ears and snouts, allows us the opportunity to incorporate the nutritional, dental and cognitive benefits that these foods provide, into a modern diet.
Does my dog need Fibre?
From a nutritional perspective, furry treats add important fibrous material to the diet. Dogs aren’t really designed to eat carbohydrates and they don’t need loads of fibre in their diet - traditionally this function would be filled by all of the interesting things they eat, like hooves, bones and FUR. As well as acting like a broom in their digestive system; sweeping out waste, bulking stools and expressing the anal glands; fur also provide some important nutrients, like manganese.
Dried treats like furry ears also provide great dental health benefits. This is especially important for dogs who eat processed foods, as dental disease is extremely common and can lead to lots of other health problems in life. The chewing and gnawing that these treats require, especially coupled with the bristly fur on them, cleans their teeth as they chew, it helps to prevent plaque buildup, and it freshens breath (even if that seems unlikely from a stinky ear!)
Chewing can help your dog mentally
Finally, one of the things we sometimes forget about for our pooches - since they seem SO happy ALL of time - is their mental health. Exercise and training are great ways to work our pups’ minds, but chewing is another underrated way to engage them. If you’ve ever had a puppy, you will know that they love to chew and bite. This is because dogs explore the world with their mouths! Chewing different things is a cognitive exercise for them, so adding new textures - like fur - adds another layer to this and will engage their minds even further. This wears them out and can lead to can lead to a calmer, happier disposition - tired dogs are happy dogs!
We recommend including furry treats into your routine for all of these reasons, as well as for variety in both nutrition and the type of enrichment you’re offering.