Dogs and cats are the world’s largest consumer of chewing tobacco, with nearly $1 trillion being consumed each year, according to research by research firm Mintel.
But for a few specialty chew manufacturers, that figure has soared in recent years.
One such is a German company called Metlife.
It makes dog dental chewing products and is known for its high-quality dog teeth.
In 2014, the company was awarded the “Dixie Dent” of the year by Consumer Reports, and it’s now on track to claim the crown this year as well.
The company’s founder, Peter Tietze, has also worked for Coca-Cola and Nestle.
“A dog tooth can be a life saver,” he told The Telegraph.
“You need to use it to treat a cold, for a sore throat, to stop a cough or to relieve the pressure on a tooth.
If you’re chewing in a hot environment, your teeth become more irritated and harder to maintain.
But if you can get the dog teeth in a cool environment, they get softer and easier to chew.”
Tietz has also developed a number of high-tech dog tooth products for humans, and he’s now launching his own brand, Dixie Dent.
It has already sold over half a million of its dental products, and the company expects to add another 10,000 by the end of the decade.
It’s a bold move for a company that’s been making chewing products since the 1960s.
“Our products are made of real material, and are designed to be used for a long time,” Tietzes told The Guardian.
“They’re not cheap and are made with high quality materials.
But the best thing about them is that they last for decades, which is what makes them the perfect chew for the human body.”
But is it worth it?
It’s hard to say.
“It’s a gamble to go from chewing a piece of plastic to chewing a dog tooth,” says Rob Gurney, founder and chief executive of The Consumer Reports Dog Tooth Quality Index, a study of tooth health.
“If you do the dental work on your own dog tooth, you’re spending thousands of dollars a month and probably going to be getting a bad tooth or tooth infection, which can lead to more gum disease and even worse dental problems.”
It can also be very expensive.
Tietzel’s dental product is priced at $9.99 (£6.49), but it’s also available in a range of flavours, from “a touch of pink” to “a bit of chocolate”.
But what about a full-on dog tooth?
Gurnes says that’s a little harder to gauge.
“For me, the biggest concern is that you can’t have one with every tooth,” he says.
“Some people have to have two, which means that they’re buying a whole line of products.”
And with dental care in the United States at an all-time high, Gurnay worries that more people are buying dental products online.
“There’s no doubt that the dental industry has been under assault in recent decades,” he explains.
“That’s why the industry needs to do something about the tooth, and there’s definitely a market for it.”
But some experts are sceptical.
“I think this is the wrong time to be selling dog tooth extract,” says Peter Schaffer, an expert on canine dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“The idea that we’re going to make dental products in a bubble and sell them to the general public is ludicrous.”
“People don’t want to buy something that is not of high quality, it’s not going to last,” says Tietels partner, Peter Halsall.
“And the fact that it’s going to take them two or three months to chew it is a real risk.”
But it’s important to remember that chewing is a natural and enjoyable activity for many dogs.
“People have to make a decision,” says Gurne.
“Is it worth spending a whole month to chew a tooth?
Or do I want to chew on a piece that’s already soft?”
For more on chewing and dental health, listen to this week’s BBC Breakfast programme