The best dental health and home care in the world won’t change a broken tooth that comes from your dog chewing on something that is not good for it. Here are a couple of items that we strongly recommend you disallow for the well-being of your dog’s teeth and overall health.
Dried Cow Hooves, Cow Knuckles, Antlers
We know there are dogs who have never met a chew toy they couldn’t destroy. And we may be tempted to give increasingly "indestructible” items because we know the dog needs to chew and because we want to protect our furniture, shoes, and pocketbook. But items like cow knuckles and antlers are just far too hard and can fracture your dog’s teeth. A common type of broken tooth seen in dogs is called a slab fracture. This occurs when the dog bites down on a hard object which causes part of the tooth to chip off. Broken/chipped teeth can result in exposed nerves, pain, and infections. It is just not worth the risk. Any type of chew toy needs to have some give to it.
Tennis balls are cheap and are not rigid but they have fuzz on them that gets caked with dirt and grit. That fuzz is already abrasive and for excessive chewers that fuzz/dirt combo can cause wearing damage to the teeth. Gradual wear to the dog’s tooth enamel is referred to as "blunting.” Just like in people enamel is an important protective covering to the tooth and we don’t want it to get worn off because of excessive chewing.
Sticks and Rocks
Rocks are pretty clearly too hard for the teeth but sticks are an example of an item that seems to be ok but can poses many risks. Sticks can break and splinter and cause punctures and tears in the gut that can be life-threatening. Better to be safe than sorry and find a toy that your dog enjoys chewing on that won’t break into dangerous pieces.
One to watch:
Rawhide chews can be a good solution for dogs who just have to chew. They are generally not too hard but we want to make a note that rawhide chews can cause choking or gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed whole. Make sure you are giving the right-sized rawhide treats under your direct supervision.
There are chew toys on the market that are far-less likely to result in chipped or fractured teeth or pose other health risks; check with your vet for suggestions.
Posted Friday, February 06, 2015