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Chew toys are not only a great way to keep your dog entertained but also help in maintaining their oral hygiene. However, it’s important to choose the right chew toys to avoid causing any harm to your furry friend. Many dogs suffer from broken teeth, oral injuries, and enamel damage due to chewing on inappropriate items. Let’s take a look at some of the damaging chew toys that you should avoid.
Meat bones may seem like a natural and safe choice for dogs, but they can actually fracture a tooth. Dogs can become so engrossed in chewing on bones that they fail to notice a cracked or broken tooth. It’s essential to be cautious, even with fresh bones from the butcher, as they can cause tooth damage and other complications. Ring-shaped bones can get stuck behind a dog’s lower canine teeth, necessitating their removal under anesthesia. Additionally, chewing bones into small pieces can lead to life-threatening intestinal blockages. Poultry bones, in particular, are extremely dangerous as they splinter easily and can puncture your dog’s stomach or intestinal wall.
Many pet owners consider antlers a safe alternative to bones, but they can be equally harmful. Antlers are as hard as bones and can cause tooth fractures and ingestion of small, hard pieces. They also have a soft center similar to a bone’s marrow cavity, which dogs can access by chewing up the surrounding bone.
#3: Tennis balls
While playing fetch with a tennis ball is enjoyable for dogs, chewing on them can damage their teeth. The fuzzy outer coating of tennis balls can rub against their teeth and wear down the enamel. Additionally, the fuzz collects dirt and grit, making it more abrasive. Unfortunately, enamel damage caused by chewing on tennis balls often goes unnoticed until the damage is severe and the dog experiences dental sensitivity.
#4: Cow hooves
Cow hooves, another seemingly safe option, are made of keratin, one of the hardest compounds in the body. Chewing on them can lead to cracked, chipped, or broken teeth, causing excruciating pain. Hooves can also splinter, posing a risk of mouth or digestive tract injuries.
#5: Ice cubes
While it may be tempting to give your dog ice cubes to cool down on a hot day, they can actually damage their teeth. Chewing on ice cubes can permanently harm a tooth and may even require surgery or extraction. It’s best to avoid allowing your dog to chew on ice cubes, even if they fish them out of their water bowl.
Sticks may seem like readily available chew toys, but they can cause significant damage to your dog’s mouth. Small sticks can wedge themselves between your dog’s teeth and cause tooth, bone, and gum damage. They can also splinter, resulting in sharp pieces that can puncture the mouth or digestive tract. Opt for pet-safe rubber balls for games of fetch and ensure your yard is clear of dead branches if your dog has a habit of chewing on sticks.
#7: Nylon chew toys
Despite being marketed as a safe alternative, some nylon bones can damage your dog’s teeth due to their hard materials. Choose chew toys that are soft enough to indent when pressed with your thumbnail but sturdy enough that your pet cannot chew them into pieces.
How to Choose Pet-Safe Chew Toys
With so many potential dangers, how can you choose safe chew toys for your dog? Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Soft, not hard: Avoid chew toys made of hard materials that can damage your dog’s teeth. Opt for toys made of tough rubber or nylon materials that can withstand your dog’s strong jaws.
- No bits and pieces: Don’t purchase toys that your dog can chew into small pieces, which can pose a choking or obstruction hazard.
- Not too small: Choose size-appropriate toys that your dog can’t swallow whole.
Despite the risks associated with certain chew toys, there are plenty of safe options that can keep your dog entertained. Consider interactive toys like Kong, which can be filled with a mixture of dry kibble and peanut butter and frozen for a special treat. Rawhides are also safe as long as you monitor your dog closely to prevent them from chewing off pieces. Dental chews approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) are excellent for preventing plaque and tartar buildup. Additionally, textured-surface rubber bones can help remove plaque as your dog chews.
If you have any questions about pet-safe chew toys or your dog’s dental health, feel free to contact us. Your dog’s well-being is our priority!