There is no perfect chew toy for your dog. Dogs want to chew. However, they count on you to give them appropriate things to chew on and to always supervise them while they are chewing. It is important to carefully evaluate all chew toys before giving them to your dog. Although stores may advertise that natural bones and other products are ‘good for your dog’s oral healthcare’ the truth is that often they are not. They can lead to fractured, painful teeth. It is much safer and less painful for your dog to avoid chewing objects and products that we often see associated with problems.
When evaluating a toy to see if it is appropriate for your dog to chew ask yourself if the product will ‘give’ when your dog chews on it. The product must bend or be compressed when it is chewed. Objects that are NOT recommended for dogs to chew on include: natural bones, plastic or nylon bones, deer or elk antlers, cow hooves, pig ears, bully sticks, large knotted rawhides and large ice cubes. All of these objects can fracture your dog’s teeth. Some of them may splinter and cause puncture wounds in the mouth or digestive upset or obstruction. In addition, the outer surface of tennis balls is very abrasive and can cause
wearing of your dog’s teeth
Our veterinarians will complete an oral exam for your dog during every physical exam. During that exam the doctor will look for visible evidence of oral disease, while looking for gum recession, bone loss, fractured teeth, discolored teeth, and oral masses. If it is determined that your dog has a fractured tooth (which is usually due to chewing on hard objects) your veterinarian will recommend an x-ray of the tooth to determine if it is infected. If it is infected or if there is pulp exposure the tooth requires treatment – either oral surgery to remove the tooth or root canal treatment. Remember, fractured teeth may not be noticed until your dog is anesthetized for their annual Comprehensive Oral and Radiographic Evaluation (CORE
procedure). Do your dog a favor and avoid giving them hard things to chew on which may damage their teeth.
One of the most important things you can do for your dog is to provide them with good oral healthcare. Plaque and calculus on the teeth allow bacteria to accumulate under the gum tissue and that may lead to infection in the bone surrounding your dog’s teeth. Oral disease may also lead to microscopic changes in their heart, liver and kidneys. For the same reasons you brush your teeth, it is important to brush your dog’s teeth at least once daily. Daily brushing is the most important way to decrease plaque and tartar accumulation. In addition to daily brushing, there are diets, treats, chews and water additives that can help to keep your dog’s teeth clean and the gum tissues healthy. When deciding which products are best for your dog, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of acceptance. The Veterinary Oral Health Council is the dog equivalent to the American Dental Association. Products that have scientific based evidence that they do decrease plaque and/or calculus have the VOHC seal of acceptance. To view a complete list of currently accepted products for dogs visit their website
Some of the chews that have the VOHC seal of acceptance include:
Some other appropriate chew toys may include soft toys, and pliable rubber toys:
Remember, there is no perfect chew toy for every dog. You must always supervise them while they are chewing.