Dogs love to chew on bones, but unfortunately the bones they love can also hurt them.
Among the dangers of bone chewing are broken teeth, getting the bone stuck somewhere in the digestive or intestinal systems, or having bone fragments pierce the stomach or intestines.
All bones can be dangerous, no matter what size or what type. Always be careful when throwing away leftovers from dinner (some dogs are very talented garbage scavengers), and watch your dog when you go on walks to be sure that he or she hasn’t found a tasty bone, or some other interesting tidbit, hiding in the grass.
There are hundreds of satisfying chewing alternative available on the market, some with dental benefits and some that are just fun. If your dog just enjoys chewing many of the Kong products can entertain your dog for hours. Greenies and other dental treats allow for safe chewing and teeth cleaning. Rawhide chips and retriever rolls or knots can give your dog all the satisfaction of chewing a bone.
If your primary reason for giving your dog bones is to keep his or her teeth clean, there are a number of things you can do at home to keep your dog’s teeth healthy:
- Tooth brushing. Brushing every day with a toothpaste made especially for dogs (never use human toothpaste) is the best way to prevent dental disease.
- Oral rinses or water additives. These work by killing the bacteria in the mouth that cause the plaque.
- Specialized food. Dental diets such as DD by Royal Canin, and T/D by Science Diet, are specifically designed to mechanically scrape the tartar from the tooth when they chew.
- Plaque prevention. If you don’t have time for daily dental care, Oravet plaque prevention gel is a great alternative that can be applied weekly.
- Dental Wipes are treated clothes that can be used to wipe teeth and prevent plaque and tartar.
For more information on the dangers of bones, see this article on the FDA website: No Bones About It: Bones are Unsafe for your Dog