Everyone knows that dogs love sticks. They love to fetch them and they love to chew on them. The best thing about them is that they’re free chew toys from nature, right? Wrong. If you’ve been letting your dog chew on sticks, you might be surprised to learn just how dangerous it can be for your dogs health. In addition to mouth and tongue splinters, veterinarians regularly have to treat canines for stick-related injuries such as punctures to the mouth or throat, choking, eye injuries and chest, lung and heart impalement.
Just because an object looks safe, your dog enjoys it, and unlike your shoes, you don’t see an issue with it, there are many common items dog owners should stop letting Fido gnaw on. So, how do you know what is a safe chew toy and what is dangerous? Here are some pet tips to guide you toward safer chew options.
Bad Chew Toy Options For Dogs
There are a variety of unsafe objects many dog owners allow their pets to stay busy with. However, each of them pose specific health hazards to your best friend. Just because they haven’t suffered an injury yet doesn’t mean they’re safe for your dog. Here’s the top five items you shouldn’t be letting your furry friend entertain themselves with:
- Ice. While these frosty chunks seem like a smart choice, especially when hot summer months hit, regularly allowing your dog to chew ice can wear down their tooth enamel and can even fracture or break smaller breed’s teeth.
- Rocks. Many bored dogs have found playing with rocks and stones to be a fun way to pass the time. They can chip and break teeth, swallowed, and, if near a BBQ grill that drops food residue on them, be mistaken for food, causing an emergency rush to the vet.
- Bones. Wait, bones? Yes! Many dog owners think because they’re “natural”, bones are a good chew toy choice. The issue is that bones can be broken and splintered, and the shards swallowed. The fragments can become lodged in the mouth, throat, and intestines. Don’t even consider giving your four-legged friend chicken bones, as they’re a prime cause of choking.
- Water bottles. Many dogs enjoy chewing on water bottles. Some of the dangers include the cap coming off and getting lodged in the dogs throat, and cutting their gums on sharp edges. Additionally, if they tear the bottle up they can suffer internal injuries from swallowing the jagged pieces.
- Rawhide and pig ears. These chewy treats can turn gummy quickly and end up becoming a choking hazard.
What Are Safe Chew Choices For Dogs?
Now that we know what to avoid, what are the best (and safest) items to allow your pooch to gnaw on?
- Edible Chews and Treats — VeggieDent®, Greenies® and other chew treats are generally safe for your pet, however, they don’t last very long. They can, however, improve your dog’s dental and oral health by minimizing or slowing the accumulation of tartar or plaque on the teeth.
- Rubber Chew Toys – Toys such as Kong, made out of firm rubber, are the safest bet when it comes to canine chew toys. They last a long time, can stand up to dedicated chewing, yet protect the teeth. Additionally, many have pockets to add treats to, providing added mental stimulation.
- Tennis Balls — What dog doesn’t enjoy chasing and chewing on a tennis ball? As long as you monitor your dog, tennis balls are generally safe options for chewing fun. Be careful with larger breeds that they don’t pose a choking hazard, though.
Monitor Your Dog’s Chewing Sessions
Anything your dog chews on, even specialty toys, can be a health hazard to your canine friend, so always check on your pooch during their gnawing time. Check their toys for damage or missing pieces. If it appears your dog may have ingested part of a chew toy, don’t wait — take them in for a veterinary examination immediately. With proper diligence, you’ll ensure your furry pal is happy, playful and entertained for years to come.
Your best friend’s dental health is important to us at Atlanta Dental Veterinary Services. Please call today to schedule an appointment to ensure your furry friend’s oral health contributes to their enhanced standard of living.