Date Published: July 7, 2014, Updated: July 14, 2014 at 10:45 pm, Author: admin
Chewing can help dogs alleviate boredom, provide enjoyable mental stimulation, and even help keep their jaws and teeth healthy and strong. It’s no wonder that most dogs really love to chew! However, sometimes we let our beloved pets chew on things that are less than ideal.
Keep in mind that all types of chews carry some risk, since nothing is 100% safe. However, if a chew can’t be slightly bent or your fingernail can’t put a mark into it, chances are it’s too hard. Always watch your dog while they are chewing to be sure they don’t gulp large pieces that could clog their intestines. Once a chew has been gnawed down to a swallow-able size, take it away and replace it with a new one to be safe.
While bully sticks are all beef and thus completely digestible, some chews are more likely to cause problems than others. Especially exercise caution and sound judgment when it comes to these controversial types.
Some owners believe that animal bones and similar parts like hooves and antlers are “natural” and choose to give them to their dogs because they are often less expensive. However, cow hooves and cooked animal bones are really hard. If given to older dogs with more brittle teeth, they could damage or fracture their teeth. Furthermore, animal bones can splinter, and when swallowed, can become imbedded in the bowels, inflict internal cuts, or cause blockage of the GI tract. If the intestines are punctured, infection is likely and can be fatal. However, antlers splinter much less than bones do, and some types of antlers don’t splinter at all, making them a decent dog chew for your pet to enjoy.
The skin of a cow, rawhide chews come in many different forms. As a result, there are varying controversies over giving your dog rawhide. Compressed rawhide bones with the big round ends can become a choking hazard. Since rawhide becomes wet and gummy when chewed, large pieces in any form can also be difficult to digest and cause internal blockage. Furthermore, in countries with less regulation, rawhides are sometimes preserved with toxic chemicals like arsenic.
Some rawhides are better than others however, with some types developed by vets to be safer and easier to digest. Rawhide is also known for helping keep your dog’s teeth clean, so do your research and keep an eye on your dog if you choose to try out rawhides.
Nylabones and Greenies
While many dogs enjoy these two popular chew brands without any problems, there have also been numerous cases of dogs swallowing large pieces and then choking or having their internals blocked. Made to last a long time, some types of Nylabone and Greenie chews are indigestible or extremely hard, so use discretion about what kinds you give your dog. Bully sticks are much easier to digest. You should still watch your dog while they enjoy them, but they are a digestible piece of meat and not a synthetic toy like nylabones.
Keep in mind that Nylabones or Greenies that are made of a gummy material have been noted to break off easier and are more difficult to see in x-rays. Should your dog swallow a large piece that obstructs its GI tract or bowels, this fact makes it more difficult for vets to quickly pinpoint and address the problem.