Did you know that some common dog chew toys (even some labeled as “dental health” products) can actually damage a dog’s teeth? Here are a few that we recommend you avoid:
- Hard plastic and nylon bones: These toys are often made of a material that is harder than the dog’s teeth, causing fractures as they chew. The most common teeth affected are the upper fourth premolars, which are two of the major teeth used to chew dog’s food.
- Animal hooves, antlers and bones (such as marrow bones, knuckle bones and soup bones): These products are also often hard enough to fracture dog’s teeth. In addition to dental fractures they can cause damage to the gum tissue, roof of mouth and digestive tract (if they splinter) or cause an intestinal obstruction if they are swallowed.
- Ice cubes: Large ice cubes are often hard enough to cause trauma to teeth. If you elect to feed your dog ice, it is best to give softer smaller (crushed) pieces.
- Compressed rawhide: There are several rawhide treats that can be beneficial for removing plaque and tartar–these treats are usually flatter and thinner pieces of dried hide. However, the compressed rawhides (which consist of several layers of rawhide pressed together and often molded into shapes) tend to be much harder and can result in dental fractures.
- Tennis balls: Most people don’t realize the potential damage caused by tennis balls. The nylon “fuzz” on the balls tends to be very abrasive and can cause damage to the enamel when the balls are chewed. Additionally, the fuzz can retain grit from the ground, which can be further damaging to the teeth. It is best to select “dog-friendly” rubber balls that don’t have exterior fuzz, especially if your dog is prone to chewing these balls.
Dr. McMurphy graduated from Tufts University in 2004 and completed her internship at Friendship in 2005; and has been a staff doctor ever since. In addition to primary care, Dr. McMurphy is one of our dental surgeons.