This is a classic tale, but perhaps one where the warning is often ignored. Do NOT feed hard toys, bones, antlers etc to your dog. It can and will break their teeth. Take for instance adorable Nanaimo. She LOVED her antlers, which is why despite the warnings she continued to get antlers. She chewed them for 5 years with no consequence. She was in for her annual check-up and the veterinarian took a routine check of her teeth. Low and behold she had a slab fracture on her upper carnassial tooth (a large piece of enamel was broken off). The only fix was the extraction of the tooth. She was still eating normally and not exhibiting any outward signs of the fracture that the owner (a seasoned vet tech) could notice. Dogs are very good at hiding pain and discomfort as a survival method that is deeply ingrained in them.
After the procedure, she was on pain medication and could only eat soft food while the incision healed. The upper carnassial is a very important tooth for chewing her food. While she is managing fine without it, her lower molars are now at risk of accumulating more dental disease because dental kibble can no longer properly help keep them clean.
Not sure if a toy is too hard? When choosing an appropriate toy for your dog to chew make sure it is soft enough to tap your knee cap. If it’s too hard to tap on your knee, it’s too hard for them to chew. Another way to check is if you can press your fingernail into the toy. The risks definitely outweigh the short-term benefits and there are many safer options. If you need help with an avid chewer, give us a call.
Below is a picture of the slab fracture and a very happy Nanaimo—no more pain!
By Melanie G RVT