People and dogs share a lot of things in common, one likely reason for their strong friendship. One of the things they have in common, unfortunately, is susceptibility to frustrating dental woes -- think gum disease. Thankfully, you can do a lot of things to keep your pooch's chompers in tip-top shape, from routinely brushing them to giving him dental chews.
Standard Chew Toys
Pet supplies stores everywhere are full of many varieties of chew toys that help keep dogs entertained and engaged for hours. Standard chew toys -- think those that are made out of rubber -- can take care of your pooch's urge to sink his teeth into things. At the same time, they can assist in dental hygiene by polishing off any slight remnants of smooth plaque and tartar that exist on your pet's teeth. Dogs should never try to eat these kinds of chew toys, as they're not edible.
Dental chews also are commonly used to keep canine "smiles" sparkly and immaculate. Many doggie dental chews are designed specifically for extracting pesky tartar accumulation, with their abrasive qualities. A lot of them also focus on offering dogs other helpful dental advantages, including strengthening the gums and keeping breath smelling clean and pleasant.
Before deciding on which chews to use for your pet, seek safe suggestions from your veterinarian. As far as standard chew toys go, materials such as the aforementioned rubber and nylon usually work well. If you're interested in dental chews that are designed specifically for doing away with plaque and tartar, be aware that many of these are made for eating, but only in extreme moderation. The point of edible dental chews is to encourage canines to chew on them for a while, and then later for the furry guys to eat wee bits. Fast, excessive intake of these chews is a strict no-no. Talk to the vet about specific dental chews that promote measured chewing. If your pet quickly eats dental chews -- and in big bites -- it could result in severely hazardous blockage of the digestive tract. This type of blockage can be fatal and calls for urgent veterinary attention, specifically surgery.
The Better Chews
In determining which type of chew is better for canine teeth cleaning, note that it depends on your pet's chewing style. If your dog's chewing is casual, then he might work well with dental chews that are edible. Particularly chomp-happy dogs run the risk of eating pieces that are far too large. If your dog does a lot of intense chewing, permanent chew toys are often more practical and safe, such as ones produced out of nylon. Bigger doggies often are extremely enthusiastic chewers. Always closely supervise your cutie as he chews, for safety purposes. Also keep your pet away from any chew toys that are inordinately little. If your dog consumes a little piece in one fell swoop, it could also trigger perilous obstruction or choking issues. Seek emergency veterinarian care if you ever notice any difficulties involving your pet and chew toys of any kind.
Although doggie chews with prior veterinary approval might be helpful in keeping your pet's teeth tidy, they can't replace regular teeth brushing and cleaning sessions at the veterinarian. Keep up with your pooch's dental hygiene by routinely brushing his teeth using a special canine toothpaste and toothbrush. Frequent veterinary visits also are key for your pet's continued dental health.
- ASPCA: Ten Steps to Your Dog's Dental Health
- ASPCA: Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
- DogChannel.com: Information on Dental Care for Dogs
- St. Tammany Humane Society: Dental Pet Health
- Animal Humane Society: Grooming Tips for Dogs
- Toledo Area Humane Society: Dog Toys & How to Use Them
- North Portland Veterinary Hospital: Dental Chew Toys & Treats
- ASPCA: Position Statement on Dog Chews/Treats
- Animal Planet: Do Dental Dog Treats Really Work?
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