What type of Toy should I give my dog?

By July 24, 2013Blog

There are literally hundreds of toys and treats on the pet care market today.  How does a pet owner choose one product over any other?  The best advice a veterinarian can give a client is to offer tooth-friendly toys and treats that are appropriate for a dog’s size and age. 

Remember: if you cannot bend it or break it with your bare hands, it is not safe for your dog’s teeth.

-Puppy teeth are pointy and sharp but they are fragile so soft plush or rubber toys are ideal at this stage.

-Small breed adults dogs need extra help with dental hygiene so flat, flexible chews or rawhide strips are a good choice to supplement tooth brushing

– Large adult dogs tend to be aggressive chewers, they can handle dense but compressible rubber toys and flat rawhides 

Products with the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of acceptance have proven their label claims for dental hygiene.  The VOHC does not however evaluate a product for safety.  

Sterilized butcher bones and virtually indestructible nylon bones are harmful to teeth.  A long time ago, when all dogs were wild animals, they ate most of what they killed, including the bones.  So what is so unhealthy about feeding bones to a pet dog?  Well, our pets are more pampered pooches than they are predators.  They no longer hunt for their supper.  When we serve them hard bones and toys that do not give under pressure, a broken tooth is the usual result. 

Click here for more information from the FDA on the hazards of giving bones to dogs. 

Other common products that are harmful to teeth include:

– Tennis balls- the fuzzy coating wears down tooth enamel

– Dog ice cream- dogs have no natural defense against cavities

-Rolled or compressed rawhides, plastic flying discs, ice cubes- these are too hard/inflexible

Tiffany Brown, DAVDC