One of the ways to help prevent build up of plaque which holds bacteria and will eventually turn into the dreaded tartar, is to offer our dogs hard things to chew on. The chewing action helps to chip any built up tartar off and wears away at the daily plaque build up. Certain foods, rawhide strips and rawhide bones, carrots and plain old tree branches can act as plaque and tartar removers.
There are many other things that our dogs like to chew on that are too hard for their teeth. Bones, antlers, nylabones, whole ice cubes are all hard enough to damage and even break teeth. In order to determine if a potential chew toy is too hard for your dog, practice the “Knee Cap Rule”. This rule was first coined by a good friend of mine, Dr. Fraser Hale of Hale Veterinary Clinic in Guelph. Dr. Hale is a veterinary dentist and he is a vast source of information on all things related to teeth.
According to Dr. Hale, to test whether a potential item is too hard for your dog’s teeth, take the item (bone, antler etc.) and hit your own knee cap with it. If it hurts, it is too hard and should not be given to your pet. If you have any questions on appropriate chew items, please call us at 905-857-5057.