The dangers of hard chew toys for dogs

The dangers of hard chew toys for dogs
If you're the owner of a dog that is an aggressive chewer, your wallet may have taken a hit from constantly replacing his toys because he keeps chewing through them, until eventually you probably opted to get him the strongest, hardest chew toy you could find just to appease his penchant for masticating everything in his path.

However, dog owners should beware before giving their dogs hard toys to play with, even if the toys are designed for aggressive chewers, they may not necessarily be safe.

Some dogs just can't control themselves. Even under strict surveillance, dogs who are aggressive chewers risk breaking off a piece of their new toy and swallowing it, or breaking off parts of their teeth.

I speak from personal experience. I had mistakenly given my dog several "safe" hard chew toys to play with in order to satisfy his desire to chew, and chew hard. It was during a routine teeth-cleaning session that, to my horror, I noticed both of the dog's fourth premolars were completely split in half. They weren't bleeding and he didn't seem to be in any discomfort, but I rushed him to the vet anyway. There, the doctor shook his said and said the fractured pieces would have to be removed in order to prevent infection. A shame, the doctor said, considering the dog had otherwise perfectly healthy teeth, but he somehow managed to chew hard enough to shatter his premolars to pieces. The doctor added that dogs, like people, have different personalities, and mine in particular just doesn't know when to stop once he starts chewing.

Because I had made the decision to give the dog hard chew toys that I thought were safe for aggressive chewers, he needed to be anesthetized and endure dental surgery, I ended up paying hundreds of U.S. dollars in surgery fees, and my dog is now sans two vital premolars in his mouth.

Now, I only invest in firm rubber toys that the dog can't potentially chip his teeth on, or rope/cloth toys that he can pull and tug. I also take clean, old socks, tie them up into tight balls and the dog has a blast with them. Not only have these become his favorite, it has the added bonus of being cheap and safer than the expensive hard chew toys I used to buy.

However, even if you make the decision to never give your dog hard chew toys anymore, it is still important to always supervise your dog when he's chewing on something. With dogs, you just never know what kind of trouble they'll get into.

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