Veterinarians are urging pet owners who are looking to purchase holiday chew toys for their dogs to consider flexible or hollow toys instead of bones and antlers.
They told NBC 5 that if you cannot dent a chew toy with their own fingernail, the toy is probably too tough for a dog’s teeth.
“They’re much like us chewing on ice cubes and subject to fracturing teeth, so we see antlers being a real problem in tooth trauma, as well as antlers that are sawed in half that are quite durable for dogs, but again, just too hard,” said Dr. Stephen Juriga, a board-certified veterinary dentist in Aurora.
Ali Vernasco said her 7-year-old shepherd mix, Haddie, recently stopped eating after chewing on an antler. She said she looked at her dog’s mouth and noticed a cracked tooth.
She said she now faces vet bills that could top over $1,500 to help her dog.
“I have to come up with all that money to pay the vet for something that seemed so harmless,” Vernasco said.
Vernasco told NBC 5 she’s sharing her story to help others and their dogs.
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) issued a statement that said veterinarians can be a great resource for advice on safe chew toys specific to your dog.
“Some dogs have been given hard chews like antlers and bones for years without any issues. Other dogs with more aggressive chew behaviour need to stick with more flexible-type chews,” said APPA President and CEO Steve King.
King said with so many options available, no matter what chew you decide to go with, always make sure you get the right size for your dog, check for recalls and supervise use.