Even though canine teeth are incredibly powerful, they’re still susceptible to fractures, breaks, and in some cases, even cavities. Pet parents might be surprised to discover that some of their dog’s favorite treats can put their dog’s oral health at risk. Here are some treats that can actually harm your dog’s teeth.
Some pet parents can’t resist sharing their desserts with their dogs. Sweet treats like ice cream, cookies and other sugary human delicacies are a bad idea for dogs from a nutrition and weight standpoint, but sweet foods can also have a negative impact on tooth health as well.
Even though dogs aren’t as prone to cavities as humans because of the shape of their teeth (they have fewer flat teeth where bacteria can build up) and the pH in their mouths, it is still possible for dogs who eat an excessive amount of sugar to develop them, particularly on teeth in the rear of the mouth.
It might seem like ice cubes are a great dog treat because they do double duty as a quick chew as well as a way to hydrate. Unfortunately, those hard chunks of ice can do major damage. Even though dogs have powerful mouths, the pressure required to break through a piece of ice is considerable, and a determined ice-chomping dog might end up with a fractured tooth.
The sharpest points of a dog’s mandibular first molar and the maxillary fourth molar are particularly at risk for snapping off because of the pressure needed to crush ice. Come hot weather, skip the ice and give your dog a good old fashioned bowl of water instead.
3. Animal Bones, Antlers and Rolled Rawhide
Dogs have an innate need to exercise their jaws, however many beloved chews like bones, elk antlers and cow hooves can cause serious dental trauma like fractures and breaks. Bones, particularly antlers, have zero “give,” which makes them long lasting but also more likely to be hard enough to cause problems.
If you wouldn’t hit your knee with the bone or chew, it’s probably not a safe bet for your dog’s teeth. But that doesn’t mean that your furry best friend has to remain chew-less – your dog can still exercise his jaws on durable rubber treat-stuffable toys.
4. Hard-Plastic Dental Bones
Some processed plastic or nylon dental chew bones are marketed to suggest that they improve dental health, but they may in fact cause the same types of problems as antlers and hooves. Many of these chews don’t pass the “knee test,” which means that they’re hard enough to do damage to your dog’s teeth.
On top of that, some dental chews might not deliver the tooth cleaning benefits that they promise. Unfortunately most of these treats do not provide proof beyond anecdotal claims.