NEVER Let Your Dog Chew on These FOUR Things | Vet-Approved Advice

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Four things you should never let your dog chew on.

1 & 2: Bones and antlers.
So with bones, I grew up where my dad would get big soup bones and knuckle bones from the butcher, and he would throw those out for the dogs and they’d spend hours and hours chewing on them. Never thought that there could be anything wrong with them. We never had any problems. We were lucky.

However, after being a veterinarian and working in emergency services, I see a lot of issues from dogs having access and chewing on bones. Obviously, the big one is ingesting bone material that then becomes an obstruction. It perforates through the stomach or the intestines. It can lacerate the esophagus going down. We can have significant dental issues. Those antlers are so dense and hard. Dogs will try to chew on it.

And what we have is the upper molars in the maxillary region and the mandible molars crossing over like this. If we go to chew on something hard and they bite down on it like this, this top molar will fracture and slab fracture off. So now you’re faced with a large dental bill besides a possible emergency surgery to remove a foreign body, especially with some of those antlers that can fracture.

I’ve had a large massive dog get an elk antler, big round and long, and swallow the whole thing. Had to go to surgery to remove it. Avoid those. As entertaining as it may seem, you are going to have an accident. It’s not if, it’s when it’s going to happen. Either you need an abdominal surgery, a GI surgery, or a dental surgery.

Number 3: Sticks. Now, this is difficult, right?
If your dog has access to the woods and you take your dog outside into the trails, even in the back yards, there’s going to be sticks. There’s going to be brush. And a lot of dogs love to grab a stick
and sit there and chew on it. Well, what we end up having again, with some of the dental issues, we could get swallowing a foreign body. But the other thing is we see them getting stuck and the upper portion of the maxilla, that stick fracturing off and getting lodged in the upper part of the mouth. The dog can start spazzing out and pawing at its face, opening its mouth, thrashing around and you. As the owner, seeing this can be very, very stressful and will require an emergency visit to get that out. The other thing that we can see again is besides the dental issues is the splintering of this woody material.

And it can stab into the back of the throat and to the bottom underneath the tongue. And then we get what’s called a sub mandibular abscess. We’ll get a big abscess infection where all of that mouth bacteria, because of this splinter, gets driven into underneath the skin and the piece of wood may stay there or it could come out, but it’s delivered that bacteria. And now we get a big abscess form and you’re going to have to get a lance and possibly a drain placed in there and on antibiotics for a while.

Number 4: Tennis balls are horrible. We actually have a medical diagnosis that we call “tennis ball mouth,” where a dog has been trained to respond to a reward of a tennis ball. Some dogs just love tennis balls. They’ve got that little bounce so when they chew on it, it gives a little bit of feedback so they can sit there and chew on that tennis ball. Well, what happens is the fuzz on the outside of that tennis ball gets what was saliva, the dog drops it or we throw it out in the yard, it picks up all of this fine debris, all this sand, all these little rocks and now the dog is back chewing on it again and it’s just wearing down that enamel and pretty soon after a couple of years of a dog being trained on a tennis ball, all of its mouth is going to be worn down.

You’re going to need extractions. You’re going to need root canals and it can be an absolute mess. Dogs can be in a significant amount of pain and very sensitive to heat and cold water as they can avoid drinking and eating. So those are the big ones we want to see you avoid. Get them on something else that is resistant to wear that does not fracture off. It does not splinter off. There’s a lot of products out there, you see, even with Kongs or Goughnuts, different types of toys that are out there. Avoid ones with fabric on the outside because those pick up debris. Causes wearing of the enamel.

Dr. Sean McPeck

A 2010 Graduate of Colorado State College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Sean McPeck developed his leadership as a Sniper Team Leader and Veterinarian with the US Army Special Operations, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Dr. McPeck has multiple combat deployments, totaling almost 2 years in combat theaters of operation.

He is the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, and is Ranger, Sniper, and Airborne qualified. While serving as an officer in Special Operations, Dr. McPeck was repeatedly recognized for his Honor, Integrity, Courage and Selfless Service in the name of the United States. He was recognized with not one, but two, Meritorious Service Medals.

Under his leadership, Dr. McPeck worked with Working Dog handlers, and canine units, to detain and seize enemy combatants. The canines that Dr. McPeck worked with are credited with savings thousands of United States soldiers deployed in combat areas.

Dr. McPeck authored The RCAP, Ranger Canine Athletic Program, which was the 1st comprehensive Military canine conditioning program.

His specific training and certification classes for Dog handlers to be proficient in Canine Tactical- Combat Casualty Care, and knowledge of current medical equipment and procedures, which led to the successful life saving interventions by handlers in real world operations.

Dr. SaraRose McPeck graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. A Massachusetts native who attended Becker College for her undergrad, Dr. McPeck has lived and worked around the country and even the world. She served four years in the United States Army as a Veterinary Officer, during which she was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, and completed a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.

Her time serving in the Army provided her the experience as the primary veterinarian for over 350 Military Working Dogs, in which she provided all emergency, trauma, surgical, critical, and primary care. In addition to caring for animals, she trained, mentored, and led six Non-Commissioned Officers and twelve junior enlisted Soldiers, giving her not only impressive veterinary experience but also exceptional interpersonal and leadership skills.

As a Veterinary Corp Officer, she received a variety of awards, including a Bronze Star, a NATO Medal, a GWOT Medal, two Army Accommodation Medals, among many others. She gained experiences in which she exemplified impressive leadership skills and the ability to adapt to both clinical and combat support situations. Her years of experience serving our country and in veterinary medicine have equipped her with the knowledge and skills to provide exceptional care to our patients.