This holiday season when you’re filling your pet’s stocking, there is one festive present in particular that should be avoided. Deer/Elk/Unicorn Antlers! Not only does Santa not recommend them (for nine obvious reasons), neither does your Veterinarian.
Antlers are much too hard for your dog’s teeth. It is recommended by veterinary dental specialists that dogs not chew on anything that “you wouldn’t want to hit your knee with.” Basically, if it would hurt you, it could hurt their teeth. Chewing on hard bones, whether real or synthetic material, puts your dog at risk for fractured teeth. The most common type that we see in dogs who are given these chews called a slab fracture.
The tooth could get fractured which would cause the pulp of the tooth to be exposed. Not only is this painful for the pet, it also opens up the inside of the tooth to bacteria, which can lead to a major infection. Fractured teeth require removal in most cases, which poses the next tricky problem. The carnassial tooth is three-rooted. One large root at the front, and two smaller roots at the back. These teeth are meant for holding prey and tearing, so one can imagine, they are held in pretty sturdily!
Beyond the dental concerns, there is also an increased risk of choking on these chews, as they are unfortunately the perfect shape to fit down the esophagus. They also are to blame for a lot of “foreign body retrieval” surgeries for the brave dogs who decide to try to eat them whole!
A great alternative to these hard chews would be the softer, edible dental chews. The Veterinary Oral Health Council has a full list of products that are proven to help with plaque and tartar control. For a full list of approved products visit: www.vohc.org or give Aurora Animal Clinic a call at 905-727-9449!
By: Caitlin Johnston, RVT