Tender at the Bone

Well, Tender at the Bone is admittedly the title of a book about food (if you love food and good writing as much as I do, this is a fantastic book by food critic Ruth Reichl), but I borrowed the phrase to continue our discussion about dental health and chewing on bones. If you haven't followed it yet, read the comments from my A Fully Functional Tooth? post, they add lots of meat to the conversation (sorry). A few readers asked for more photos from Africa, so I thought I'd combine topics and send some more pictures of our time with the pack of African Wild Dogs. Relevant to dental health, here's a photo of the mouth of "Jones," the 4 year old breeding male who was darted and radio collared when we were there watching. What I think is interesting is how good some teeth look (keeping in Read More

“A Fully Functional Tooth?”

Good news. Mostly. Will has recovered from his 5 + hour root canal, but I remain a tad tweaked about the definition of a "fully functional tooth." I choose the root canal for Will instead of an extraction because the vet specialist said it would leave Will with a full set of "fully functional teeth." After the 5 hours of anesthesia and $1,600, the same vet said "His tooth is dead, and thus will become more brittle and more easily broken, so be sure to never let him chew on anything hard, like bones or hard toys or raw hides." Uh, no bones? Not even relatively soft, raw knuckle bones, like the big beef bones that Lassie and Willie get several times a week? "Nope." The rest of our conversation, in which I was far more polite than I was feeling, included me asking "Have you ever seen a dog Read More

Dogs Love Bones; New Lambs

Ahhh spring.  Finally the weather is mild enough to let the dogs lie outside and chew on bones. I just love watching my dogs chew on real, fresh bones. Of course, I would never give my dogs cooked bones (I know most of you know already that cooked bones are brittle and tend to splinter. Don't ever give them to your dog.), but I love giving them the kind of fresh, raw bones that are safe--the large joint bones or large long bones from beef are my preference. The first time I watched dogs chew on real bones I was astounded. Okay, that sounds pretty strong, but I had not anticipated how much exercise and skill it takes to chew on a bone.  All of the parts of a dog's mouth, including the jaw muscles and different types of teeth are engaged in tearing, pulling, grinding and chewing. It was an Read More