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 chew on a real bone?” (answer = no) and “Wouldn’t you consider chewing on a bone a normal behavior for a dog?” (I really was polite, honest.)
Fact is, if I had known before the procedure what I knew after, I would have made a different choice. (Note a comment came in from a reader who said she had a root canal done on her dog and the tooth broke not long after; she had to have it extracted eventually anyway.) However, it turns out (thanks to the kindly email of one of our readers) that extractions have their down sides too. I’d known it was more intrusive on the dog (Will’s tooth was the huge premolar in the upper jaw, the one w/ 3 roots embedded in the jaw), but I wasn’t told until recently that the teeth around an extraction tend to build up more tartar and may require the dog to be anesthetized more frequently to have his teeth cleaned.
However, I’ll admit to being a tad tweaked at the vet dentistry specialist, who was extremely nice and clearly very caring of Willie, but who didn’t give me all the information I needed to make an informed decision. But mostly, I was mad at myself. Why hadn’t I done more research before hand? Why hadn’t I lived on the internet the night before finding out every possible fact I could before I met with the specialist? Oh I’d done due diligence in a way, talked to 4 vets, found a great specialist who could see Will in a quiet but highly respected vet clinic, but still….
A dear friend, who also is a veterinarian, listened to me tell my story recently and said: “Vets who specialize in dentistry always tell you never to let your dog chew on bones… no matter why you go to see them.” It makes sense, if you think about it. Who are they going to see but dogs that have trouble with their teeth, including ones who broke a tooth when chewing on a bone?
So here’s my question to you, dear readers: what’s your take on the correlation (causation?) of chewing on real bones and broken teeth? After all, something broke Will’s tooth, and maybe it was chewing on a bone I gave him. Is there any research out there on bone chewing and teeth breaking? Probably… I’ll see what I can find, meanwhile, I’d love to hear your experiences. How many of you let your dogs chew on real bones without having problems with damaged teeth? How about the opposite?
Meanwhile, back at the farm. It’s fall, it’s gorgeous and I love it! Here’s some New England Asters blooming in front of the side of the barn and a diagonal drain pipe:
And here’s Mr. Will last night in the evening light, moving the ewe flock so that I can put down their supplemental hay. Note pudgy Brittany (Spears) in the middle, and the small white lamb 2nd from left who magically oozes through the fence and gets back to her mamma no matter what we do….
Sharrie Brockhaus says
I have one ram lamb who “oozes” under the fence, eats nice green grass in the yard while waiting for me, and then runs through the gate when I open it. Who says sheep are dumb?
My dogs get bones all the time (hardish (raw knuckle) and soft (rawhides)). I have not noticed any wearing of their back teeth, which when I watch them eat their bones, they seem to be using, but I have noticed their front canines starting to wear down. The vet has checked them and says that they are fine, but I do keep a close eye on them. Personally, I think just like in people, some have better teeth that others. Some have a better metabolism (not me!), some have better hearing, its all in the genes. Now obviously if your dog is always eating cook hard bones (which I try and avoid), like knuckles bones you can buy at a Walmart type store, then maybe their nice hard teeth will break or wear down. That same dog may eat raw knuckle bones and never have a problem. Also, life just happens. Will may have great strong teeth and hit it at just the right angle (or wrong in this case), a one in a million bite, and broke the tooth. You’ll never know, so don’t beat yourself up over it.
I’m not sure where I’ve read it, but I thought that it was very important for dogs to chew on things. Not just for getting tartar off their teeth or for food, but it actually was like a stress reliever. ????
I haven’t found bones that work for my shepherd mix–he swallows hunks. He gets a small rawhide twist after meals, and I believe it’s been beneficial for his teeth. (When we’ve run out of them for a few days, his breath is noticably worse.)
Maybe you could ask about Greenies if bones aren’t possible, though they’ve gotten some bad press too. Still, dogs need to chew!
Dena Norton says
I used to give my Springer, Izzee, sterilized beef bones to chew on. After she broke a tooth, I stopped. I never could find anything else she was interested in chewing on after I decided that bones weren’t going to be safe for her. (She eventually had the tooth extracted, but kept it for a couple of years after the breakage with no sign of discomfort or problem.)
Pamela Picard says
I and all my raw feeding pals call knuckle bones “wreck bones” for reasons you just found out.
Ellen Pepin says
It seems that a fully functional tooth for a dog would allow it to chew on a bone. We give our dogs real bones all the time. These are big, hefty things that my mother used to call “soup bones”. My late dog was almost 12 and always chewed bones and she had all her teeth. Our current dogs chew all the time without any know consequences.
Susanne Bark says
Oh dear, I can imagine how you feel!
Bones break teeth, especially lamb bones. Lisa my kelpie broke her left upper molar about 6 yrs ago on a lamb shank- same tooth as your Will. I had my Vet extract it without a thought, the tooth had craked in about 6 pieces. I still give her bones but stay away from lamb bones. No other broken teeth since then.
Another risk with bones is getting caught/lodged in trachea or bowels. Just last week a dog presented with coughing,weight loss and no apetite. We anesthetized this 7yrs old Border Collie and found a 3cm bone lodged sideways about 20 cms down the trachea by doing a series of x-rays. We were lucky to be able to dislodge it without surgery and the patient is doing fine.
Bones are risky but so is popcorn for humans. I love popcorn! My dentist cant understand why I would eat them as this causes hairline fractures in my teeth.
If Willies tooth breaks you can still have it removed.
The Vet may have presumed you would know that bones would be out for Will and my guess is you thought the Vet would undertand how important bones are to your dogs and that you would still like to give them bones.
Do we stop doing the things we love because its risky? I still eat popcorn- carefully.
We are all a little wiser after reading about your experience. I do admire your energetic writing! You are such a wonderful communicator with dogs and people.
Will looks happy being back with his flock.
Mikey's mom says
My Lab “Mikey” had a root canal on an upper canine when he was 4. He lived to be almost 15, chewed on lots more things than I care to remember, including bones. He never broke that tooth off. And he was crazy. I mean a typical crazy Labrador. You know what I’m saying.
Devorah Friedman says
My dogs have always enjoyed real bones especially marrow bones. I have never, this is over a lot of years and a number of dogs, seen a dog break a tooth on a bone. Granted, the teeth were healthy ” live ” teeth. I have seen some pretty extreme wear on teeth in elderly dogs who still enjoy real bones. From personal experience with root canals in my own teeth they are definitely more fragile than normal intact teeth. Will’s tooth may well have broken because there was some decay which of course will structurally weaken a tooth.
My doberman regularly chews on real bones and on the “Chooble” brand softer bones. She has never broken a tooth and never had trouble with any kind of build up on her teeth. Vets always comment on her white teeth when I take her in for her check up. One even asked me if I brush her teeth (I do not). I wonder if there’s a connection between her regular chewing and her strong, white, healthy teeth?
Um, didn’t dogs evolve to chew on bones?
My (non-dental) vet suggested that rawhides were better; it seems odd to me that a vet would recommend that a dog chew on a formaldehyde-laced rawhide which causes plaque buildup on his teeth and (in our case) leads to upset stomachs and, um, “the squirts,” rather than something he would be chewing on in nature.
When my Terv broke his big PM4, I considered having a root canal done by a specialist . I’m a vet but root canals are not in my area of expertise. When I described how rough he was with his mouth, the specialist told me to save my money. I opted for extraction when it abscessed and we all went on our happy way. He’s not had any particular problems with opposing teeth getting tartar, though I have seen some dogs that do.
I do let the guys chew on big bones knowing they may break a tooth. It’s a dog thing and I can deal with the possible consequences.
The single biggest cause of fractured Premolars that I see in practice is cow hooves. Something about the shape makes them really likely to slab fracture that big tooth lengthwise.
That’s a tough call!
I feed my dogs a raw diet for the most part and rely on feeding my dogs different types of meal bones to keep them out of the vet’s office for cleanings. I’ve had one too many friends tell me about a year after cleanings that their dogs teeth look wooden, or they need another cleaning.
I am lucky to have a really great raw food store where the owner is super informed and will let me know which type of bone I should be rotating depending on what I’m starting to see in my dog’s mouth.
My latest great find are Elk neck meal bones (not recreational bones) which have enough meat on them but the bone itself is supposed to be one of the softer ones compared to a knuckle bison or beef bone, but is supposed to be comparable doing the trick of cleaning the tarter from the teeth. I’m wondering if you may just need to look into the different types of bones to try?
It seems unnatural not to feed dogs bones. I’m always weary of someone recommending something unnatural, even if its with the best of intentions. Ever since my beagle Daizy started having yeast ear infections, fleas, runny eyes….. and trying conventional medications prescribed by vets, they always came back, but as soon as I switched to a raw diet, those have been non-existent. Her seizures are also non-existent I’ve found if I stick to certain raw foods. No meds. Hopefully I can keep it that way.
Now I try to do my homework before running into the vet’s office as well so I don’t let my emotions guide my decisions on the spot.
Your decision was a tough call! I am on the fence on what I would have done, only I know giving up bones would be one of the last things I’d do.
On another note, fall is my favourite time of year! Love the pictures!
A friend of mine who owns a dog school in Chicago told me recently that in the past year or so she has heard of many dogs with fractured teeth due to raw bones. She has had her dogs on a raw diet for years, including raw bones, but has actually stopped giving raw bones, as have many of her clients and other raw feeding enthusiasts she knows. She turned me on to http://www.himalayandogchew.com/ and that is what I’ve been giving my BC now for satisfying chewing and keeping his teeth clean. Still with all the ball play and gritty sand that comes with it, my 5 year old dog has very worn down teeth. My best to Will and you.
Joanna Kimball says
As a raw feeder of 10+ years and in conversations with hundreds (and, on the groups that cater to raw feeders, thousands) of people who feed bones, I think there IS a correlation between tooth fractures and feeding the big leg bones that so many people think are super-great. The dogs try to consume the bones, as they instinctively would do, but the bones are way too hard to eat. They work harder and harder and harder at it, and it becomes like chewing rocks.
If you feed bones that are actually consumable, the dog gets the benefit of the bone (the satisfaction of chewing, the tooth cleaning) without the danger to the teeth. If you’re not going to feed a real raw diet, where the bone is part of a whole piece the dog eats, give recreational bones that can be completely and relatively easily chewed up. End-only knuckle bones (mostly cartilage) or the soft rib bones are the only beef bones I would feed; you can get a lot more bang for your buck with pork neck bones (very consumable), lamb necks, etc.
The dentist is right that a tooth after root canal becomes drier and more brittle. That’s why people have to have crowns put on over root canals; eventually the tooth breaks. However, the root canal is going to be stable for a while and worrying about it breaking would not be at the front of my mind.
My current dogs, aged 3 and 5, both chew on bones with no problems. Same for two previous dogs, both of whom lived 9 years. So there are four subjects, not exactly a large “n” value.
Having fed my dogs a raw diet for the past three years (controversial in and of itself), I feed bones daily and have not had any issues with broken teeth or any other of the common problems associated with real bones. An added bonus, I never have to have their teeth cleaned, even the notoriously ‘bad-teethed’ retired racing greyhound, and can avoid unnecessary anesthesia. I avoid any weight-bearing bones of large animals – especially cow femurs sold as ‘marrow bones’ – and any cooked bones at all. Any bone that can support 1500+ pounds is incredibly dense and likely to be hard on the teeth and wild wolves will generally leave these bones after feeding as well. Obviously, cooking changes the chemical structure of the food item, making a lot of them safe for us to eat, but making bones brittle and more prone to splintering.
My dog is almost 5 and has been on a raw and cooked food diet his entire life. He eats and chews bones almost daily and has never had a problem.
At his vet check there are always comments on how clean and white his teeth are for his age. Most vets are surprised he has never had his teeth cleaned because they are tartar free He is a small dog and small dogs tend to have a more frequent need for cleaning than large dogs I’m told.
However, in spite of the glowing comments about his teeth, as soon as I mention his diet includes bones, I’m cautioned about the dangers of bones and the reasons I should not continue to provide bones.
It is a reasonable assumption to make bones can and do break teeth. I feel if the dog is a heavy duty chewer it is far more likely damage could happen. My dog is not a heavy duty chewer–maybe a moderate chewer?? He gets much enjoyment from bones and I can not think of a reason I would deprive him of that pleasure.
My limited observation is dogs who grow up eating and gnawing on bones tend to handle the bones better than dogs who only occasionally get bones. I’ve seen dogs not used to bones as the dogs most likely to break teeth by the way they are devouring the bone.
I’d be upset too–vets should realize dogs and bones go together. I’m not real impressed by any vet I’ve ever seen though with their knowledge of dog diets.
My dogs chew bones as they are on a raw diet. Knock on wood, there haven’t been any broken teeth. You should ask the raw-feeding people in my yahoo group about broken teeth. It doesn’t seem like I hear much about broken teeth from bones. And even my friends who kibble feed and give their dogs bones don’t seem to have any trouble. Carina Macdonald, author of a book on raw feeding, is the owner of the yahoo group: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/RAW-lite/?yguid=155632421
Leo G says
Funny that I’d read this, just as my wife is taking one of our “pit” wieners 🙂 to her Dad, a retired dentist, for an extraction. He has some Novo still, so our dog will not be put under, but just froze, like a person. We also have a dental pick, and quite often clean the dogs’ teeth of tartar ourselves. We feel that a dog should only be put under for these basic dental needs, only if the dog may get aggressive/fearful. Like most things in a dog’s life, if you spend the time and go slowly, you can show them that what you are doing for them will not hurt them.
We could never understand this desire of these vet dentists to put every dog under. Of course when you pay for the bloodwork and the panel and the sleeping drugs and the etc……… it suddenly makes sense!
As for your dogs’ teeth, you probably should listen to the vet and no more bones. Maybe if he had offered to build you a crown, or a bridge, well then that may have been different!
Contrast the attitude of the specialist vet to my local vet who positively encourages me to feed my small terrier bones to help clean her teeth! I swap between chicken wings and marrowbones (cut into three pieces for the little girl). At her last checkup, dedicated bone chewing meant she didn’t need to have her teeth cleaned – and she has had several teeth removed (all on one side of her mouth). And they love bones! I have photos of my terrier (3.5kg=7.7lb) chewing on bones bigger than her, bought for my larger dogs.
As for “fully functional”, I would write a letter of complaint to the vet practice involved. A mouth which cannot chew bones is NOT fully functional in a dog. They won’t stop unless people start calling them on their misleading practices. (I’d probably write to the governing body or consumer affairs, but I am a vindictive bitch after one of my dogs was crippled by a vet’s “misunderstanding”)
Good luck with Will’s tooth anyway – I’d still give soft bones, after all, it is all about quality of life!
I know four dogs who are few entirely on raw animal parts, including my two for 5 years now. No broken teeth here, zero tartar, and no more bad breath!. No need for teeth cleaning at all anymore.
I don’t feed them big bones anymore, though. I’ve heard that the highest risk is from weight-bearing bones from beef (of course this is often the only bones people feed at all). Plus with mine, once they had the option of smaller bones they would always choose them over beef knuckles/legs. They prefer to really crunch things rather than just scrape at them with their teeth. Now the biggest things they get are goat and lamb legs, and turkey parts.
I’ve known dogs who chew on nylabones that have broken or worn down teeth. Nylabones are not “real” bones. They are supposed to be safer. My feeling is this…if a tooth is going to break, it will break. If it doesn’t get broken on a bone, or a nylabone then of course there are the random rocks, sticks and other hard objects OR you can give dogs just soft things and let tartar build up.
Life is full of risks, if I worried about every thing that MIGHT happen to my dogs, they would be bubblewrapped in crates and carried outside. They also would not get a chance to “live” as fully as they do now.
I say, take a chance. Plan for the worst and live for today.
Just as another example….we have horses. Our horses all go outside every day unless the winter weather is too dangerous to cross the driveway or the wind is outrageous. They get nicked up, sometimes injured but are healthy and sane. There are some horses at our barn who don’t get out. One is going to be euthed for lameness (unknown origin) in a few weeks. Leaving him in because the owner didn’t want him to get hurt or nicked up didn’t do him a bit of good.
Give Willie what you are most comfortable with, but let him be a dog.
Liz Maslow says
I am so sorry to hear about your experience with Willie. I tend to agree with your veterinarian friend, who said that all dental specialist will tell you not to let your dog chew on bones. In fact, most small animal veterinarians recommend no bone chewing for our dogs. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, during one of his seminars that I attended last summer, told a room full of dog trainers that we should not be allowing our dogs, nor advising our clients’ dogs, to chew on bones at all, only Kong toys or nylabones. He said that not only does having access to bones create the possibility of resource guarding, it is not good for their teeth.
I give my dogs raw beef marrow bones 3 times a week. I have never had a dog break a tooth on a bone. The only tooth break I have experienced was when one of my dogs tried to catch snow off a shovel while I was clearing a path. This dog ended up getting a shovel to the face and broke a back tooth (molar). Even after the tooth was fixed (root canal) he continued to eat raw marrow bones. He never had additional problems with the tooth (although he died prematurely due to cancer). If you watch dogs gnaw on these bones, which I am sure you have, you will notice that they are mostly using their front teeth to tear at the remaining muscle and tendon attached to the bone or using their tongues to lap out the marrow within the bone. It is my experience that dogs do not use their molars to chew the actual bone until after the bone is completely denuded of all muscle, fat and tendon. It is at this point that I throw the bones away. The bones should also be thrown away once they become brittle (about 2 weeks).
My concern for Will if he loses the tooth, in addition to the space becoming a trap for food or being harder to clean causing tooth decay and gum disease, is as follows. When a tooth is removed, the other teeth can shift in his mouth, sometimes significantly. Since Willie is young, there is plenty of time for the movement of his teeth, which is natural but can cause an alignment shift when there is a gap due to a missing tooth. Any changes that occur can have a major impact on his dental health. This can lead to problems with chewing or even his jaw being able to work correctly.
I don’t envy the predicament that you are in, but as far as the bone gnawing is concerned, if it was one of my dogs, who had a tooth that was “not fully functional” I would probably still give him his raw bones, being careful to watch how they are chewed. The activities that are more concerning for me would be playing tug and frisbee, since both of these activities seem much more likely to cause damage or loss to a “dead” tooth. The good news is that he can play with as many stuffed toys as he wants and his newest favorite, the brain teaser (?), should do no harm as well. The line of cuz toys, which I wrote about previously, should also be harmless.
I know this is not very helpful and I wish I had more to offer you, but I just wanted to write and give what little knowledge I have on the subject. Give Will a butt scratch for me, thanks to your wonderful blog I feel like I know him. He so often reminds me of my australian shepherd boy, Tai. They seem to have very similar activity levels and temperaments!
What an amazing resource you all are! I can’t thank you enough for the information you’ve sent. Reading
through these comments is fascinating, and very informative. Here’s where I am right now: I am going to give Willie raw bones, but only the softest large ones I can find or smaller ones that I feel are safe to consume. I’ll take the bones up long before there is nothing but bone left. I DID give him and Lassie beef femur bones, which, as I think about them, are exactly what some of your comments suggested: super hard and able to support 1,500 of weight. It could be that is what broke his tooth… but, we do play tug and although he can’t play frisbee or catch because of his shoulder (more vet bills to come no doubt), I do hide toys for him to find and when he finds them he snatches them up like a crocodile. Funny, I always gave him knuckle bones before, but there was a sale at a market of marrow bones, about 3-4 inches of beef femur, and they’ve been chewing on those for a month or so before the break. I do always take them up long before they get dry, but it is true that they are incredibly hard to begin with. Ah, the 20/20 vision of hindsight.
I know that the choice to continue feeding bones has some risk with it, but then, so does working sheep, riding in the car in his crate and playing in the yard. I’ll do what I can to keep the risk minimal (and yes, he gets to work on a stuffed Kong every morning, but oh, there’s just nothing like a real bone, is there?) but unless he has more trouble I’m going to keep giving him bones. But I’ll do so with the knowledge that you all so graciously sent in. Willie and Lassie thank you!
Liza Lundell says
I fed raw bones, mostly marrow bones and chicken wings. Amelia lost beaucoup de teeth–all the front incisors, all but one canine, several molars and premolars. Some because of infection/abcess, the premolars and molars from fractures. OTOH, while I was feeding bones, her chronic gingivitis cleared right up, which was nice. It’s coming back now she’s off bones. And she misses them, poor girl. Even with not much left to chew with! Maybe I should just avoid the marrow bones and go back to giving occasional chicken wings. Best to Will, and the b’s say Go for it! Chew them bones!
Patricia, I don’t want to offend you, but Leo G’s comment that one of his dogs was going to a retired human dentist who’s going to give a shot of Novacaine really is disturbing. I wonder if you know anything about using that drug as an alternate to actual, safe anesthesia so a dog is asleep instead of ‘frozen.’ Also, as a direct question to Leo G., where does this human dentist – retired – get the idea he’s qualified to do veterinary medicine? Where is he injecting the Novacaine? It takes a while to inject it, and I will not believe that your dog just lays there, without a fuss. It pisses me off when people try to justify and/or ignore more pain (physical and psychological) because they have this too hyped fear of what is a less traumatic process of safe anesthesia.
This question has always been a hard one for me, and ultimately I steered away from most types of bones for my own border collie (who just moved to the “big city” with us – near the University of WA in Seattle – and is missing her sheep terribly… one herding lesson a week will have to do instead of her usual 2-3, poor girl!). I have given her meaty beef shank bones and smaller sliced raw marrow beef bones since she was a puppy. The cold frozen bones helped her little mouth feel better while she was teething, and she wasn’t strong enough to break pieces of bone off at that age. But as she got older and her regular teeth came in, I noticed that she did end up chipping the tip off one of her front canine cuspids.
Like you, I agree that dogs need to chew. So I supplement with a great toy, that lasts a surprising amount of time for us – it’s a self-healing rubber toy in the shape of a bone. Big, heavy, solid, and lasted for a couple of months before she started ripping chunks off of it. We are also big fans of tight-weave rope toys, we just choose the ones with shorter fiber strands so she can’t eat a 12-inch piece of string and have that get lodged someplace.
I do give her a raw knuckle bone every so often, but take it up if she gets chewing too hard on it. She is only 3, and I am only a student, so we wouldn’t have the ability to see a dental specialist if she did anything really bad to a tooth.
Fun conversation, so many different opinions!
Mikey's mom says
Just wanted to add that a very well-respected Labrador breeder, Marianne Foote (Winroc) says that long bones should not be given as they allow a dog to get the bone at an angle and exert a great deal of force on the teeth. It’s interesting that some of the comments seemed to agree — knuckle bones and short bones are okay, but femur bones are not. Of course, my old Mikey just ran into a tree and broke his tooth, but you are lucky that your collies are probably smarted than Mikey was. He was a dear soul but not exactly a rocket scientist.
My old yellow girl broke her back molar years ago on a “soup” bone (leg femur). Luckily it has not really given her many problems but after that I stopped bones for a long time. I reconsidered when Lucy had other unrelated extractions/teeth clean and then just six months later I was advised she probably needed another cleaning. I decided to retry bones and on the advice of our fabulous raw food store tried elk necks and bison necks which are actually considered meal bones and are very soft. The dogs absolutely love them and they are good for at least an hour of peace and Lucy’s teeth improved so much I didn’t have to reclean. Beef rib bones are also an excellent choice but I find the dogs can clean the meat on those pretty quick and then lose interest so much less bang for the cash.
I would have thought raw bones don’t have the strength to break a tooth, that sounds strange to me. Maybe you could try giving him something strong, but with more plastic properties? (plastic in the material hardness sense) For example, something like nylabones.
Over the years my dogs have broken teeth playing with each other, herding sheep, playing ball and yes, chewing on bones. I’m not going to stop them from doing those things because of the risk of more broken teeth. We have always done extractions rather than root canal, and they don’t seem to miss their teeth, even sweet old Teak who eventually broke off all her lower incisors and still wanted to chew rawhides. Their motto as Aussies is work hard, play hard.
I don’t know if I would choose an extraction or a root canel. I have a tooth that I had 4 root
canels done on (by 2 different dentists) and THEN it broke off at the gumline. That’s when
I heard how fragile teeth become when they have root canels – something about being like
a hollow log.
I’m so glad that you had a wonderful trip to Africa – but we need more pictures!
Sharon Abbott says
My now deceased American bulldog had broken one of his premolars…we extracted it, and never had a moments problem. The suggestion I have found most helpful is allow chewing on LARGE bones so that the jaw pressure is not so severe. My Boston terrier is an absolute power chewer, compared to her, my big dogs are pussies.
My former Lab went his whole life eating raw bones, plus rawhides and even occasionally those nasty smoked knucklebones. He chipped a tiny piece of a canine on something, but never damaged a molar. I don’t know which option I would’ve chosen in your case! Thank you for sharing this, because it never would have occurred to me to ask about eating bones after a root canal.
The best soft bones I’ve ever found are pork BBQ shoulder bones. Yes, they’re cooked, but they have been slow smoked for 18-24 hours, and they are extremely crumbly. If you have a BBQ restaurant near you, ask if they have any bones for dogs. I don’t use them as a diet staple, but if I’m getting a pulled pork sandwich, I always think to ask for bones for my dog.
For 35 years, I gave knuckle bones and the wide ends of marrow bones to my Collies and now Border Terriers, and I recommended them to my puppy people. I never had a problem until recently. I co-own 2 bitches from my 2006 litter. One got a slap fracture, and the other cracked a tooth at the gum line, both before 2 years of age. The slap fracture was sealed (with a clear sealant, so one can see the pink inside the tooth) and the cracked tooth was extracted. After seeing those vet bills, I now give bully sticks, and stuff kongs with ground raw, and freeze them. Raw chicken wings also work well for my small dogs.
Farm dogs live for bones…my suggestion is that you give him lots. Fresh bones from the slaughter house, lots and often. They chew to get the “extras” off, mostly licking and caring for that bone…getting the marrow “out”. My borders and aussies have several bones a week, no broken teeth in twenty plus years. If Willie is a real “chewer” he will find other things to chew, possibly worse than bones.
Mary Straus says
I’ve had a lot of experience with broken teeth, unfortunately.
I had a 13-year-old dog break his upper carnassial (I think that’s the same tooth that Will broke). First, we did a repair, but two weeks later he broke that, so then we did a root canal. Two weeks after that, he shattered the tooth and it had to be extracted. He went through three anesthesias in a month and I spent $3,000. Here’s what I learned from that experience.
No one warned me that his tooth would not be as strong after repair or after root canal, so I continued to feed him bones. I think it was a beef neck bone that caused all the problems.
I also learned that teeth get more brittle as the dog ages. And that as bones dry out, they become harder and more likely to cause problems (the beef neck bone was not fresh but had been around for a few weeks).
BTW, the same older dog broke a small premolar on a bully stick (though that’s the only problem I’ve ever had with bully sticks); another older dog broke a tooth on a beef rib bone (fresh); and just a couple of weeks ago, my 5-year-old dog chipped a tooth on a Himalyan Dog Chew (fortunately no repair needed, but I took it away from her). I’ve also had at least four root canals done (different dogs) on canine teeth but don’t know what caused those to break (they’re not really used when chewing on bones). All the root canals done on the canines survived long-term with no problems.
Brodie broke a tooth, and I do think it was related to eating bones- at that point I was feeding raw including veal neck bones, and giving a lot of hard bones to chew on, which I left down way too long.
Kyp! never had a problem, and can chew anything- she has jaws of steel! Scout and Pepper also didn’t have problems, though Pepper’s teeth were definitely worn down by the time he died (age 14).
I still give bones, but limit them to chicken and turkey, t he occasional lamb neck bones, and usually give knuckles instead of long bones. Or give the packaged patties. I’m not doing much raw right now, as I’m living in a small furnished apartment with a small fridge, but am thinking I’ll get a grinder when I start up again.
I gave my girl a bone once and soon after noticed a small fracture in one of her canines. 🙁 Now the doggies have a single antler for emergency “go chew” situations.” :p
Emily~ DreamEyce says
I don’t know how much it helps, but my dogs all get raw bones, fresh ones at least once a week, and the only broken teeth we’ve had if from our accident-pron Cove, who has been known to run into trees, brick walls, and nose-plow into cement while fetching. (He’s not very bright…) Otherwise he at almost 6, Traum at almost 8, and Galaxy at almost 3, all have wonderful teeth which the vet marvles over. None of my dogs have needed a dental, thank heavens!
I’m hoping to get to your seminar in Corvallis in Oct. I keep forgetting to mail my check though, so I’m hoping there’s still room. I’m excited about it!
I worked for a doggy dentist that writes the guidelines for the American Animal Hospital Association. I have to say pet dentistry can be confusing but there are at least a small handful of vets in each state that know what they are talking about. A lot of these posts here have talked about “white teeth” and “never having problems with bones/teeth” and I hope that everyone understands white teeth and dogs that seem pain free are not a sign of a healthy mouth. Just like in humans our dentists have to do x-rays in order to determine what is going on underneath the gum line. So vets that look in your pets mouth and say “the teeth look great” are doing your pet a huge disservice. Pets need to have full dental x-rays done in order to determine the pets oral health. I’ve seen hundreds of clients walk in that say they give bones and know the teeth are great but their pets are often the ones that require 15 extractions. Virbac Animal health sells a product called CET Chews they have kinda like a doggy fluoride coating, these work as a good alternative.
Finally, understand dentistry is crazy expensive, is giving a bone to your dog worth the expense?
To add to Lisa’s comment about white teeth versus healthy teeth. The African Wild Dog that was radio collared when we were in Botswana had shining white teeth… except for the two that were broken and yellow and looked just horrible. And also… to lieu of all the comments above, given that all bones are not equal, has anyone done any research on causality or even correlation between certain types of bones and damage to teeth? Until we have solid research, what is it we are sure that we really know? Just as applied behaviorists primarily see dogs with problems, I assume that canine dental specialists primarily see dogs with dental problems. That said, it makes great sense that chewing on something hard would cause more problems than never allowing a dog to chew on anything harder than extruded kibble. I hear Lisa loud and clear, and very much appreciate the comment. But, oh, I’d love some data! What’s out there in the vet medical field? Anyone know?
Alessandro Rosa says
I noticed a slight chip in my 7 month-old’s incisor the day after he had his first raw cow marrow bone. I can’t be 100% certain that the chip was caused by the bone, especially as he mostly licked out the marrow inside and didn’t really gnaw on the bone itself, but that was the only change in his daily routine….
I don’t know if it is the same with dog’s teeth, but human’s teeth and bones usually need some compaction in order to remain strong and healthy. That is why there is such a problem with long term space flights. With little to no gravity, there is little to no impact and humans quickly loss bone mass in these conditions.
While I am not a huge fan of bones for dogs, I think it is more because of a concern of splintering, gastro-intestinal blockage or bacterial toxicity than it is about chipped teeth. My dog could just as easily injure his mouth or chip a tooth in playing with a dog with a prong collar or chewing on the door to his crate as he could chewing a bone.
It may also be that I would be very careful biting down on a bone with my human teeth, and that is where I think there is an error in thinking. Human teeth evolved to process a much different diet than that of a dog/wolf. If I had to guess humans probably have a much lower bite pressure than most dogs, so it would stand to reason that a dog’s teeth, for the purpose of processing a diet and withstanding the forces of their bites are stronger than those of a human.
I also think that with modern advances in diet and health care, both humans and dogs suffer an abundance of longevity causing them to outlast functionality. In the wild, while there are the exceptions, the majority of a population would not life long enough to have an issue with their teeth. Once the imperitive of passing on genes has taken place and the offspring reach maturity, there is no longer a need for the organism, from a biological sense. If the population ages beyond this stage, it actually can be detrimental to the survival of the species as it taxes the resources available to the younger members who are now in a place to produce the next generation of offspring. They are forced to share and/or compete with elders for limited resources, and that makes an already difficult environment for survival even harder.
I also wonder if many of those dogs with dental problems that Lisa mentioned also were fed foods with high(er) sugar content than average. Sugar tends to be the culprit for developing bacteria that infect gums and decay teeth.
Alessandro Rosa says
Another thought crossed my mind on the subject of teeth with regard to evolution. It would stand to reason that natural selection would favor canids with strong, healthy teeth as they would be better equiped to survive. The strength of their bite and hardness of their teeth could tear through tough hides and crush bones to extract nutrient rich marrow. Those canids with weaker teeth would be relegated to lower members of the pack having to scavange the remenants of the kill. With higher value nutrition, by comparison, the would grow larger and stronger than their weaker toothed rivals and would have a better chance to mate and have their young survive.
With domestication and rising to the companion animal status, the need to have durable teeth would be less. Humans providing the dogs nutrients, even if that began in the form of scavanged refuse at the outskirts of villages, allowed them to survive and in time lines of dogs with less durable teeth could forseeably breed, giving rise to dogs with dental problems. So the problem with dogs teeth may have less to do with giving them bones and more of an issue of humans intervening in the workings of natural selection through domestication and forced breeding.
Sirius Scientist says
Thank you Lisa for the [canine] dentist approved alternative! I am planning to start a little research on the subject tonight.
My German Shepherd was adopted so I know nothing of his past, but when I rescued him I noticed his canines (all of them) are chipped. The only thing I have figured out is that someone attempted to make him a protection dog but didn’t know what they were doing and tried to beat the kindness out of him. He also has “grooving” on many of his teeth, which a non-dental vet told me was probably from heavy chewing when he was younger. I do let Sirius chew a bone from time to time, but the options here are highly limited and not diverse to say the least. Because his teeth seem as though they are going to be an issue in the near future, I’d love to learn more about this subject. Any professional journal or society recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
I actually have several questions regarding the use of bones exclusively for teeth cleaning. Wouldn’t you still need cleanings if you use bones because the chewing does not clean between teeth? Maybe this is my naivety showing, but I assumed this was as important for dogs as it is for humans, or maybe I am simply misinterpreting HOW the bones help clean teeth (other than the obvious abrasive action).
Lori Melhuish says
My Dutch Shepherd had a root canal on her upper right canine 6 years ago and she’s never chipped it. I am very happy with the decision to keep the tooth. Even if it were to chip, the tooth is already dead, so it’s unlikely to get infected and she would still be able to use it to hold objects in her mouth. Per our vet specialist, we never gave her real bones,. Initially I only “Cheweez” because they are approved by the veterinary oral council. I will occasionally give her a very thin rawhide or Nylabone, but generally I use a Kong “Stuff a Ball” or the Premier Twist and Treat with dog food or treats and that seems to keep her happy. I guess I always felt that chewing was a way to pacify/calm the dog and drain their energy, and I’ve felt that the alternatives achieve the same effect.
On a side note, my friend had been giving her 1 year old German Shepherd real bones to chew and he did chip his upper canine. Just from my own experience with our Shepherd, I’ve always steered my clients clear of real bones .
As a follow up. The follow link will bring you to the AAHA Dental Guidelines http://www.healthypet.com/library_view.aspx?ID=142
Everyone should read to understand periodontal disease. And that all pets need professional cleanings(bone or no bones), under anesthesia, and with X-rays.
Brushing your pets teeth daily, on average, will add 3-5 years to their life. Again toothpaste must say Enzymatic like the CET line. Many people say their dog would never allow teeth brushing and sure in some case that is true. However, most dogs will allow when you learn how to do it properly, cats can be more of a challenge. Best of course to start when they are pups and kitties.
On a side note. The pet insurances are so much better than they were even 2 years ago. A lot of them include yearly cleanings and oral surgery. Some of the plans you pay extra for, but worth it. Make sure when searching for coverage you ask about Oral Health and get a policy that covers everything.
I am currently giving my dogs elk antlers instead of bones. So far, so good. I like them better because they are natural/unprocessed, do not “spoil” or need to be refrigerated, are not as messy as raw bones, last a long time, and wear down easy enough that there does not seem to be as much risk of breaking teeth.
Trisha, This post comes at such a great time for me. My 10 year old border collie mix, Cheyenne has issues with her teeth and I am facing the same decision you had. I think it might be partially from playing Frisbee all her life, but she has also had bones all of her life. Her holistic vet told me I needed to have her broken pre-molar extracted. I took her to her regular vet and he anesthetized her to pull it. He called me with her on the table and said that the tooth was healthy and it would be an ordeal to extract. We decided to leave it and watch it. Also, she had another broken pre-molar and all of her canines are worn down. The holistic vet now suggests a root canal. I really don’t want to put her through that especially if it is 5 hours. I also just spent $3,000 on surgery for my cat this month so I am feeling poor at the moment. I have been trying to figure out what to do about the bones also. My dogs are getting stuffed frozen kongs regularly now which they love, but it just doesn’t seem the same. Thank you for all the information regarding the teeth and the quest to find something as safe as possible for our dogs to chew.
Just to add my two cents regarding the correlation between chewing and possibility of broken teeth…my old Lab mix, who had pristine white teeth and lovely pink gums even at age 13, still managed to break two teeth chewing on pressed rawhides during her life. Once we found a half-tooth on the floor immediately after her chewing session (the other half was removed by the vet the next day). The other time we noticed a bit of blood on the rawhide while she was chewing and followed the trail back to the lovely new hole in her mouth. This from a dog who never had a cleaning in her life–she was actually rejected twice from “Dental Week” at my vet’s office (I dropped her off in the morning, only to get a call around 10 am that there was no point in anesthetizing a dog with no tartar or other work to be done!). The holes never seemed to cause her a bit of problem, and we only took bones/rawhides away from her if she seemed to be going into overdrive in her zeal to break off some portion.
My dog is a very large American Pit Bull Terrier, with a jaw like a nut cracker. He has managed to break not 1, not 2, but 3 separate teeth chewing on real bones from cows, pigs, ect. The first two teeth he broke were just small chips to his front teeth. He never made a whimper, or acted any differently after these chips. His diet never changed. I only noticed based on close observation when brushing his tooth.
Since I noticed the chipped teeth, I took him off the real bones permanently. I think his strong jaw muscles allow him to chomp down on the bones harder than his poor little teeth would like. Since I took him off the real bones, which was about a year ago, I also notice that one of his rear molars on the upper jaw was very tartared and very sensitive when I would brush it with the toothbrush. The gums were a little inflammed. Sometimes when I brushed my dogs tooth, he would scream in pain and then fall over to the floor (not because he fainted, but to evade the tooth brushing). I took him to the vet, who didn’t find any problems aside from excess tartar and inflammed gums. He put him on a heavy dose of antibiotics, which included shooting liquid cephalexin directly on the gums 2-3 times daily. It was during this treatment process, that I noticed something that the vet did not. The tooth WAS broken off. The back, inner projection of the tooth was broken off. It was hard to notice, but if you compared with the other tooth on the other side, it was VERY obvious. When I took a small mirror to examine the underside, I could see the exposed root. This was why my poor dog was screaming when I’d brush his tooth from the underside. I was rubbing his exposed nerve! To top it off, I began observing him closer and he will only chew on his opposite side of his mouth when I give him a treat or a soft rawhide.
The tooth that is partially fractured builds up tartar much more rapidly than the other teeth, and this tartar does seem to grow more rapidly on the teeth directly surrounding the damaged tooh. I am going to have to have the tooth extracted now. The tooth hasn’t died yet, so we are trying to wait until it become more urgent. My dog seems very happy unless I brush the underside of that single tooth. He will still let me brush the outside and the gums.
It makes me very sad to know all this damage, pain, and loss of money money was due to giving my dog a real bone. I would have never let him touch the darn things if they came with a proper warning label. From here on out, all my dog gets are CET dental rawhide chews or similarly soft treats.
Liz F. says
Today my 6 yo lab-mix (with otherwise healthy teeth, brushed daily) fractured his 4th premolar on a NYLABONE.
I leave these laying around for ‘safe,’ unsupervised chewing.
I stand corrected; there absolutely are risks to everything…
I do feel lucky to have this great resource as I face the root canal vs. extraction decision myself.
Liz F. says
I didn’t mention before that I’m near positive that the nylabone was to blame for the fracture because my dog’s tooth was normal this morning (I brush his teeth after breakfast), and as dinner rolled around he ate tentatively. Checked his teeth and sure enough, there was a fracture. I went over to the nylabone he had chewed earlier, and a fragment of tooth lie next to it. Seems obvious, really.
We had to stop giving knucklebones to our dogs because one of them nearly choked on a bone fragment. When she vomited, you could see all kinds of not-well-chewed-up bone fragments in her bile. Expensive trip to the emergency vet. We’re sad about having to take their bones away, but in our minds, it beats the sadness of possible losing our dogs to “an unfortunate accident.”
Yes, accidents happen. But to us, the worst that can happen–losing one of our dogs–outweighs “happy fun time with bone” and “white teeth.”
It’s a personal choice.
I feed raw. bones included. I only give my dogs cuts of meat with bones they can consume- chicken, turkey, some pork, fish, duck, quail, rabbit, etc. smaller, generally lighter boned animals. The only bones I feed from pork are ribs and tails. a dog can also easily digest these bones.
I never feed beef, most pork, deer, etc. bones.When I feed those proteins, they are with boneless meals- I don’t even give them for recreation. Ungulates have heavier bones from supporting all of their weight. These are the bones (and as i can see from most of the testimonials here) that crack teeth. All of the raw feeders i know WARN to stay away from knuckle, “marrow”, “soup”, and leg bones. I also NEVER feed bare bones- always encased in meat, NEVER feed or let them chew on cooked bones- whether they be from a meal or from the pet store. sterilized and smoked bones are dangerous, they are too hard. Cooked bones can also splinter and cause internal damage.
Raw MEATY bones are beneficial to dogs oral health. They scrub and scrape from the tearing and gnawing of meat, along with the crunching of the bone. They also massage and get under the gums. they “floss” from the ripping and tearing, they even promote salivation and digestive enzymes, flushing the mouth once the chewing has begun.
I swear by not only a raw diet, but raw meaty bones in general. The wonders they’ve done for my 5 year old Border Collie/APBT mix’s teeth are undeniable, and no vet can tell me that brushing my dog’s teeth would have made the change RMB’s did to his teeth. Many raw feeders enjoy this same benefit and of the many raw feeders i know, none have had a problem with their dogs teeth. Those are the raw feeders who recognize the dangers of heavy bones. Yes, anything has dangers but dogs are not meant to break through those heavy bones (those heavy bones are usually the ones left over of a carcass in the woods, aren’t they?) and I have also heard the argument that not utilizing those powerful teeth over time, along with excessive vaccination and processed food- general weakening of the immune system, that we have weakened dogs’ teeth. How true that is, I am not sure…as I know my dogs and many others i know, from many different backgrounds, eat a diet inclusive of bones and have not had issue.
Anyways, sorry to hear about Will’s tooth Patricia, hope things get well! I would certainly give him soft bones to chew on- you are right, it is natural! Love your blog, see you in Worcester!
I’ve been trying to find some information on having my dogs tooth extracted. Her upper back molar is broken and will have to be cut out eventually. I’ve always given her bones of all kinds and now wish I hadn’t. I don’t know exactly when or how the tooth got broken but I certainly can feel her pain. I’ve always fed her dry dog food and thought I was taking great care of her, she’s only 4 yrs old and now will have to live the rest of her life without a very important tooth. I’m not all that knowledgeable about dogs or other animals and use the internet for knowledge. I’m hoping that she won’t be distressed too much during or after the removal. The vet said she’d be lucky if she kept it a year. Sad. I don’t think I’ll give her any bones again except for the ‘Dentists Best’ chew that helps clean her teeth. Unless I come across other information that changes my mind. Thanks for the posts already here and sharing what you know.
Sue: You need to talk to a vet, or several would be best, but I can tell you that I just had Willie’s tooth extracted and there was no problem with it at all, even though it was a large tooth with 3 roots (sounds like the same as your dog’s, it was an upper molar). I see no problems at all for Willie now, it all went smoothly. The only challenge was keeping him from chewing on anything, even soft things for a week, but it went fast and he sailed through with no problems. I’d say that having a broken, painful tooth (that could be infected) is much harder on him than dealing with a few days of healing from an extraction. But this is a conversation to have with your vet. Getting a second opinion is always a good idea too . . .
Sorry I haven’t thanked you sooner but have not been at home for 3 weeks. It’s comforting to know that your Willie didn’t have a major traumatic event. That has been a fear for me for Emma. I’m hoping I know or she’ll let me know when the tooth is hurting her. How did you know Willie’s tooth had to be extracted? On Emma, it’s the very back tooth on top and will have to be ‘cut and drilled’ out and we found this out when I took her to the vet because she had tarter build up. A neighbor told me that so far, it doesn’t seem to bother Emma at all and right now I can only hope it doesn’t. Thanks for any further advice/suggestions.
I don’t know if anyone is still monitoring this particular thread – I’m glad I found it. I have a 12 year old Aussie in otherwise excellent heath – but my vet just told me she has worn (broken) a number of her teeth down to the point that they all may require extraction. 16 teeth to be exact, including her canines! I stopped giving her hard bones years ago but in the last 6 months have given maybe a dozen or less small pork bones. Otherwise she only gets the Sams Yams, chicken jerky, lamb ears, the CET chews and the occasional pigs ear. I am still in shock. I know that I am not going to let her extract all 16 at once (she did say that there might be a few of the 16 that aren’t bad enough to need extraction right now). She said it was rare to see a dog with such uniform wear, and that it appeared to be recent damage. She asked me if the dog was chewing on a chain link fence(she’s not). I think I am going to have her take out just a few of the most damaged teeth to begin with. If ayone is still monitoring this – I sure wouldn’t mind some advice 1
Laura Collins says
After a lot of back and forth, we just went with a root canal for our dog. The dental surgeon really listened to our concerns about a weakened tooth and a heavy chewer. She said they do put caps on root canals for working dogs (e.g., police dogs, farm dogs) because it’s just not practical for them not to be biting hard on things. For the rest of us she said not to let them chew on anything that isn’t bendable. I own a seriously chewing American Water Spaniel, but I just discovered some sweet potato “raw hide” that is bendy but hopefully will help relieve her need to chew (of course we have Kongs, and plenty of other safe things that she couldn’t care less about). Everyone in the practice did note that a meaty bone can be okay as long as you remove it as soon as the dog has cleaned it off. Wish I’d known that 6 years ago! We also got tips on how to monitor the root canal for signs of damage, so fingers crossed.
I found your post because I am having the same problem with my dog. He has been eating raw meaty bones since we adopted him at 4 months old. Because of the bone chewing, his teeth have always been clean, bright white. In the last week, we noticed Mello was eating less and not as eagerly as before. I check his mouth every week, so took a look today and saw that one of the molars on the top right side is broken. What is interesting is that he must have broken his tooth about a week ago, but the visible pulp is bright red, indicating the tooth is alive and healthy. There is no swelling and his behavior, apart from a slight loss of appetite, is normal, playful as usual. The issue now is that I see a build up in tartar tha was not there before, surely that because of pain he has not been chewing on his bones. I worry about cavities as well, but since only the top part of the tooth broke out, I am not sure what to do. Some people say that the tooth recovers on its own. He is only abou 17 months old now, so I think this might be a possibility. Btw, I don’t think he broke his tooth because of bone chewing. But what I know is that wolves often have broken teeth. They must heal somehow. So, I am curious to know what you have found so far. Cheers,
Paula: I’m not comfortable answering questions about dental health, but I can say two things that might be helpful: 1) Wild canids indeed do have broken teeth, but they do not necessarily ‘heal’ on their own. I got up close to an African Wild Dog who had been darted for radio collaring, and the poor thing’s mouth was full of infection from broken teeth. I can’t imagine it wasn’t painful. I can also say that only a few months after Willie’s root canal, the tooth broke and I had it pulled. I wish I’d had it pulled in the first place. Good luck with your dental issues, hope it all works out.
Liz Hart says
such a great resource here. so my 14-15 month old female GSD (Rescued and spayed by shelter at 4 months, just before we adopted her) has damage to her large right front canine. Noticed 5 days ago that the tooth has pale lilac tinge starting at about halfway down. First vet diagnosed pulpitis; second vet called it a “dead tooth.” Both vets recommend root canal for such a young dog. We are seeing a board certified veterinary dentist on Weds coming up. The question is, root canal or wait and watch?
The dentist is one of two here on Long Island and does a lot of work on service/police dogs, comes highly recommended. Just not sure I want to put her through this – she is a bit timid, scaredy-dog, and it recently becoming more confident and relaxed with lots of training and support.
I do not give her anything other than nylabone (occasionally) – I am pretty sure she damaged it trying to get to a biscuit that fell just outside her crate – by hooking those big canines around the wire and pulling.
If anyone has any questions they think I should ask the vet dentist, I’d welcome input on that too.
I think it varies with the dog. We had a lab shepherd mix that could devour a foot long knotted rawhide in a single evening, and other assorted hard chewables with never a tooth problem. We now have a Doberman who has never had hard bones, but just chewy rawhide and pig’s ears. We were pretty shocked when we found that she had a broken upper molar that could have only happened with a rawhide chewy. We still have to get this resolved, but I think the vet usually will pull a broken tooth.
I had been giving my dog pork shoulders with the bone in, having heard that it was a completely edible bone. A couple of times I heard a very loud popping sound and just hoped it was the bone and not her tooth. Well, it was her tooth! We had to have her 2 molars both on top, in front of the last tooth. Poor baby. One was broken down the middle according to my vet, I had not seen them I was told after she was already under for a tooth cleaning. The thing is, one source says a particular bone is fine and another says something else. I am also afraid of chicken leg bones lodging somewhere sideways as I have read in these comments. for this reason I no longer give these and have had to cook some of her food because I can’t cut the damn meat off it raw. What I really hate is that there is not a truly reliable source of info out there. I have read and heard some amazingly iffy ideas. Also, just as an aside, I know of a dog that died from a simple little chicken leg.