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D2003-35

Dear Daisy Dog

Please settle the bone controversy. Is it okay to give my Labrador retriever chicken bones? What about steak bones, soup bones and ham bones?

Daisy Responds

I gave up bones after I fractured two teeth on them last month. The breaks exposed the tooth pulp. Boy, that really hurt!

Bones are harder than teeth. All bones, including the sterilized ones from pet supply stores, are problematic. Even hard nylon bones can break teeth.

Marrow bones taste yummy, but the marrow is full of fat that can cause pancreatitis -– which means severe abdominal pain, vomiting and sometimes death.

We dogs love to chew, however, and chewing the right toys can actually clean our teeth better than bones can.

Of course, each of us is an individual, so no single chew toy is perfect for all. Consider these:

  • Hard rubber toys, especially the knobby “dental” chews. Don’t use them if your Lab chews off large chunks of rubber.
  • Rawhides, as long as your Lab doesn’t swallow huge pieces. One study showed that dogs who chewed Chew-eez rawhide strips twice daily had 44 percent less tartar after 90 days than dogs who ate only dry food.
  • Rope toys. They act like dental floss, but don’t offer them if your Lab pulls off and swallows clumps of strings.

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