Do you fill stockings and wrap presents for your four legged kids? Are your pets waiting for their presents to arrive under the tree? We know our dogs and cats love new chew toys and treats, so here are a few things that veterinary dentists want you to know about choosing pet toys this Christmas.
- When selecting chew toys for dogs and cats choose items that you can bend. If a toy is so hard you can’t bend it, it will break pet teeth. There are toys that claim to promote better dental health for dogs, however that may not necessarily be the case. Many of these products are very hard and could cause gum damage or break your dog or cat’s teeth.
Board certified veterinary dentists recommend pliable/bendable products like Kong toys. When used regularly, chewing on safe toys can be a benefit to a dog or cat’s dental health, although is never a replacement for regular veterinary dental care.
- Bones may seem like the perfect present for your dog, however vet dentists don’t recommend them. Chewing on dried natural bones, bully sticks or regular rawhide might appear to mimic a dog’s inherent wild nature, however they really don’t. A wild animal tearing meat off of a carcass in the wild is very different than fido chewing on a hard bone. For our dogs, a bone might be a recipe for a trip to the vet dentist with broken teeth or severely damaged gums.
- Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal on treats claiming to improve pet dental health. The VOHC approves pet dental products based on their ability to reduce plaque and tarter build up on dog and cat teeth. Some products like Greenies may be available in pet stores or you can often purchase a variety of other products from your veterinarian.
Make holidays with your pets fun, happy and safe by giving them toys and treats that won’t cause them any harm. You should also be sure any table scraps you share don’t have any small bones and are given in moderation.
And, remember, if you haven’t scheduled your pet’s annual dental cleaning this year, give them the gift of a healthy and pain free mouth. Be sure when you schedule a cleaning that you are seeing a veterinary doctor who provides a comprehensive cleaning with vet dental radiology and do not take your pet in for an anesthesia free dental cleaning.