Are hooves and bones safe for dogs? Vets explain all the dangers of playtime

 Are hooves and bones safe for dogs? Vets explain all the dangers of playtime

Tracy Wilkins

Entertaining a puppy is not a difficult task, as these animals are able to amuse themselves even with a simple stick. In addition, there is a wide variety of dog toys on the pet market. The problem is that not every game is completely safe. The use of dog hooves and bones divides opinion: these objects can help distract dogs fromdifferent ways, but few guardians understand that this is a game that can prove to be quite dangerous for the animal. And it was to understand this that the Paws of the House interviewed vets and experts to confirm whether dog bone and hoof can compromise the animal's health in any way or not. See what we found out!

Natural dog bone: what are the risks of the toy?

Even if this seems like a harmless game, it is important to be very careful when offering a natural bone to your four-legged friend. To clarify the risks of the toy, we talked to veterinarian Fabio Ramires Veloso, from Nova Friburgo, who warns: "There may be complications such as esophageal obstruction, in which the bone or fragment may be lodged and perforate the esophagus,causing the vomiting reflex and coughing, which can also lead to lacerations (cuts) in the esophageal muscles and possible bleeding. There is also the risk of stomach and/or intestinal obstruction, triggering vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea and that often it is only possible to remove the bone with a surgical procedure ".

And it doesn't stop there: the expert also explains that depending on the type of dog bone - such as smoked ones - dogs can suffer from intoxication. In this case, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea are common. For the toy to be considered minimally safe for the dog, the veterinarian advises: "The size of the bone must be large enough".so that the animal cannot ingest it, and it is important that the guardian is attentive to remove it from the animal's reach if there is any wear to avoid ingestion and possible complications ".

Natural bone and nylon dog bone can fracture teeth

A big difference between natural bone and nylon dog bone is that, according to Fabio, natural versions have minerals, such as calcium, that are not available in nylon bones. However, this "benefit" turns out to be a bit irrelevant when we stop to think about dogs' oral health.

The dog's teeth participate in different functions in the life of a puppy, including playing, but attention is needed with this type of play, as explained by veterinarian Mariana Lage-Marques, who specializes in dentistry. "There are studies that indicate that the use of natural bones increases dental fractures in dogs by 40%. Although there are no scientific studies thatI can tell you from my clinical experience that the majority of dog tooth fractures that come into the office are caused by nylon bones. The reason for this is that these objects are very hard and rigid, so dogs end up fracturing mainly the canines and the four premolars."

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What you need to know about dog tooth fractures

The fracture in the dog's tooth can occur in different ways, as the specialist Mariana warns: "The dental fracture can happen superficially, that is, without exposing the canal, or more intensely, exposing the canal of the tooth. The canal is the inner part of the tooth composed of nerves and blood vessels, so that such exposure generates the death of the tooth and, consequently, abscesses that can cause the tooth to die.cause a lot of pain to the patient".

She explains that the pulp of the tooth shrinks over the years. This means that a young dog has stronger teeth, but when it breaks, it is very likely to expose the canal and need this type of treatment. In older dogs, this part of the tooth has calcified and retracted, so they break their teeth more easily, but are less likely to need treatmentchannel.

When dogs suffer from this type of problem, it is difficult to notice right away because animals tend to "mask" the pain they feel, so one tip is to watch out for possible bleeding in your friend's oral cavity. In addition, the veterinarian also warns that when a dog has a fractured tooth, he tends to alternate chewing because of the discomfort.

"Any fractured tooth cannot stay in the mouth. It is necessary to carry out an investigation, because in addition to painful stimuli, there is a risk of abscesses and systemic contamination", he warns. Therefore, this type of assessment needs to be done by a specialist to understand whether the tooth needs extraction or whether it is possible to save it with root canal treatment. "Nowadays there are even alternatives such asprostheses, which we place on the tooth after root canal treatment to try to minimize the risk of further fractures."

Ox hoof and cow hoof for dogs are equally harmful

Other accessories that are highly sought after by several guardians are hooves, which can be divided into cow hooves or ox hooves for dogs. These objects are a little softer and less rigid than bones, but that does not mean that they are more suitable for dogs. In fact, both bovine hooves and cow hooves are bad for dogs because, although the risks ofdental fractures are minor, the animal still runs the risk of swallowing small pieces that can cause complications for its body. And it doesn't stop there, hooves can also cause quite serious dental problems.

Lorota puppy had serious consequences after playing with hooves

Not everyone knows about the dangers of the game, so it is common for many guardians to offer bones and hooves to dogs without having due attention. In the case of Lorota, Ana Heloísa Costa's puppy, the situation was quite alarming and, unfortunately, did not have a happy ending. "I was always very concerned about Lorota's health and well-being, so I researched a lot about anything before offering itI had already read on the internet that bovine hooves could cause teeth breakage, but I believed that it was something very unlikely and that it only happened with smaller dogs with more fragile teeth. Lorota was a Dachshund of about 1 year old when I offered her a hoof for the first time, and I found it very useful because it was definitely the toy/pet that distracted her the most. She chewed severalof these throughout my life, until one of them indirectly caused me to lose it".

The first signs that something was not right with the dog were the mouth bleeding and small remnants of teeth that were spit out by her. "I opened her mouth and saw that one of those larger back teeth (the molars) was broken and with a little red dot in sight. Researching on the internet, I found out that this was an exposed canal and then prone to bacteria that could enterNot to mention the pain she was probably feeling." To resolve the situation, Ana Heloísa went to a specialist in veterinary dentistry, after all, an exposed canal can be very dangerous. The only alternative was a root canal extraction surgery, which required the use of general anesthesia, and it was during this procedure that the puppy did not resist.

Although it was not the direct cause of the puppy's death, Ana Heloísa believes that she could have prevented the loss if she had not offered the toy. "Even with preoperative tests indicating the cardiac safety of the procedure, Lorota could not take it. This fact itself was not related to the broken teeth and it was explained to me that it could happen with any other procedure that required it.general anesthesia, but it was very difficult not to blame myself for offering a snack that I knew had risks and that, in the end, was the object responsible for her death. Since then I warn all the guardians I know about the risk".

Is leather dog bone bad for dogs too?

In addition to natural and nylon bones, it is also necessary to pay attention to the leather bone for dogs. According to Fabio, this type of toy can be harmful in some conditions. "First, the size of the bone must be larger than that of the dog so as not to occur obstructions and choking; second, always buy those that come packaged separately to minimize contamination; third, if consumed inIn my opinion, I recommend one bone every 15 days".

To better understand the possibility of contamination, it is necessary to understand that leather processing takes place in different stages. During the procedure, the leather may come into contact with substances considered toxic to dogs. Therefore, the veterinarian warns: "It is important to read the product description, especially in the case of allergic animals".

So what is the best bone for dog?

It is not possible to come up with an answer to this, because every type of play involving bones or bovine hooves for dogs can be harmful to the animal's health. Therefore, it is up to the choice of each guardian to assume the risks of each toy and to commit to supervising the puppy. "Unfortunately any of the types can lead to complications, as even small fragments canSo it is worth mentioning the guardian's observation when providing the bone and monitoring the animal's behavior ", advises Fabio. It is also worth mentioning that problems usually occur in young or very agitated dogs that may swallow fragments of the toy.

Dog hooves and bones: how to identify when the animal needs help?

Ideally, this type of play should always be supervised by the guardian to prevent accidents from happening. But if by chance the puppy has access to hooves and bones without supervision, it is important to be aware of possible signs of problems. Veterinarian Fabio highlights the most common symptoms of the following conditions:

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- Intestinal obstruction: the animal will show listlessness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, abdominal distension and a lot of vomiting.

- Choking: the animal will have a lot of vomiting reflex, coughing and increased salivation.

- Intoxication: initially, the dog will show loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and may have a fever in some cases.

If you identify any of these situations described above, it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible.

See other dog toys that can replace bones and hooves

There is no shortage of options to ensure your dog's fun! Biteers, balls, interactive toys with food ... in short, there are endless possibilities. "The ideal is toys that are more durable, that cannot be easily destroyed and especially that are not toxic to dogs", recommends veterinarian Fabio. Dentist Mariana warns of another onea question that should also be taken into account when choosing a toy: "The best toys are those that are not so hard or that are specific for chewing. It is also important that at the beginning it is offered with supervision and monitoring by the guardian".

Tutor Ana Heloísa, on the other hand, adopted another dog and commented on what her favorite options are today: "After Lorota, I adopted Amora, a puppy with nervous teeth and I didn't have the courage to offer her natural bones and hooves. I stick to leather bones (especially those that are just a strip, which do not release pieces that can make them choke), toys of different sizes and shapes.rope, raw carrots, softer snacks and flavored rubber toys".

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.