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Safeguarding Your Dog's Dental Health: Understanding the Risks of Bone Chewing

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Cuddles, an endearing pitbull with a personality that warmed my heart. However, our interaction was marred by a troubling revelation—Cuddles had a broken tooth. The culprit? His upper left fourth premolar, also known as tooth 208 or the carnasial tooth. This tooth is pivotal for chewing and is frequently susceptible to injuries related to bone chewing.


When discussing bones, we're not referring to innocuous treats like milk bones or greenies. Instead, we're addressing the dense, hard bones commonly found in pet store aisles. Despite their allure to energetic chewers, these bones pose significant risks. If you're unable to make an indentation on the bone with your nail, it's too hard for your dog to chew safely.


Upon delving into Cuddles' chewing habits with his owner, she confessed to his penchant for bones.


Beyond the nail test, there's another vital consideration—the seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). Products adorned with this seal are recognized as safe for oral health, offering peace of mind to pet owners.


To delve deeper into the dental ramifications of bone chewing, it's essential to understand the anatomy of a dog's teeth. Like humans, dogs possess enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp—the innermost layer of the tooth containing blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Pulp exposure, such as that resulting from a broken tooth, poses a grave risk of infection. When the protective layers of enamel and dentin are compromised, bacteria can infiltrate the pulp chamber, leading to inflammation and potentially severe infection. If left untreated, such infections can result in pain, abscess formation, and even systemic complications.


While bones may appear to be a natural and enjoyable treat for dogs, they can precipitate serious dental issues. By eschewing hard bones and opting for safer alternatives, such as VOHC-approved treats, you can safeguard your dog's dental health and overall well-being. 


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