2. Chews that are too hard
If you think the chew is too hard for your dog to bite off a chunk and swallow it, then it is probably too hard for your dog to chew on. Very hard chews can cause tooth fractures or oral injuries. As a rule of thumb, any chew that would hurt if you banged it on your knee is too hard for your dog.
3. Animal hooves, antlers, and bones
Hard animal parts and particularly cooked bones pose the most significant risk to your dog’s teeth and GI tract because they are very hard and indigestible. If your dog doesn’t break a tooth first, he could manage to snap off a piece and ingest it. Some animal horns (like buffalo or goat horns) soften and fray a little while dogs are chewing them. These can be less dangerous to the teeth and may be more easily tolerated by the GI tract. However, they should be used with extreme caution.
This is a somewhat controversial chew. Though many dogs will do fine with rawhide, it’s important to know that large pieces of rawhide are not easily digested and can cause GI blockage or irritation. Additionally, rawhide is often treated with potentially harmful chemicals. There are a few exceptions, though. Some types of rawhide are specially designed by vets with safety and digestibility in mind. Ask your vet for more information about safe rawhide chews that can help keep teeth clean.
Digestible Dog Chews
There are many chews on the market today that can be considered safer for dogs because they are digestible and not too hard for teeth. It is important to remember that even large chunks from digestible chews can still cause GI upset or blockage. Always supervise your dog after giving it chews. If the dog seems to be swallowing large chunks, take the chew away. Furthermore, if the dog develops vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of illness, see your vet right away.
Obviously, the positive thing about digestible chews is their increased safety. However, the downside is that they don’t last very long and tend to be more expensive than bones and hooves. To save money, try balancing between chew toys and edible chews. Aggressive chewers might do well with something like a food-filled Kong Ultra, bully sticks, beef tracheas, or flavored dental chews.