Dogs are known to unexpectedly chew, or shred through, a host of highly inconvenient items, ranging from shoes and electronics to furniture and building materials. Therefore, it is mind boggling to think that specially designed chew toys can pose a hazard to your dog's health. Unfortunately, both young pups and full-grown dogs can greedily tear through these chew toys and literally bite off more than they can chew.
Thankfully, knowing which toys to avoid letting your dog handle without supervision can prevent the majority of accidents. Here are four that require constant supervision for safe chew sessions.
Rawhides bones are formed using pieces of cowhide collected during the butchering process. Workers cut and roll the pieces, and then dry them until the final product feels completely solid. Despite this high quality preparation process, as dogs chew the rawhide bones, the material starts to soften up again until it returns to its original state.
In most cases, dogs will gnaw on a single edge and just break off small pieces of the softened material. The problem occurs when dogs strategically soften the entire structure. Upon softening up the rawhide, your dog may attempt to swallow the remaining material whole. At that point, the rawhide pieces may lodge in the throat or intestines, causing a serious blockage.
Dried, cut bully sticks provide dogs hours of chew time for each one-foot length. Treat manufacturers create the sticks by cutting, drying and curing bull penis. The resulting chew toy is very much like extremely hard beef jerky.
Dogs usually gnaw on the end of the stick to break off small pieces to eat. The sticks may pose a choking hazard if your dog decides to swallow the remaining piece whole after gnawing it down to a few inches in length. Dogs may also chew the stick evenly to soften up the entire structure before attempting to swallow the treat. Either way, if the chew toy does not end up lodge in your dog's esophagus, it could also cause a blockage in the digestive tract.
Dogs absolutely love to eat the marrow out of large bones from cows. Most dogs will just continually lick and nibble at the bone to remove the marrow from the center. Once the marrow is gone, you can stuff a mixture of kibble and peanut butter into the bone cavity to renew the treat.
If your dog prefers to gnaw on the actual bone surface, however, hours of chewing could weaken and splinter its structure. Small chunks or splinters of bone could wreak havoc in your dog's digestive tract if swallowed. Before giving your dog these bones, make sure to inspect the inside and outside of each one for cracks, divots or other imperfections that could signal it is in need of replacement.
Most latex dog toys are designed to withstand extreme forces from the toughest chewers. As a result, large and small pieces should never break off the material when replaced on a regular basis. If the toys grow old and weathered, however, the material composition could begin to split apart.
To prevent an accident, closely inspect the toy for signs of weathering or breakage before giving it to your dog. If you notice pieces on the floor, immediately take the toy from your dog and replace it with a new one as soon as possible. Try not to leave latex chew toys out in the sun, rain or snow to slow the breakdown process.
Seek Vet Care Assistance
If you notice your dog swallowed rawhide, bully sticks, bone fragments or latex material, watch him or her carefully for signs of any developing complications. You might notice your dog attempting to cough up the fragments, vomiting occasionally or experiencing constant diarrhea at the beginning stages of an obstruction.
At that point, it is wise to take your dog to a vet clinic for an exam and treatment. If deemed possible with an X-ray, your vet will keep your dog overnight or longer to provide observation and support in an effort to let the material pass through the tract naturally. Otherwise, your vet may need to remove the material manually using surgical techniques and tools.