Bones and Deer Antlers?

Houndstooth Pet Dental

Will bones or deer antlers clean my dog’s teeth?  I think the better question to ask yourself is “Should I risk letting my dog chew on bones or antlers hoping he doesn’t fracture a very large and important upper 4th premolars. This will be a very expensive complicated oral surgery?


antlers as a chew toy for dogs

So, what’s up with bones?

Let me explain some differences first.

Large dog vs smaller dogs:

The larger the breed the stronger more powerful their jaw strength is and often the more intent they are on crushing and swallowing whatever they have placed in their mouth.

The opposite is mostly true with smaller breeds (exception Jack Russel, Scotties etc.). Especially in today’s world. Many of these once noble breeds have been reduced to classifications such as Toy Breed, Tea Cup Breed and Miniature.  Suggesting that they were originally much more robust and, in most cases, healthier.  Their tiny jaws are expected to be strong enough to support 42 teeth (We have 32 teeth) and their jaws are not. This is one of the reasons so many little dogs experience loose teeth at an early age. Their jaws don’t have the density to support the teeth. This most noticeable in their upper and lower front teeth-incisors.

Aggressive chewers vs non aggressive chewers

Some dogs know matter what their size is will go after bones with a vengeance.  They have so much pent-up energy and this is where they know they can release it. Unfortunately, this kind of pleasure seeking almost always results in a very painful fracture and necessary oral surgery. Then we have the dogs that just want to go to their Happy Place and have a leisurely chew.  It takes weeks or even months for the bone or chew toy to even show wear.


So where does the teeth cleaning fit into this scenario? The magic elixir is saliva. The slow chewing on Kong Toys or things that will offer little resistance as they mash down on it. This will usually spare the teeth.  But will create copious amounts of saliva and saliva is what protects all of our teeth. The more often saliva is created the healthier our teeth remain.  Saliva has amazing properties and each time we swallow we add a new coating.  The old contaminated saliva is swallowed and the clean bacteria free new saliva is in its place.  This is repeated over and over each time swallowing occurs.   Playing with toys going for multiple long walks and even doggie daycare will help prevent dental disease.