Bones and Deer Antlers?

Houndstooth Pet Dental

Will bones or antlers clean my dog’s teeth?  Or, “Should I risk letting my dog chew on weight baring bones or antlers hoping he doesn’t fracture a very large and important tooth, called the 4th premolar. But, people will always proclaim how they gave there dog a weight baring bone or antler to chew on and it cleaned their teeth.

When what actually happened was >The surface of those teeth were impacted by the smashing of the lower jaw into the the upper jaw with such force that the impacts eventually snapped/cracked the tartar off.


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 dog the stronger more powerful their jaw strength is and the more fixated they may be on crushing.

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 their size 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.