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Mouth Drops for Dogs

A natural herbal oral supplement that aids in eliminating bad breath, gingivitis, and helps combat bacterial infections of the mouth and helps guard against tooth decay and plaque.

USD $49.95
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Vet Tech Rounds: Sticks, Bones and Dogs

Vet Talks 4 min read
Vet Tech Rounds: Sticks, Bones and Dogs

The Dangers of Sticks and Bones

Most dogs can’t resist a good chew. Many dog owners turn to bones and sticks to keep their pets entertained. Although dog’s wild ancestors did chew and eat bones of their prey and possibly even chewed on sticks, it is not advisable to allow your pup to chew bones and sticks for a variety of reasons. Your pup’s wild dog ancestors would not have had the luxury of visiting a doctor should anything go wrong!


‘Soup Bones’ are quite dangerous, even if they aren’t splintered and ingested.

Bones, whether raw or cooked, can break or splinter and be swallowed by our dogs. If your dog manages to swallow the bone fragments without choking, the bone then has to safely make it through their digestive tract. This is not impossible, but it is quite risky. Bone fragments can be too large to pass through the pyloric sphincter (the exit from the stomach to the small intestine) or they may become lodged along the way through the intestinal tract. This would cause your pup to get quite sick, and likely require an exploratory surgery or gastric endoscopy. Perforation of the bowels can lead to peritonitis, a deadly infection of the abdominal cavity.

‘Soup Bones’ are quite dangerous, even if they aren’t splintered and ingested. A common emergency we have seen in clinics is a soup bone stuck around the bottom jaw of a dog, stuck behind the lower canine teeth. Often a dog will need sedation in order to remove the bone (the dog pictured is sedated) Though this problem is not inherently dangerous on its own, because it is quite obvious and caught quickly by owners, it can lead the dog to panic, causing injury to themselves or their owner. Never, ever leave your pet unattended with any type of bone!

Sticks as toys for dogs

Another popular make-shift toys for dogs are sticks. Many dogs love lying in the grass on a warm summer day, gnashing on a good stick. While playing fetch with a stick can be quite harmless, chewing on a stick can be quite the opposite. On quite a few occasions we have seen frantic owners come into the clinic saying that something is wrong with their dog’s mouth. The dog is drooling, panicking, and wildly pawing at their mouth. A quick oral exam reveals a stick, which has been clamped down on with their teeth, now wedged perfectly along the palate between the upper premolars. Though this is usually a quick and simple fix, it can be quite traumatizing to both the dog and the owners. We have also heard of instances where the stick was not a bother to the dog and only found much later after it began to cause trauma and infection.

palatestick in dogs

Both stick and bone fragments can easily become lodged between two teeth and not be noticed by the dog’s owners. The only sign that something isn’t quite right may be a foul odor coming from the dog’s mouth, which some owners just mistake for typical ‘doggy breath’.

Case #1

In the example below, the dog had been an avid stick chewer. When his breath became so bad the owner could not take it anymore, a thorough oral examination was done. A stick fragment was found between the lower premolar and molar. It had been there for so long that it had created a very large gap between the two teeth, which normally contact one another. The molar’s root was exposed, and unfortunately, it required extraction

.tooth gap

Case #2

In the example below, again, the indication that something was amiss was foul-smelling breath. After the dog was sedated, a large lesion was noted in the dog’s lower jaw, alongside the teeth. With some exploration, the doctor was able to remove this 2.5-inch long fragment of either a stick or a bone. It was difficult to tell which, because it was so degraded, and the owners said the dog was an avid chewer of both.

dangers of sticks and bones for dogs

Safe Alternatives for dogs

There are many great alternatives to bones and sticks that can keep your pup just as happy such as Kongs, Nylabones, and even safe, realistic stick substitutes. Always remember to supervise your pet while chewing any toy and dispose of any toys which may be damaged and cause injury.

If your pet is suffering from unusually foul breath. It is important to have a veterinarian perform a thorough oral examination. If no problems aside from gingivitis are found, you may be able to help your pets bad breath with NHV Mouth Drops

Johanna RVT

Johanna RVT

Johanna is NHV’s in house Registered Veterinary Technician. Technicians are the veterinary equivalent of a human nurse. Johanna has over 10 years of experience in different types of veterinary clinics and hospitals. She has seen and assisted in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions and injuries. She will share her experiences in her monthly blog series “Vet Tech Rounds” to help our extended NHV family learn about common preventable medical cases and other interesting stories of vet clinic life.

Published: May 11, 2018

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