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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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On my last visit to the vet, the assistant noticed that my

Customer Question

On my last visit to the vet, the assistant noticed that my 2 GSDs , who are only 3 and 4 years old, have some damage to their teeth. The only thing they chew that is hard is Nylabones. Would it be safe to give them the fexible Nylabones instead or what would you recommend for them to be able to safely chew on so they don't get any more damage?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 years ago.
Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and happy to answer your questions today.
Thank you for your question, I do tend to avoid nylabones not necessarily for their teeth with the flexible forms but because it is not digestible and if one of your dogs elects to try to swallow a piece it can cause an obstruction in the intestinal tract.
As far as alternatives, you can use greenies but my GSD gets diarrhea from those. If your dogs handle them without gi upset they are an option.
I primarily recommend rawhides, ones that are made in the US (avoid Mexican varieties, they tend to not have the process of sterilization as we do and are at higher risk for Salmonella for example)- preferably the strips or flat variety versus the rolls because again there is less risk of an obstruction if a large piece is ingested.
Otherwise my GSD gets a whole raw carrot daily with her meal or as a treat which is chewy, good for the teeth, and low in calories!
There is also a company named Zukes that make Z bones that are all natural and locally made in Colorado that are great chews as well. Here is a link:
You can order directly from the company or do a search on their page of where else to order from them more locally.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions I can assist with today! Good luck to you and your four legged kids!
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Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 years ago.
I am glad to see you were able to view my responses. I am on-line another 30 minutes tonight so please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you all today!
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't agree to feed rawhide to a dog. It blocks their intestines. Nylabones are guaranteed not to. This is my 6th and 7th GSD and this is the first time, after giving them all Nylabones, I have had an issue with their teeth.
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 years ago.
We can definitely agree to disagree this point, I use handouts and recommendations based on my experience as a practitioner for 16 years along with owning GSD personally for 30+ years. My information is forwarded from the veterinary dentist I use at my veterinary clinic at least twice monthly but we all have our own experiences with different products so if you feel strongly that you prefer them and have not had issues then you can definitely continue to use them potentially with some of the other options I have included.
I am going to opt out to potentially have another expert assist you further since my responses are not to your satisfaction. I wish you all luck in the future, truly.
Please do not respond so that others can assist you further in giving you options for your dogs' health and well being...
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.
I actually agree with Dr Altman, as rawhides are typically pretty safe. Have I seen some cause obstructions- yes, but it's rare. The biggest issue I see is small breed dogs trying to swallow large pieces and they get stuck in the esophagus. A shepherd could pretty much swallow any size piece of rawhide and the stomach acid should digest it fine.
For something other than rawhides, nylabones are ok. If you use the flexible ones, I would just be sure to supervise him with it. They can potentially chew a piece off and swallow it. This is a bigger worry when it comes to obstructing the intestine.
You can also give T/D as treats. This is made by Hill's and helps to break down tartar.
All in all, the best thing you can do for his teeth, is brush them daily. It's easier said than done, but that is by far the best way to remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and cut down on the number of dental cleaning/ tooth extractions he'll need in his life.
I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.