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  • Writer's pictureDr. P

Veterinary Musings..."just a thought's...."

Updated: Mar 12, 2018


Congratulations, you just brought home your newest furry family member. After settling in you can't wait to dash to the pet store and go crazy loading up a cart of toys. Great...your little 8 week old innocent bundle of joy is going to start teething in a few weeks, and giving him something to nibble on will save your shoes, kids toys, furniture legs and clothes.

All puppies love stuffed toys; they come in every color and critter; they are cute and fun, but supervise them and when the stuffing "guts" start to come out, make it go away. Ditto with the squeaker. I love stuffed toys, especially with the dangly arms and legs that we can play tug-of -war with!

Tennis balls, awesome. Kong balls, also awesome. Handballs are a no-no, I've seen 2 dogs choke on handballs, they become lodged in the throat while playing ball toss. This is heartbreaking.

Rawhides. Small ones, no bueno. I have used the really large ones with a knot at each end, again supervised, so that when they get too small they disappear. Do not feel sorry when those big brown eyes ask for it back! Don't give in! Make sure they are made in USA and bleached; the red dyed ones leach red dye all over your house.

No rope toys. Absolutely no bones...of any kind. None. Zip. Zilch. No. I don't dig the deer antlers for the same reason. Bones= surgery or broken teeth. The only saving grace of giving your dog a bone is that when I have to diagnose an obstruction, it is easy to see on the xray. Do not keep me busy taking out foreign bodies or extracting broken teeth; I have done quite enough, thank you very much, I don't need the practice!

Pigs ears and and the like... I personally find it a bit disgusting but if it floats your boat, they are pretty safe. Bully sticks (don't ask what they really are!) are not bad but, again, I've had a couple g.i. foreign body issues with them.

Kong toys..the best, fill them with a little peanut butter or kibble. Nylabones are great. There are some doggy "puzzles" that dogs enjoy. And... plastic water bottles! (remove the cap).

Everyone likes a cookie now and then. The treats should be small, so that when training, your puppy takes a quick bite and is ready for the next idea. We like to use freeze dried liver treats and break them into small bites... again, because I am paranoid..I have had 2 patients at our office get excited and grab a large milk bone out of my hand and proceed to choke on it right in front of me; break up the treat to an appropriate size for your puppy.

Dental treats and chews: I am not a big fan of greenies or the bonelets like oravet chews. There has been documented instances ( by despondent veterinarians with their own dogs!) of these chews "gumming up" in a dog's throat and causing choking. One discussion on our network was a veterinarian saddened that she thought the treats were safe and she heard nothing as her little dog choked on one of these chews in his crate just 3 feet away from her.

Tooth brushing or dental wipes are a much safer and better alternative.

Ok, now that I have relived all of my paranoia.....and emergency foreign body nightmares..enjoy your puppy. Have fun!

Treat your new fur baby like a toddler. Everything goes in his mouth, so have fun and be watchful. Play, play, and play some more! A tired puppy is a happy puppy and happy dog parents. Puppyhood is short lived and wonderful...magical, fun, sometimes frustrating; and it goes by much too quickly! Enjoy the ride!

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