Archive for the ‘Chews’ Category

Raw Bones – Natures Tooth Brush

raw bone

Just the other day I was performing the weekly check of everyone’s teeth. All of the cats teeth were in fine condition, Vitzy’s teeth were at the same level. Finally I got to Tucker, I checked his left side and everything was pearly white, when I checked the right then I noticed it… A broken tooth with root exposed on his top right carnassial… Damn…

I wondered to myself ‘What had I do wrong?’ & ‘What was different than any other week?’

Then I realized, the one thing that could have caused this was his ‘raw hock bone’ as Tuck doesn’t chew on anything other than dehydrated duck feet and his raw bones. I thought I was doing the right thing by providing raw bones to my pet. I did a little research, and I was right to a degree. Here are some of my findings:

Beef, Bison & Elk Bones
Hock bones, marrowbones (like soup bones and centre cut marrows etc), Dino bones and knuckle bones are among some of the hardest bones available on the market. They are all weight-bearing bones (and to think these animals often are more than 1000lbs in weight) so they are thick and sturdier than other bones. If staying with beef, bison or elk opt for non-weight bearing bones such as rib bones and neck bones as they are more maliable and less likely to fracture teeth.

Chicken & Turkey Bones
I’m still not too keen on feeding chicken or turkey backs and wings, just seems like too many little bones of different sizes. I think they could cause obstruction in a large dog if they don’t chew them down properly. Instead opt for turkey or chicken necks, as the bones in the next are more uniform in size and are easily passable to most dogs.

Other bones to consider
Lamb & llama bones are thinner in profile the the regular beef & bison bone. These are far more easily chewed down and are a better alternative to the larger weight bearing bones.

Pros to Raw Bones
– They help clean teeth by the friction of chewing and the availability of natural enzymes
– They keep dogs entertained and relieve stress
– Save money on unnecessary dental cleaning
– Alternative to artificial and raw hide dental chews

Cons to Raw Bones
– Can cause teeth to fracture and break, if not given an appropriate type of bone
– Dogs could choke on pieces if not supervised

More Information
Dogs Naturally – Recreational Bones
CAUTION: Bones Can Kill Your Dog – Find Out Which Ones Are Safe!
IVC Journal – Raw Bones

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Essential Fatty Acids

salmon

The use of essential fatty acids is vital in any format of nutrition. The use of fish based or plant based oils are the most common forms of supplemental EFA’s. An essential fatty acid is something that the body cannot produce on it’s own and must be supplemented into the diet. Omega 6 is the only essential fatty acid for dogs and cats, although both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are recommended as a combination.

Where the B.A.R.F. diet requires Omega 3 and 6 supplementation, any diet could benefit as well, including any kibble based diet or dehydrated/ freeze dried diet. Common Omega 3 and 6 sources include: Salmon Oil, Pollock Oil, Coconut Oil, Flax oil, all-in-one combinations are also available. Once opened these oils (with the exception of coconut oil) should be refrigerated to maintain their benefits.

Benefits of Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and 6 combination)

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids in cardiovascular function (i.e. heart health)
  • Improved skin and coat (i.e. less shedding)
  • Digestive health
  • benefits the nervous system and eye function
  • Improves cognitive function

Efficiency of Oil

  1. Salmon Oil  – most readily bio-available for dogs
  2. Pollock Oil
  3. Coconut Oil
  4. Flax Oil – least readily bio-available for dogs

Other Sources of Omega 3 and 6

  • Salmon, tuna and other fish meat
  • Eggs
  • Spirulina
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Raw Organ Meats

 

Additional Resources

 Flax Council – Omega 3 Enriched Eggs

Walk N Roll Over – Coconut Oil

The Whole Dog Journal – Salmon Oil

Food Sources of Omega 3 Fats – based towards human nutrition

Dogs Naturally – Omega 3

The Dog Food Project – Essential Fatty Acids

 

Elk Antler Chews

antler-large-group

Elk Antlers are probably best known by their durability against strong chewers. They are all-natural, a novel protein source and a good treat for dental care.

Elk antlers are naturally shed by elk in the spring, and are cut down or halved for distribution to dogs. They are a great long-lasting chew as they do not splinter, chip or easily break. The marrow (or the inside) of the antler is what the dogs crave. For dogs who have not yet had an elk antler, starting with an antler with the marrow exposed and maybe a little bit of peanut butter on top is enough to get almost any dog onto this wonderful chew. For those seasoned dogs who know what they’re after, a fully enclosed antler will last much longer.

Being naturally-shed, antlers are less processed then almost any other treats, with no fillers, additives, dyes or preservatives and are also odour-free. They also contain beneficial sources of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese. They are helpful when cleaning teeth as the surface abrasion of the antler to teeth will help remove plaque and tartar.

A couple precautionary measures are useful when giving elk antlers to your pets. Avoid giving elk antlers to puppies with milk teeth, as adult teeth are more dense and less susceptible to fracturing when biting harder objects. Also supervision should also be advised, if a dog is to chomp down with full strength there is still the possibility of fracturing a tooth or the possibility of choking on a small object if they have chewed it down completely.

Additional Resources

Dr. Foster Smith – Elk Antler Sizing Recommendations

elkantlerchews.com

Puppy Love – Elk

Food For Thought

What chews do your dogs enjoy?

Bully Sticks

bully stick

Bully Sticks (or pizzles) are a treat for some debate. Most consumers don’t know the origins, how they are made and the amount of calories they posses.

Bully Sticks are often dehydrated raw – bull, steer or even veal (baby cow) penises (Ewww! for us, but often dogs love them). For those familiar with by-products, bully sticks are technically a by-product of beef. Although with the label as by-product, there can be different grades (quality) or additives to any product which can effect your pet. For example products from China can be of poor-quality and can often spell trouble for our pets, whereas some products from Canadian or American inspected facilities often have higher quality, and less harmful additives in the bully sticks. For best results, read the labels and ask the manufacturer if the product was “made” in Canada or the U.S.A, as products can be “packaged” or “assembled” in Canada and the U.S.A. and may be a very different product then expected.

Bully Sticks by nature are calorie dense, meaning a 6 inch bully stick can contain more than 88 calories. The recommended amount of calories in treats per day should amount to about 10% of the diet. Meaning if needed you can provide the bully stick for short durations 10-20 minutes for a nice treat for your dog if there are concerns about gaining weight or is already overweight. Caloric information can sometimes be found on the manufacturers website, or you can send an inquiry as to the calories directly to the company.

As with any treat made from one meat ingredient (ex. beef, duck, elk, pig, lamb etc.) it is best to ere on the side of caution with cleanliness. Meaning you should wash your hands and general area (any surface the treat has come into contact with: counters, floor, dish etc.) after handling any such treat to stop the spread of diseases and infection. As well as limiting the exposure to children, the immune-compromised and pregnant women. With any chew there should also be supervision to ensure the dog is chewing on it appropriately. As there is a danger to dogs if they try to swallow a large piece of the bully stick, or the bully stick becoming lodged in the mouth.

From my experience with bully sticks I have had no issues with any bacteria associated with them, as I try to maintain a very clean area when coming into contact with any such treats. My dogs love them, and a twelve inch bully stick will last my German Shepherd Mix a month or two (He’s a very light chewer, maybe a few nibbles a day on it). And if needed you can freeze the bully stick to rid of most of the bacteria and to also strengthen it as a chew. All in all bully sticks are a great healthy alternative to over-processed treats (rawhide for example), and the added benefit of the abrasion against the teeth will also help with plaque and tartar control and removal.

Additional Resources

AAHA – Misconceptions of Bully Sticks

Dr. Becker – Bully Sticks

Dogster Forum – Bully Sticks