My Chihuahua Inhales Greenies...should I be worried?
So I rarely ever give my Chihuahua treats since she porks up easily. But the last time I was at my vet they said to start brushing her teeth and giving her chews so that she can work the tartar off her teeth. Well, Cricket has always loved Greenies and I usually get her the Teenie size, which she inhales in under a minute. So this time I decided to get her the Petite size, thinking it would slow her down. Nope. Under three minutes and it was dunzo. Now I'm reading that you shouldn't give dogs Greenies since they tend to inhale them and then the large chunks they swallowed can block up their intestines.
Should I be concerned? What should I give her to chew on instead? She enjoys rawhides and bully sticks...for about a minute and then she won't touch them again. She prefers her stuffed animals.
And my dog just had pieces of undigested bully stick removed from his esophagus and stomach to the tune of $2,000 - just what I needed right before xmas. I hate all those chew things now. He still has an antler, but that's it.
I give my chihuahuas the knuckle bones. We get them from the local grocery store when I go shopping for food. They are great for hours of entertainment and in 6 years I have never had a problem. Just a thought
my vet says the only health effects he sees for dogs fed greenies is the dogs tend to get fat- he doesn't see any impact on the cleanliness of the teeth, probably because, as you note, most dogs don't really chew them.
The best thing to do for your dogs teeth is put your dog on a raw, low-carb diet- even one of the soft ground up raw diets (very safe) keeps dogs teeth much cleaner than dogs fed kibble diets, because it's the carbohydrates in the kibble that cause the tartar etc. in the first place. And all kibbles have a fairly high carb content, even the "better" grain-free ones.
If you don't want to do that, offering your dog a raw chicken wing or other soft raw meaty bone two or three times a week will make a tremendous difference in their oral health.
Some people have done studies on the effect of chewing on teeth-cleaning, and chewing on rawhide is generally the most effective; followed closely by chewing on raw meaty bones (NOT hard bones like antlers, soft edible bones); the paste-type bones (like greenies) were very ineffective in cleaning teeth. No one has formally evaluated the teeth-cleaning ability of bully sticks or of hard bone chews, as far as I know. I personally wouldn't expect to see that hard bones like antlers or knuckles would do much in the way of cleaning, but bully sticks are probably as effective as rawhides, being sort of the same texture. You want something softish the teeth can shear through to get good cleaning down to the gumline; the hard chews are only going to effect the top of the tooth.
There are risks with all chews, but the health impact of filthy teeth is far worse than a low risk of a gut impaction.
Chi's and many other small dogs are genetically predisposed to bad teeth, so you may wish to also brush your dogs teeth, and occasionally subject the dog to a vet-cleaning.
I haven't seen any empirical data to support the efficacy of greenies in reducing buildup of calculus on teeth.
I would be more inclined to get her nylabones for chewing, much safer. Any hard/solid object that is ingested has the potential to cause an obstruction, partial obstruction and in some cases a perforation. Having had 3 surgeries for just such things on my dog for objects I DIDN'T give him, I wouldn't risk it with the greenies.
I think you might be money ahead just planning to do dentals as needed. Some dogs need them every 4-6 mod even. (especially the small breeds for whatever reason) Brushing the teeth yourself can help if you begin after a good dental cleaning and are diligent. But most people just aren't diligent. Heck, most people are barely diligent taking care of their OWN teeth daily...forget the dog or cat!
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
For 16.5 years, I had a Chihuahua-Papillon mix. He was an adult when I found him, which means he was probably in his 18th year when he died peacefully in his sleep.
During those 16.5 years, he ate all kinds of things I never would have allowed him to eat. He hunted regularly and ate moles, lizards, mice and whatever carrion he encountered. When I found him, he appeared to have a subsistence diet of insects and newspaper, supplemented by edible garbage found in the streets and alleys of Beverly Hills. He also loved anything with cinnamon, especially cinnamon rolls, and would steal them from heights that I never thought he could scale.
I threw in the good-diet towel pretty early in the game. He got quality dog food but he'd have needed a full-time attendant to stop him from eating everything else.
He got his teeth cleaned 2x per year, either by the vet or by a technician who cleans teeth by hand (this was the preferred option). I figured this was one thing I could have control over, even if his diet was not my ideal. Chihuahuas are not known for good dentition but mine had a decent mouth right to the end.
As your vet if they have a preferred dental chew that seems to be effective. I'd skip the Greenies if your dog swallows them whole. There can't be much benefit to that.
Greenies are so, so, so dangerous and should be taken off the market. Dogs can't properly digest them, especially when eaten in a short period of time, so the Greenie sits in the stomach, expands, and blocks everything from passing. A relative of mine almost like their Shepherd due to a Greenie, it ended up needing surgery and is fine now. A friend of mine had trouble giving them to her little dogs and stopped feeding them several years ago.
Switch to bullysticks. They smell to high heavens but they are easily digestible and your dog will love them.
my dogs have been doing really well with cow hooves-we get them in bulk at the feed store and they're clean. I've seen them individually wrapped and then maybe smoked or something but the ones I bring home are clean/dry. They last a long time and I haven't seen any of our dogs get chunks off of them-they get gummy and STINKY as they chew and then when they're small enough I take them away. Even my big chewer handles them well and hasn't eaten them. They last a long time and everyone from the GP to the chi chews them really well. FWIW
NO Greene's for my dogs. I lost a small west highland terrier. She inhaled the Greene then started to not feel well with in a few hours. I took her to the ER vet, took X-ray. They could see it in her stomach. They waited too long to take her to surgery and she died. Never again Greene's or the particle vets office.