You may notice that Buzz & Missy are looking somewhat sad in below picture…the reason being that they were saying their goodbyes to their collection of bones & antlers…
Saying Their Goodbyes
Now you may wonder why on earth they’d be getting rid of their prized chews…aren’t they great boredom busters AND helping in keeping those K9 pearlies clean?
Let’s rewind 8 days and explain.
Smoked Beef Bones As A Doggy Christmas Gift
When our neighbor asked us if the pups could have a smoked beef bone from the local grocery store for Christmas, we enthusiastically agreed ~ as expected, the pups loved their Christmas gifts, and chewed on them for about an hour every other day.
After said time span, we’d take them away and store them at the bottom of our pantry, next to the dog food.
Missy & Buzz have been chewing on antlers for over 3 years now, and have always enjoyed themselves while doing so.
They’ve never been aggressive chewers, but have relieved some toothing pain on both antlers (& bully sticks), as well as occupied themselves with chewing when their hoomans were busy with errands around the home (while still having an eye on them ~ we believe in supervised chewing).
A Damaged Dog Tooth
Last week, the pups were busy chewing on their respective beef bones, when Buzz stopped chewing all of a sudden. I thought it was a little strange, but that maybe he just wanted to take a constructive break & get some water.
He started chewing again after a little while, but not as enthusiastically as before. I still didn’t think too much of it, but figured that now would actually be a good opportunity of brushing his teeth.
As always, I began brushing his teeth on the upper left side of his jaw. As soon as I started brushing, however, he pulled back & yelped.
Now this was a clear indicator that something was just not right, as both pups typically start drooling at the mere sight of their toothbrush in anticipation of the flavored toothpaste.
I checked his mouth, and sure enough! His upper left molar in the far back of his mouth was fractured, with the pulp & the bright red pulp tissue clearly showing. The pulp is the nerve & blood supply of each K9 tooth.
Exposed Dog Tooth Pulp ~ Picture Courtesy Of www.mypetsdentist.com
The First Aid Companion For Dogs & Cats, by Amy D. Shojai
Not being familiar with K9 tooth problems, I looked up tooth damage in our go-to pet emergency book, The First Aid Companion For Dogs & Cats, by Amy D. Shojai.
The section about damaged dog teeth mentions that damaged dog teeth can occur in dogs who chew hard bones (as well as rocks, wires, etc).
I then browsed the internet for more information & found the website www.mypetsdentist.com, containing a myriad of information about damaged & broken dog (as well as cat & rabbit/rodent) teeth.
Veterinary Treatment Of Buzz’s Fractured Dog Tooth
The next step was to get in touch with our vet and to bring Buzz in for an exam & assessment. Our vet Dr. Schaller quickly diagnosed his problem, and scheduled his tooth removal surgery for the next day.
She had sympathy pain for our big boy and said, I quote, “Seeing his exposed nerve makes my teeth hurt”. We went back home with Tramadol for Buzz’s tooth pain, and returned early next morning for his surgery (Dr. Schaller had to postpone someone else’s spaying surgery that next morning, explaining that Buzz’s tooth extraction had priority).
One positive side effect of his surgery was that his remaining teeth were able to undergo a thorough assessment, as well as a tooth cleaning (& nail trim, while we were at it!).
Remnants Of Buzz's Extracted Tooth
I suppose we were also lucky for Buzz’s dental dilemma occurring during the month of February ~ it’s National Pet Dental Health Month, after all.
Our veterinary clinic Willowcreek Animal Hospital celebrates this month-long event by offering 20% off all dental treatments throughout February.
20% Off Dental Treatment At Willowcreek Animal Hospital Throughout February 2015
We Are Thankful For Our Dog Insurance PetsBest!
However, our total vet bill for Buzz’s dental treatment was still $557! Our medical dog insurance PetsBest covered $250 after having deducted our annual deductible of $200.
Our Dog Buzz Is All Smiles Again After His Dental Surgery!
On The Road To Recovery After The Dental Surgery
Our big boy was prescribed a diet of soft food for the duration of 2 weeks after his surgery. We’ve been feeding his usual mix of high-quality kibble with some wet food, pumpkin puree, and a sprinkle of turmeric, but have been soaking it in warm water for about 5 minutes.
Buzz had a swollen left side of his face for 2 days ~ our vet predicted this, and reminded us that she had to remove an otherwise healthy tooth, that didn’t come out as easily as a rotten tooth would have.
Our Dog Buzz With A Swollen Left Side Of His Muzzle
He still got some tramadol for the first few days after the surgery for pain relief, and ended up needing an antibiotic as Dr. Schaller (& Missy!!) noticed an odor coming from his incision. In order to prevent an infection, he was put on 10 days of Clindamycin.
Bottom Line: Always supervise your chewing pup, and investigate if you notice odd behavior! Take your pup in to see his vet if you have the slightest medical concern, as dogs are very good at disguising any pain they may be experiencing.
We took our vet’s advice of withholding all hard chews to heart, bringing us back to our opening picture above. Dr. Schaller says she sees furry patients with dental issues resulting from hard chews several times a week.
P.S. …we’ll replace our antlers & beef bones with the softer alternative of bully sticks only…which are equally loved by our pups! Stay tuned for a review…coming soon!
Update on the review: BestBullySticks’ Venison Wrinkles & Gullet Wrapped Tendons Review
Post Update (November 2016): Back in early 2015 when Buzz fractured his tooth, he was still on a kibble & wet food diet. Since mid 2015, he has been on a raw diet which includes raw meaty bones.
He does fantastic on it – it’s important to understand the difference between RAW, meaty, non-weightbearing bones (they’re soft) and SMOKED recreational bones (those are extremely hard). I recommend my post Can Dogs Really Eat Raw Bones? for more information on feeding raw bones.
Have you experienced a fractured or otherwise damaged K9 tooth in your pack? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!
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