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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Can ANYONE suggest any safe chews for powerful chewers who are food-obsessed? BESIDES deer antlers, bully sticks, nylabones, and bones? Does anything SAFE exist? Additionally, our dog unfortunately can be quite sickly (she suffers from an autoimmune disease), so we have to be extra careful about what she consumes.

Here’s my long story:

I have a former dumpster dog who is the love of my life. I guess because of her background - or because of her breed mix (pit/lab) - or both - she has a history of biting off big chunks of anything remotely edible and swallowing them whole. She isn’t necessarily swallowing them whole because she’s afraid we will take it from her (although occasionally that’s been the situation). Instead, a lot of the times, she just swallows these pieces with ease like it’s no big deal, before we even walk over to try and make her ‘drop it’ for chicken, or something else high value.

Our dog is actually pretty obedient and is monitored at all times, and luckily has no interest in chewing other things. But, if it’s food related, all bets are off. The things she’s swallowed whole/swallowed parts of include - a meat absorber pad that she grabbed and swallowed in two seconds - and luckily passed (A TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE), parts of a nylabone, bully sticks, a bone (once, she found a chicken leg in a parking lot in the dark and grabbed it, and swallowed that whole and was luckily fine but oh my goodness), and now the deer antler - which is why I’m writing today. We ended up with deer antlers because we’ve exhausted other options. I’ve heard horror stories about nylabones (and have a horror story myself), and she also swallowed her bully stick whole and it luckily broke down and we never saw it.. but apparently other dogs haven’t been as lucky - from what I've read.

Over the weekend, right in front of us, she managed to bite off part of her antler, which was about the size of my thumb, and swallow it whole (we always supervise when she chews these, but she swallowed it with ease as if it was no big deal). I know anything is possible, but I had always heard that antlers are almost impossible to break, and we also get these from a reputable company where they’re naturally shed as opposed to getting those processed 'Antlerz’ or whatever. She's had many antlers over the past few years and I guess we've never had a problem like this before, but I REALLY don't want to give her another one and have the same thing happen.

After a weekend of phone calls to emergency vets and her own vet, no one knew whether or not the antler would break down.. and then I called some dog health food stores and they guaranteed that it would break down and we wouldn’t even see it in her poop. I’m an extremely paranoid person and this was all I could think about all weekend. That next night, she luckily passed the antler piece. It did not look like it had broken down AT ALL, and it was as sharp as a knife.

It’s been almost a week, and she doesn’t seem to have any intestinal damage, but this experience has really left me terrified, because I feel that we got lucky and it could’ve been much worse - had she choked, or had it perforated her intestines or gotten stuck, or all of the above.

Can anyone recommend ANY other safe chew that will for sure dissolve/break down/digest if the dog were to swallow a somewhat large piece? I fear that we are out of options and we should just go back to giving her a Kong with peanut butter or something. :(
 

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Sorry to say I'd probably stick with the kong. You can pack it with a variety of things. It doesn't have to be a boring experience! You can google Kong recipes for ideas. Frozen kongs make for a nice challenging munch.
 

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You could always try raw edible bones. Edible bones are soft bones that the dog can eat and digest no problem. Around here, pork and deer necks and pig feet make for great recreational bones. Heads as well. Rabbit, chicken and duck is all edible bone but is sometimes eaten pretty quickly. Just try to get something LARGE that there's no way he can swallow. And sometimes freezing things will encourage a dog to chew too instead of gulp.
 

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You could always try raw edible bones. Edible bones are soft bones that the dog can eat and digest no problem. Around here, pork and deer necks and pig feet make for great recreational bones. Heads as well. Rabbit, chicken and duck is all edible bone but is sometimes eaten pretty quickly. Just try to get something LARGE that there's no way he can swallow. And sometimes freezing things will encourage a dog to chew too instead of gulp.
A nice frozen tom turkey neck, mmmmmmm :D
 

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If she can handle them, I know with an autoimmune disease disease she may not, I third raw meaty bones. They'll be good for her teeth, give her some chewing satisfaction, and if she swallows a large piece it shouldn't cause any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, everyone! So - with all these bones you're talking about, do you know if they're for sure supposed to break down if the dog were to swallow a big piece? I had heard the same thing about antlers, and then this happened.. :eek:

I know a lot of you are experienced with this and I trust you - we just had such a scare with the antler.
 

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They are digestible, but I'd go with the non weight bearing bones to be on the safe side. Turkey necks, are a good option because they are softer and large enough that a larger dog would have a hard time swallowing it whole. Chicken legs are a good option but since your dog does swallow things whole he may be able to with that.

Weight bearing bones, like beef leg bones, are bad because they are very hard and dogs have been known to chip teeth chewing on them.
 

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Thanks, everyone! So - with all these bones you're talking about, do you know if they're for sure supposed to break down if the dog were to swallow a big piece? I had heard the same thing about antlers, and then this happened.. :eek:

I know a lot of you are experienced with this and I trust you - we just had such a scare with the antler.

I feed my dogs a raw, so they get some of the bones I mentioned regularly as a part of their daily diet! My border collie scarfs food without chewing much, so he does get some fairly large chunks go down. Never once seen bone in his poop.

For your dog, you might want to start with softer stuff, like the turkey neck or a chicken back. A kibble fed dog might not have the digestive enzymes right away, so sometimes bone fragments will show up in poop. But they build up those enzymes very fast. Heck, I remember a long time ago when we didn't know any better, we used to feed our dogs steak bones and cooked rib bones all the time :rolleyes: Never did have an issue with it.
 

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Yikes those are some scary experiences.

But I will recommend raw bones as well. They are edible. My 9 lb chi and 5 lb puppy eats bones as part of their food.
Hmm pit lab, so his head is prolly pretty big, I would give big bones, But they say not to give cow leg bones which can be so hard that a truly stubborn powerful chewer can break their teeth because those bones are so strong they are stronger than the dogs teeth.

When I imagine the safest chew for your dog I actually imagine her gnawing on a pig's head (the grocery store my bf works at actually sells those 0_0 ) LOL I have seen youtube videos of dogs eating on goat heads.
Look on youtube to watch big dogs eat bones and you will easily be able to pick the bone that will work best with your dog.

my roomie has a pit mix and I think that dog could swallow a turkey neck whole if she really wanted to. I would get something bigger. Maybe a rack of ribs. or a whole chicken. Something that is bigger than her head <-- that is the rule for feeding raw to gulpers
 
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