Maintaining a dog’s teeth health is important. There are a few things to know about it to achieve easy success. Here are some DO's and DON'Ts:
DO give your dogs raw bones. The keyword is raw. Raw bones don’t splinter and clean teeth very well. If you have some cartilage or meat on bones, your dog will love them even more. Cow, pig, sheep, and game bones will do just fine. Find a local butcher where you can pick them up pretty cheap. These can last for days.
DO give your dog raw bird bones. Raw only. Raw bird bones are soft and do not splinter. Our favorite is a large bag of chicken wings (1st and 2nd sections) ice-glazed from Costco. One wing or thigh a day given frozen starting at 6 months is the best and easiest teeth cleaning your dog can get. Your 6-month-old teething pup will also appreciate cool relief for their teething pain.
DO choose destructible chew toys like cow ears, pig ears, rubbery toys, or Nylabone chews (don’t step on these in the dark; they hurt). As often as you have to replace them, it’s cheaper, easier, and painless compared to fixing your dog’s teeth. Nylabone bones last a while, though.
DO NOT give your dogs elk antlers. As indestructible as they are advertised to be, antlers are harder than your dog’s teeth. They often cause chips and cracks in your dog's teeth, leading to needing serious dental work. GSDs' bite is 238 psi, so chews have to give in not to damage teeth.
DO NOT give your dog cooked bird bones. Cooked bird bones splinter and can cause puncture of inner organs, including intestines, causing a 'septic effect'—contents of intestines leaking into a dog's inner organs. It is deadly. Guard cooked bird bones like a hawk, wrap them securely, and throw them away where your dogs cannot get them.
DO NOT allow your dog to chew on tennis balls (actual tennis balls; pet balls are okay). The surface of those balls resembles sandpaper, and even though one ball won’t hurt your pup, and it’s fine to chase balls, do not let your dog use balls as chew toys. They literally grind teeth like sandpaper, causing early wear.