Well don't I feel like an idiot. I've been on here for months telling people who ask dental questions what to do about their dogs tartar, etc. to give raw knuckle bones because they won't break teeth. I was told this in my veterinary dentistry class and have been feeding raw knuckle bones for almost a year now with no problems.....until last night. I gave Franklin and Truck a knuckle bone bc Truck has horrible teeth and I use them to keep Franklin's teeth clean. Well last night he broke his tooth on a knuckle bone. Of course Franklin is one of those dogs that if it can happen it WILL happen, so I've always been SUPER careful of what I give him (food, toys, etc). Now I am faced with a vet bill of around $1000 to get the tooth pulled and I am currently an unemployed student. Not a good combination. Not really sure what I am going to do, I do have Care Credit but the hospital only offers 3 months no interest and then interest jumps to something like 29% so I may just have to charge the whole thing on a credit card or something. Augh, really bad timing for this because teeth are the ONE thing they can't fix for almost free at my school. The Dr.s at my school are so good and can do most anything, but of course not this type of extraction because it is very difficult. Having a small panic attack now to figure out how I am going to pay for this. But just wanted to put it out there DO NOT FEED BONES! I was always told knuckle bones are softer than weight bearing bones so they won't break teeth and that seemed to be true, but not anymore. Now I may have to resort to actually brushing teeth :-(

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Seriously?  $1000?  Jackson just had a molar pulled, and dug out, and the whole bill with teeth cleaning was only $350.  I'd look around if I was you...

California is a lot more expensive than the midwest. Generally just a basic dental will cost you $450+. The tooth he broke was a carnassial which is the 3 rooted one, super hard to get out, long anesthetic time especially when the tooth is super healthy. I called around and spoke to some vet friends and seems between $850-$1000+ is the norm for my area :-( 

We live in S. CA. and have a great vet. We were charged around $300. It was the next to the last molar (how's that for defining the tooth? my dgt's a dentist. she'd be mortified w. the next to the last tooth, haha!) You really should check around. Is Franklin on pain meds/ antibiotics?

He's not on anything yet because it happened last night. I called a few places today. I'm not sure if I can/should wait until Monday and call more vets when they are open because I'm afraid it will get infected. Because of the tooth people are telling me it will be around $900. Maybe once I get in there and get an exam it will end up being less. 

Thanks for telling us I had no idea. None of mine have had one but now that I know they will not be getting one. What else in addition to brushing and short of knuckle bones are good for cleaning teeth????

If the bone can't be consumed, it's too hard and creates a tooth-breaking risk.  I don't give recreational bones because ALL recreational bones pose a tooth-breaking risk.  I believe knuckle bones are recreational bones--not for consumption!  And, uh, isn't a knuckle a weight-bearing bone in a cow?

the "knuckle" itself is part of a weight bearing bone but is made up of mostly spongy bone vs compact bone like the femur or the humerus shaft. The spongy bone is supposedly softer and the dog does eat it pretty easily. Not sure if the piece I gave him had more compact bone than the ones I usually give him or what, but I'm not taking that chance again. I've always been told if you feed the knuckle it was safe bc it is made up of spongy bone, I'm going to be having a talk with my dentistry professor on monday! 

I've always read that knuckle bones are still too hard--softer than the femur but still harder than raw feeders prefer, anyhow.  If you aren't too bone shy and don't want to brush teeth (and Truck and Frank aren't gulpers), try some beef oxtail.  Those clean Waffle's teeth the best and they're pretty soft.  

awesome thanks for the advice. I won't be able to brush Truck's teeth, he doesn't like me messing around in his mouth. Frank is definitely not a gulper and Truck will have to be closely watched. He did well with his knuckle bone yesterday. Maybe I will try those now instead. Knuckle bones are all going in the garbage today.

FWIW, Waffle probably goes through a whole oxtail once a month and we've never had problems.   (In fact, we haven't had problems with any of his bones and he eats them every day.)  Hopefully that tooth extraction isn't as expensive as you think it is, too.  Good luck!  

Rachael, when you give the oxtail is it cut up? How do you give it? Recommendations on bones to give would be great. Do you feed ribs? I really do want to keep his teeth clean as best I can because I know once I have to do that first dental, it's all downhill from there and then they are required pretty much yearly or every couple years because the plaque builds up again so fast after the first dental. I'm not opposed to feeding the occasional raw bone even with meat on it if it means keeping his teeth clean.

Oxtail has quite a bit of meat on it, as well as a layer of cartilage surrounding the bone.  I feed it depending on how I buy it-- at the store, it comes in individual vertebrae ranging from 1-2.5 inches long and in varying widths.  Because Waffle has never shown a single urge to swallow something whole, I take my chances and give him the individual vertebrae, even the little ones.  From the butcher, I ask for about 2 inch cuts and give him those.  I feed him on the tile and clean the floor after he's done.  

Beef and lamb neck bones are good for teeth too. I buy beef neck bones in 1 inch thick slices and the lamb bones come in chunks.  Be careful with cut bones because they can have sharp edges because of the saw.  I usually take a file and remove sharp points just in case.  These have much less meat on them than oxtail but are heavy on marrow.  I like to feed pork tails (but I cut a lot of the fat off) for their bone, too.  

For both oxtail and neck bones, he eats the meat off as best he can and gets some good teeth scraping done when trying to remove the meat bits. Then he crunches the bone and that gets between the teeth. 

I've never fed ribs because I read somewhere once that you shouldn't because they may splinter.  Not sure how true this is but I have stayed away from them mostly because if I am going to buy ribs, I am going to eat them... lol.  Although with a little investigation, it appears pork spare ribs are okay... but I would suggest more research before buying some.

The other bones I feed (ie poultry) are not for teeth cleaning so much as they are for the nutrition aspect.  They clean teeth *okay*--there's definitely some benefit--but the bigger, heavier bones are better for cleaning and they have less meat on them. 

Also, there's "common wisdom" that says not to feed kibble before giving raw bones.  Not sure of the truth to it, but since kibble supposedly moves slower through the digestive tract, you should feed raw up to 3 hours before feeding kibble and well after feeding kibble--like 8 hours or something. 

Don't buy these things at Kroger or Wal-Mart!  Always get your bones from a trusted meat source, like an individual butcher who can say where he sources meat or a local market or even the farmer directly.  

My thoughts and prayers are with Franklin today as he undergoes his tooth surgery!  Good luck and godspeed to both of you!  

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