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 :-(
I have mentioned above that I have not ever had any dog tooth problems with the beef joint bones as they have a lot of soft cartilage on them. The bones John's dob broke its teeth on were the 2" slices and they are not soft. I still have joint bones laying all over my house but my rescue dog is wearing down her front bottom teeth eating on them. Melissa was horrified that Franklin broke his tooth on one of those knuckle bones but she also mentions that Franklin is accident prone. I am not quite sure if joint/knuckle are the same. When I buy, I look for those that have the large round end. I will have to look for one as I think they are the safer one. If I can find one, I will photograph it and post the pic. As an alternative, I bought the Wholesome Hide USA 10" Superthick retriever bones from www.whitedogbone.com listed some where in this discussion but my rescue is so afraid that she will starve that she will over eat risking various other dangers. So I let mine chew on those rawhides for 30 minutes only and for 3 hours per day. The joint bones really clean teeth well.
That link isn't active (takes me to a page where it says the domain is for sale.) In general, though, I don't agree with feeding my dogs anything made from rawhide. It's just a personal choice of mine.
Regarding the knuckles bones, I've actually found quite a few other cases where a dog has cracked its tooth on knuckles. I've even read accounts (and have seen some pictures) of doberman who have cracked teeth on knuckle bones. I may eventually work up the courage to let my dogs have a go at one, but at the moment I'd like to take the potentially safer route. :)
I just went back and corrected the website. These raw hides are american or Brazilian and are make in this country. There is a link to discriptions. as I mentioned above, there is a particular bone that I like and would recommend but I would have to look for one. It is the outer cartilage that is save and the bone part that is riskier. I will look for them at PetSmart and see if I can find any.
Jen, if you look earlier in this discussion Rachel (waffle's mom) has suggestions on good alternatives to weight bearing bones. I think it is on the first or second page of this discussion. I believe she recommended neck bones and oxtail. I have switched to rawhide since I know Franklin is not a gulper and he will work at the rawhide for a long time. His teeth have remained sparkling clean. Of course I did catch him chewing on his toothbrush the other day (no joke) so maybe he brushes while I'm gone lol.