The Knee Cap Rule

The Knee Cap Rule

Fractured teeth are a very common finding in pet dogs. In many cases, these teeth have been fractured by the dog’s owners. Not on purpose, mind you. But it is the owners who have given their dogs inappropriately hard things to chew and these hard things break teeth!

Many dogs really love to chew and many owners falsely believe that giving their dog hard things to chew is good for them. Unfortunately, many of the things owners give their dogs to chew are more than hard enough to cause painful damage to the teeth. So please, tell ALL of your dog owners that they should NOT allow their dogs to chew:

  • Natural Bone (of any kind)
  • Nylon or hard plastic “bones” and toys
  • Antlers (which are actually bone)
  • Large raw-hide bones
  • Dried Cow Hooves
  • Dried bull penises (Bully Sticks)
  • Ice Cubes

Or they could just remember the “Knee-Cap Rule” which states that:

“If your dog would not want me to hit them on the knee cap with it, they should not be allowed to chew on it!”

If your dog has a strong chewing drive, maybe talk to a behavioral consultant about finding more appropriate outlets for their energies. Food puzzles are among the alternatives to consider.

As well, abrasive toys such as tennis balls should be avoided in favour of smooth-surfaced toys. The nylon fuzz on a tennis ball is very abrasive and it retains dirt and grit so chewing on a tennis ball is like chewing on sandpaper.

Even teeth without visible pulp exposure may be in need of treatment, but that is a subject for another paper (see below).

See also:

Paper from the FDA warning against bones
Video explaining why all teeth with pulp exposure require treatment
Paper discussing root canal treatment and comparing to extraction

Related Articles

Labelling of Intra-Oral Dental Radiographs
This is just a reminder that the College of Veterinarians of Ontario Minimum Standards for
Computed vs Digital Radiography
Let's start with the assertion that whole-mouth intra-oral dental radiographs are essential for all dental
And that’s a wrap
May 5th (2023) was my last day as a practicing veterinarian. We spent the afternoon