Chew On This

April 8, 2011 § 21 Comments

Immediately after having adopted Maple, MM and I went on our first maiden shopping trip for dog-related supplies. On top of the list was toys. A blue bone caught my eye, ‘Oh, look! I’m sure Maple would love  to play with this…’ And that was how Maple’s love affair with her Nylabone developed.

Back then, we knew diddly squat about dental chews. We thought we were simply buying a funky chew toy. As it turns out, this chew toy is not only an object of play for Maple but also does double-duty as a plaque removing tool. In theory, the round nubs on the surface of the Nylabone dental chew are supposed to work like bristles that gently massage teeth and gums, thereby attacking plaque build-up and bad breath.

We think Maple finds her blue bone irresistible not so much because of its shape or texture but, rather, because of its flavour-enhancement (which, by the way, our human senses are unable to detect).

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Flavour-enhancement? Yes, the flavour-enhancement aspect of the Nylabone is a bit of a mystery. Moreover, Nylabone claims that the dental chews are enhanced with ‘natural’ flavours. I’m eager to know how a plastic product can be infused with ‘natural’ flavours—it seems a little peculiar. I’ve put on my investigator’s hat and recently emailed the folks at Nylabone with some questions, so do come back for the update if you’re as curious as me! 

Eventually, we hope to introduce Miss Maple to raw bones which we feel is an effective (and perhaps more authentic) method of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Our blogging friend, Didi, from My Little Dog, wrote a very informative and inspiring article about raw bones—if, like us, you are also considering the idea of supplementing your furkid’s diet with raw bones, you may want to check it out!

* * * * *

UPDATE (28 April 2011)

As promised, we wrote in to Nylabone and inquired about the flavour-enhancement aspect of their non-edible dental chews like the blue-coloured bone shown with Maple in the photos above. After one month of correspondence, we feel dismayed by Nylabone’s reply and are now more convinced than ever that we ought to look into alternative dental chews. That’s just our personal opinion. Here’s the email transcript for anyone else who shares our curiosity about Nylabones.

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§ 21 Responses to Chew On This

  • Adorable photos! Looking forward to hearing what Nylabone say. Have always wondered how they flavour their products.

    • Hello hairyprincess! Thank you for dropping by our blog—we always enjoy having visitors that have come from afar. We’re also eager to hear from Nylabone and, when we do, we’ll most definitely post their response here. Until then, we hope and your two Teddies and cat have a great day 😀

  • xmasyve says:

    For small breeds I recommend starting out with chicken necks then move on to chicken wings. For some dogs though, raw doesn’t really work to clean teeth. In my case, one of my pups doesn’t really eat bones, hence the brushing 😦

    • Yes, good point. I was advised by the staff at our local pet shop to buy chew toys that are size-appropriate for toy breeds (anything too large may put them off)… perhaps this applies to bones as well? Chicken necks might be a good option for little Maple, since she isn’t much of an aggressive chomper. I hope to make a trip to a local butcher, first, just to have a look and see at the variety of bones and cuts available 🙂

      • xmasyve says:

        Generally you’re supposed to feed them bones that are bigger than their mouths so they will have to chew and not swallow them whole. It really depends on the dog though if she’s a chewer or a gulper. For toy breeds chicken necks and wings should be fine. Always supervise when giving RMBs.

        Yes, Singapore has lots of exotic or weird animal cuts that are wonderful for the dogs. I’d like to throw them some chicken feet but that isn’t really possible here haha.

        Things like dried pig’s ears can also help clean teeth 🙂 I tend to feed raw more for health than for teeth-cleaning.

  • MMMMm that looks good. I love my elk horn and briefly (too briefly) I had a HUGE beef rib bone bigger than my head! I love bones of all sorts. Mama gives me greenies for my teeth. She plans on scrubbing my teeth with some tooth paste too, but has been very lazy about that. I love greenies though. I chew them right up. My teeth are nice and clean! Yours look good too!

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Your pal,


    • Hahaha… yes, Opie, we watched the video evidence of your encounter with the ginormous rib bone. It looked like you were having a nose-lickin’ good time 😀 Greenies? That’s new to us. I’m not sure if Greenies are currently available here in Singapore… Hmm, all the more reason to go shopping browsing on our next trip to the pet store 😉

  • didiwright says:

    Maple looks so cute with that bone, it looks like she really loves it. I like the little ‘spikes?’ on it, they must do a good job on doggy teeth. George was never too keen on these bones for some reason, just like he hated dental sticks. Funny dogs whippets, really, that’s how I ended up feeding him bones in the first place. Speaking of which, thank you so much for linking to my blog, I appreciate it, and I’m happy that you found my post useful 🙂

    • I suspect the Nylabone is actually doing its job, and Maple cherishes her blue bone. I only wish I could learn more about the flavour-enhancement feature of this dental chew because not knowing the full story kind of irks me… No worries about the link—we’re always happy to share with others good reads that we have come across in the blogosphere 😀

  • Gus isn’t much of a chewer but like Opie, he LOVES Greenies!

    As always, gorgeous photos of Miss Maple!

  • TOto's mommy says:

    Maple so cute, her mouth and teeth are so tiny!

    TOto is a heavy CHEWER, so the chew that you have bought for Maple would be gone in a few days, if used by TOto. We have to buy the TOUGHEST chew around like Galileo® Bone, even for that he has chew off one side! And the next natural choice we just discover was ELK Antler!

    The problem with alot of chews we tried, was when they are chew and shredded by TOto, the plastic become very sharp, and the chew will bleed TOto’s gum!

    And for this type that you have bought, TOto tends to swallow this type of ‘Beaded’ chew. In the end we will see alot of colour plastic parts in his poop, so we gave up although such chews are very good for teeth cleaning!


    • Wow, TOTo sounds like he has super strong jaws. It’s amazing that TOto can totally shred a chew down to a nub 😯 Elk antlers, how interesting—I had to google it just to make sure I read your comment correctly… lol… I would love to find out how the antlers are working for TOto!

  • herdogblog says:

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing this review!

    • Hi Shannon and Teton. Thanks for dropping us a note! As you may know, we’re on the hunt for toothpaste to accompany the new toothbrush we recently purchased for Miss Maple. We enjoyed reading your post, Brusha, Brusha, Brusha, and the KissAble all-natural toothpaste by Cain & Able caught our eye. How has it been so far? Our only challenge now will be trying to find it in Singapore…

  • raisingdaisy says:

    That’s a really vague and unsatisfactory response from Nylabone. I’m really disappointed. Adorable photos of Maple, though! I’ll be interested to hear how the transition to raw bones goes.

  • furfilled says:

    I go back and forth about the plastic chew bones. After reading a few articles about the large traces of chemicals found in a typical person’s body, I got rid of a bunch of my plastic cooking utensils and dishes, because humans absorb and ingest trace amounts of particles and off-gassed chemicals every day. I can only imagine that it’s not healthy for dogs to ingest these same chemicals in their bones. On the other hand, being an urban dog, Toki needs to have some fun things to keep her busy, and not get too fat in the process…. I try to use our plastic bones sparingly and switch them out for a lot of natural alternatives.

    • Like you, we’ve been reducing as much of our plastic dishware as possible. With Maple, however, she really adores her plastic Nylabone. In fact, she’s sleeping with it in her arms as I’m typing! *sigh* It’s a catch-22. I think you’re doing a great job with Toki of alternating between plastic bones and natural chews—it really makes sense to do so. I hope to find a similar solution for Maple soon 😀

  • btlau says:

    i have never bought my dog one of those bones mainly becaue of its colors, I have this weird notion in my head his mouth will turned blue. I also stayed away from those dental chews in green colors that is ok for dogs to swallow, Greenies? Anyway, I let him chew on rawhide, that should be ok? What do you think? There are so many products out there for the pooch that begs some investigating into, since it’s such a lucrative market

    • Yes, the pet industry is indeed a lucrative market! As I look at Maple’s pile of toys, I see that all of them are manufactured with human-made materials—it’s almost unavoidable. Some of Maple’s toys are pretty safe, like the Kong and Huck and her blankie, but what concerns me now is her Nylabone chew toy because she’s ingesting some sort of mystery ingredient that Nylabone does not want to disclose. I’m more keen now than ever to consider natural chews, so that she isn’t always engaged with her Nylabone. Maple has never tried rawhides before. Does Pretzel enjoy it? I’m also looking into elk antlers, something that I recently learned from fellow bloggers 😀

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