The Kneecap Rule!

We have had to be very cautious with giving Ray chew toys because not only does he destroy them, but he is also a “gulper” (he does not chew). We had an incident with a “heavy duty” animal bone which he proceeded to break into sharp fragments! We took it away from him before he attempted to swallow a piece!

He also had a nylon bone once but, after we realized that the rough edges that he was creating were lacerating his gums, we took that away from him.

On talking to his vet, she gave us the kneecap rule for dog toys! Take a toy and hit your kneecap with it! If it hurts, then it is too hard to give to your dog. We thought that was probably just a piece of personal advice/preference but then this information, copied from an article** (link at end of Post),  came to our attention.

“The fractured tooth is the third most common reason for dogs to be presented to our dentistry and oral surgery practice. When a dog presents with a fractured tooth, I ask owners what the pet has been chewing. Common culprits include actual bones, nylon bones, antlers, cow hooves, rocks and ice cubes.

Fraser Hale, a veterinary dentist in Canada, uses the kneecap rule. He tells pet owners that if a toy or treat looks like something they would not want to get hit in the kneecap with, they should avoid giving it to their dog. Words to live by.”

It would appear that the “kneecap rule” is more common than we initially thought!


31 thoughts on “The Kneecap Rule!

  1. Great article. I have been debating about what to get for Lucy to chew and, separately, to play with. This plus another article recently posted has made me even more cautious. She only has one to, a furry hedgehog partially wrapped in heavy duty rope, and she expresses no interest in it. Maybe I will try carrots and rutabaga and things like that.

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    • Hi Michael. Because of his aggressive approach to chew toys, he does not have any per se. We will fill his giant Kong with treats sometimes to slow him down when eating his meal, but his toys are all soft. You may recall that he loves Rutabaga, which is part of his breakfast routine. That gives him lots of jaw exercise and helps to keep his teeth healthy. He has occasions when he’ll suddenly love playing with tennis balls but, of course, they are relatively soft. Once they start disintegrating, they are disposed of! He likes certain frisbees and, again, once they start breaking up they are removed. Small branches etc are discouraged as much as we can due to their potential for damage, but he’ll find one periodically and then we follow him around! Nothing’s perfect! It is worth mentioning that Ray has never been a great “play for the sake of play” dog, in fact we initially wondered whether he knew how to play! He has improved since then, but he is still not demanding for things to keep him entertained.

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      • You know your Ray and he appreciates, in his own way, your great care and houghtful handling .

        Kali is also not big on play but Kloe forces her often and more lately Kali has actually initiated the play a few times. So I guess Kloe is keeping my old lady (almost 8) young. Kali looked like a pup this past weekend when we got about 8 inches of snow (your snow? 😉 ) romping and rolling around when we went out for a walk on our property.

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  2. O…K…………. I have never heard of this rule either until your post. Maggie has never been a chewer, be it toys, food, bones or anything she’s not supposed to have like shoes or furniture. She like her biscuits though and we buy her the dental stick thingies but she’ll break them into little pieces first. Next time I’m in the pet shop, I’ll pay more attention to people buying pet toys!

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    • We have come across a number of unsuitable “toys” in “goodie bags” handed out at special events. Anybody who uses a dog supervising service (doggy daycare per se) should really be alert to what toys their dog is going to have access to!

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    • Hi Kim – We thought it amusing at first but, the more we thought about it, the more it made perfect sense. That simple test can potentially save dog owners a lot of money from dental bills but, more importantly, could save their dog’s life!

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  3. I’ve not heard of this rule before, but it seems a good one. 🙂
    Having said that, I wouldn’t want to be hit on the knee caps even with a washing up sponge, as I have gammy knees!
    Also, very good idea to take toys away from Ray before he swallows them. My sister’s border collie somehow managed to chew a piece off one of its toys and ingest it. The dog was really sick for a few days before managing to pass it – and only then did they realise what had been wrong with her.

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