The Must-Know Facts About the Dangers of Cage Biting
February is National Pet Dental Health Month by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dogs biting on crate bars can cause major dental problems. Pet parents don't realize until it is too late and oral surgery becomes necessary.
I was one of those pet parents.
Why Is My Dog Biting on the Crate?
I crate trained my youngest Siberian Husky, Cairo, since the day he came home at the too young age of 6 weeks. Unfortunately, I still had problems with him biting on the bars of the crate.
Here are some reasons your dog may be biting on the bars of his or her crate:
- Your puppy is teething
- Your dog is afraid of the crate
- Your dog has separation anxiety
- Your dog is being left in the crate too long
- Your dog needs more exercise
How Do I Stop or Prevent My Dog from Chewing on the Crate?
Give them an appropriate toy to chew or occupy them while they are in the crate. A treat stuffed kong is durable, safe and fun for puppies to chew on ultimately deferring their attention from the crate bars.
If you have adopted a dog that is afraid of the crate, it is possible that he had a negative experience in the past that he is associating with the crate. Thankfully there is a chance this can be changed with teaching a new, positive association.
If you think your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, a crate may not be the best place for containment. Many dogs will hurt themselves just to get out of the crate. You should seek help from a professional like an animal behaviorist or trainer.
Crate Time Length
Most pet professionals will recommend that you not leave your dog in the crate for longer than 8 hours. If you work and 8 hour day this seems almost impossible to manage. Hire a dog walker to come in the middle of the day to give your dog a break from the crate. Another solution is to take your dog to daycare while you are at work.
Don't ignore your dog when he bites on the crate bars. He is trying to tell you something.
How Does It Affect My Dog's Teeth?
Crate bar chewing for puppies and adult dogs over long periods of time will cause their teeth to become worn down. This damages the tooth, which may cause it to die and eventually need to be removed.
We were getting Cairo's heartworm test and the veterinarian noticed his tooth. She asked if he used to bite on crate bars. She said she could tell and the tooth may eventually need to be removed. She mentioned that if the tooth turned white in color, it is no longer alive.
The American Veterinary Dental Society mentions:
"If the wear occurs slowly, the tooth will respond by laying down extra tooth structure (dentin) in response to the tooth loss to protect the pulp. This is similar to the way that our teeth respond to deep cavities."
It is important for pet parents to check your pet's mouth monthly for oral abnormalities.
Look for the following in your home examination:
- Red, brown or black spots in the middle of the tooth
- Parts of the tooth chipped
- Yellow or brown accumulation on the tooth surface
- Loose teeth
- An abnormally bad breath odor
- Bloody Saliva
If you find any of the above during your home examination, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. Many pet parents do not realize how severe pet oral problems can become. If you ignore the signs, infection and pain can develop and spread through the rest of their body. Your pet cannot simply raise their paw and tell you enough is enough
How Do Veterinarians Treat Worn Teeth?
Your dogs oral examination will begin with a visual assessment of their face, mouth and each tooth. Your veterinarian will recommend a dental radiograph to examine and diagnose the internal anatomy of the teeth, roots and done that surrounds the teeth. Intra-oral dental radiographs require anesthesia or sedation because of the small films and sensors that have to be place in the dogs mouth.
After your dog receives his dental radiograph, the veterinarian will be able to determine whether the worn teeth are vital(alive) or non-vital(dead). The non-vital teeth must be treated by root canal therapy. Vital teeth may require performing root canal or crown therapy.
How did you and your pet deal with oral health issues? Share your experience.
Faith Ellerbe, Writer & Founder of The Live.Wag.BARK! Foundation
I am Faith Ellerbe, The Frugal Fur Mom and author of Live.Wag.BARK! I consider myself frugal because I am always looking for ways to save money. I started this habit after college when I became completely independent and realized how expensive life can be for a new graduate. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. I have skills and knowledge in drug metabolism and biological and chemical analysis. I'm able to apply these skills in caring for my pack because I can analyze ingredients in food/treats, grooming supplies, cleaning supplies, etc, and decide whether or not a product meets the health standards I have chosen for my pack. I have always been an animal lover! I am enjoying life as a dog mom with my fur babies Harmony, Nakita, Reagan and Cairo! We are making our paw print through the Live.Wag.BARK! Foundation by partnering with non and for profit animal organizations to educate people in low-income communities about responsible pet ownership.