Are Greenies Digestible? (or deadly)

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If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably heard of Greenies, a treat that takes care of your dog’s dental health. You’ve also most likely heard about the controversy around Greenies, most notably the digestive problems surrounding this dental health product. So what is the truth around this controversy? Are Greenies digestible or indigestible?

So, are Greenies digestible? Yes. According to the manufacturer, Greenies are made entirely out of digestible ingredients. Consisting of wheat flour, various minerals, vitamin supplements, and food coloring, on paper, its chemical composition shouldn’t cause any problems.

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  • Contains one (1) 36 oz. 36-count pack of GREENIES Original Regular Size Natural Dental Dog Treats; Natural Dog Treats Plus Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients

When it comes to the health of your beloved pet, however, theoretical confirmations are never enough. So what are the potential dangers of this chew product? Why are some people claiming that Greenies are causing digestive issues while others are praising it for how effective it is?

Dangers of Greenies

1. Chewiness

Greenies differentiates itself from other dental products available in the market with their unique selling point: the soft and chewy treat.

While other dental products scrape off plaques and other residues stuck in your dog’s teeth using a very hard, brittle surface, Greenies does so using soft materials, protecting your dog’s gums as well as its teeth. However, it turns out that the factor that differentiates Greenies from other products is, in fact, what causes the risk of digestive problems.

If a treat is too chewy, the dog would have to spend more time to break the food down into smaller pieces before swallowing it. Unfortunately, most dogs do not realize how important it is to swallow after they chew, as most of them gulp the food down.

Though this is okay for some dog foods that are digested and passes smoothly throughout the dog’s digestive system, Greenies is not like the soup or stew that is safe for fast-eaters. Therefore, hastily swallowing the treat, of course, might cause digestive problems even for dogs that usually never experience them.

However, you must realize that this isn’t because Greenies is not a safe product to consume. It is the way your dog eats the product that makes the product, at times, a safety hazard!

2. Portion Control

Greenies most likely sees the potential risks of their products, hence the different sizes of their products. They offer four different sizes depending on the size of your dog:

Greenies sizing chart

Though the measurements wouldn’t be necessarily perfect, the table on their website should allow you to determine the right portions for your dog.

Portion control on this product is especially important for both large dogs and small dogs. Just because a dog is large doesn’t mean that it’s safe from the choking hazards of a smaller Greenies product!

Larger dogs tend to have larger appetites and, therefore, a tendency to eat too much and too quickly. Now, the Petite Greenies product is definitely very small, but it still isn’t small enough for your large dog, say a Golden Retriever, to gulp it down after chewing on it a couple of times.

Some might see the opportunity of purchasing a large product for your small dog an economical consumer tactic, but this also puts your dog’s health at risk! Though small dogs have small jaws and small mouths, the chance of them biting off a piece that is small enough for their bite but too large for their throats is still very high.

On the other hand, if you do end up purchasing the right size Greenies for your dog, not only will it fill your dog, it will also minimize the risks of your dog experiencing digestive problems. This is because this version will be chewy enough to perform the functions of a dental product, but it will also break apart to accommodate your dog’s jaws strength and throat diameter!

To sum it up, the potential risks of Greenies are digestive problems and choking. So what should you do in case such accidents end up happening?

What to do in the Case of:

1. Choking

It’s very easy for your dog to start choking on Greenies if you do not ration its portions or if your dog doesn’t chew enough before it swallows. If your dog is choking, make sure to immediately follow these steps:

  1. If your dog is a small dog (meaning it can be lifted upside down with relative ease), hold your dog by its thighs and try to shake out the lodged object in your dog’s throat. If this doesn’t work, move on to the next step: the Heimlich Maneuver.
  2. In order to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog, hold up your dog, and locate the soft stomach area. This should be a little lower from your dog’s chest. After finding the “sweet spot”, you should push up and squeeze.
  3. In the meantime, make sure to call an ambulance in case the lodged object doesn’t leave your dog’s system. It’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately, even after you think you’ve achieved success!

2. Intestinal Blockage

Fortunately, time is not as much of an essence for an intestinal blockage. Though it’s usually not life-threatening, it’s still painful for your dog. Here’s what you should do in case your dog faces intestinal blockage problems:

First, observe.

Sometimes, if your dog is having problems defecating, it might be nothing more than constipation. If your dog throws up once and is fine, it might be an upset stomach and you would have to control its diet a bit.

However, if these symptoms continue, you should first make sure that your dog eats food/treats that are easily digestible. We do not recommend that you provide your dog with Greenies during this phase as they’re not the easiest to digest for ill dogs.

If prolonged despite the changes made in diet, you should go to a vet. We recommend that you give around 2 to 3 days to see if your dog is struggling. However, if you do not want to risk your dog’s health, going to a vet is always an option!

Your Responsibilities as a Dog Owner

Greenies, we found, are like every other dog products:

The owner must be responsible to ensure that their dogs do not engage themselves in behaviors that might lead to digestive problems while eating the dental health treat!

Here are a few things that you must do to make sure your dog stays safe:

1. Ration

Make sure to look over the Greenies website for more information on which version your dog should be treated with. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating:

  • For small dogs, the petite-size is recommended.
  • For larger dogs, there are large-sized products.

Rationing well for your dogs should prevent choking or intestinal blockage as a result of Greenies products!

2. Supervise

The second part of your responsibility is, of course, supervising.This doesn’t necessarily prevent your dog from choking, but you will be able to stop it when it is hastily chewing on the product. Moreover, you would be there in the case where your dog might need the Heimlich maneuver.

Related Questions

How do I know if my dog is choking?

If your dog is choking, you can tell by their behaviors. Lots of drooling, pawing at the mouth (as if they’re trying to remove something from their throat with their paws), and gagging/choking sounds are notable signs.

What types of Greenies sizes are available?

There are petite, small, medium, and large sizes available for different breeds. Check out their website for feeding guidelines.

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