In February, Bradley Quest, a veterinarian with S&M Nu Tec, the manufacturer of Greenies®, responded to questions from the Animal Health Bulletin.  See last month’s article, “The Grievance with Greenies.”

What is your response to claims that unmasticated pieces swell in the stomach rather than digesting?  What is your response to claims that the product is a choking hazard?  Digestibility testing with Greenies® show  them to be about 85% digestible when adequately chewed by dogs.  This is similar to most premium dog foods.  Obviously, if a dog swallows a large piece without chewing and it is larger than the diameter of the dog’s esophagus it could lodge in the esophagus.  This would be no different  than swallowing  a  large piece of meat.  The Greenies would not swell significantly either.

As far a large piece in the stomach, these would normally digest with no problem.  Again, it would take longer for a large piece to digest as opposed to small chewed up pieces.  It is simply a function of surface area of treat to contact digestive fluids and stomach mucosa.  The vast majority of dogs have no problem even if they swallow a large piece.  Is it possible for a dog to have a digestive problem if  it swallows a whole treat without chewing?  It is unlikely but possible just like with the large piece of meat, vegetable, or even fruit.

Can you compare the safety record of Greenies® to the safety record of other chewables such as Nylabone and rawhide? I can not speak about safety issues with other products but I can tell you that millions of Greenies®  are enjoyed every week by dogs with absolutely no problems.  Greenies® are the first dog treat in the world to have the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s Seal of Acceptance for plaque and tartar reduction.  No other manufacturer can say this.

Why should people give their pets chewable treats?  The best thing that pet owners can do at home is to brush their pet’s teeth.  Unfortunately, compliance with this is very low.  Professional cleaning at the vet’s office is good, but at most pet owner’s do that once a year if that often.  Since periodontal disease in pets is the number one underdiagnosed problem in veterinary medicine today, we need to address daily oral health maintenance with our pets to help them live long healthy lives.  That is how we position Greenies.  We have the dental testing to show that when used as labeled they will help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.  We also have the Lil Bits treats which are small bite sized pieces of the same ingredients and texture as Greenies but in small pieces.  We recommend them for dogs less than 6 months old, toy breeds less than 5 pounds, and dogs with a tendency to gulp food or treats.  We have excellent dental tests that show they also help reduce plaque and tartar.

Thank you to S&M Nu Tec / Greenies® for a thoughtful, expert response to the concerns of some of our clients.

On February 26, Greenies® company notified Healing Springs that S&M NuTec has launched a website dedicated to health concerns surrounding the product: www.thetruthaboutgreenies.com

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