“ Manufacturer: Ostripet / Type: Health - Dental Chews „
Every dog owner knows only too well how much their pet pooches love to chew, especially at the puppy stage when they will gleefully scamper off in search for items to get their needle-sharp teeth into - anything from slippers to remote controls, they only become more selective when older.
Try offering an older dog the choice between your remote control and a doggy chew or bone. Odds on, it will choose the chew, unless, of course he is in play mode and thinks the remote is a squeaky toy.
There are many different items on the market designed to satisfy the tiniest and strongest of jaws. Rawhide chews in all shapes and sizes, solid rubber toys or nylon chews, even bones, but some are fraught with problems.
For example; although rawhides are excellent for keeping dog's jaws exercised and helps keep teeth clean and tarter free, unfortunately their saliva gelatinises the hide, making it easier for them to gnaw off large chunks from the main stem.
There have been reported incidents of dogs choking because of trying to swallow large pieces of rawhide.
One of my dogs almost became one of those statistics, fortunately I was around to prevent it.
Another incident worth a mention was when Moses was a puppy, I bought him a small stick hide, thinking it was small enough not to be harmful; he bit off a smallish piece and swallowed it whole, however, it caused him a great deal of pain as it travelled through his intestines, so much so that he went into shock.
Rawhides, unlike foodstuffs, do not dissolve or emulsify. After this episode, I always held onto the hide as they chewed and cut away any gelatinised chunks before he could swallow them. Strangely enough, it did not spoil his enjoyment of the chew.
Large shank or knucklebones, are also good for dogs teeth, if uncooked, but cooked bones tend to splinter; sharp shards can do a tremendous amount of damage to an animals mouth, throat and intestines.
Both Moses and Mollie thoroughly enjoy gnawing away at shank bones, yet I have never felt confident about leaving them alone with rawhides or bones, or allowing them to consume even the tiniest fragments of nylon from synthetic dog chews.
I was constantly on the lookout for a natural product for them to chew to help keep their teeth and jaws healthy; they would enjoy and most importantly, was SAFE in every respect.
On a visit to my local veterinary to pick up some anti-flea treatments, I caught sight of a package containing a long, curly chew called Ostrich Twister. At first glance I thought a child had left their sweets on the counter, but on closer inspection, discovered it was for our canine friends. There was no information on the packaging other than it was 'splinter free,' and good for dog's teeth and gums - no different to rawhides, was my first thought.
Had I asked the price of the Ostrich Twister first, it probably would still be decorating the counter, but after being assured that this treat was MUCH safer than rawhide chews; was doggy-delicious and very popular, I said I would take one for my two to try.
Then came the news that would make even the most stalwart flinch; each Ostrich Twister cost a whopping £2.86. - Did you flinch?
I, after quickly reminding myself that my dogs give me far more than any amount of money could possibly buy, gulped and hastily pocketed my purchase, hoping Mollie and Moses enjoyment would match the cost.
~~~~The Ostrich Twister~~~~
When I removed the Ostrich twister from its packaging, both dogs sat at my feet, wagging their tails and salivating at the prospect of goodies to eat coming their way; knowing for sure, it was a treat for them - How? - I do not know, for there was no aroma escaping from the wrapper to give the game away.
The thickness of the twister was about 1.5cm and constructed using three long, bright orange strands of ostrich tendons, platted together to form a 10 inch long treat, with a similar consistency to that of a rawhide chew.
The tendons were actually white, as one would expect, but coloured with a substance, which I assumed and hoped was a natural colourant.
I could not detect any meaty smell, but then my olfactories could never compete with our four-legged friend's senses.
~~~~The Doggy Test~~~~
The chew was far too long for Mollie (my Yorkie), so I sawed off, with a little difficulty, a nine centimeter chunk for her, leaving Moses with the remaining sixteen, or so.
Mollie sniffed the whole length of her piece before accepting it from my hand, whilst Moses got stuck in, no messing, no preliminary checks to see if it met with his approval.
Off they went to their respective areas and chewed away, whilst I watched on, ready to snatch it away from them at the slightest sign of any splintering or too large a chunk being hewn from the main stem.
Oh ye of little faith, I hear you say:-)
Moses managed to consume his piece within the hour, as he chewed, only tiny string-like pieces came away, so I knew it was safe and would not cause any digestive troubles.
Mollie, on the other hand, was still gnawing hers for quite a while after Moses had finished his. Having gotten through about one third of her portion of the twister, she stopped to have a drink of water and decided to leave the rest for later.
Moses, however had other ideas. Waste-not-want-not, is his motto, and he demolished the remainder of Mollies treat for her.
The Ostrich Twisters are far too expensive at £2.86 each, to buy them as regular treats. I went on-line and found several suppliers, one of which was offering them at £1.99 each, but with postage and packaging at £3.60, also made the price prohibitive (for me) unless I ordered over £30 worth of goods.
VetsUK were selling them in packs of ten for £20.79, postage and packaging free (if by Royal Mail) extra for other couriers.
This worked out to be £2.08 per treat, a saving of £8.00 on ten.
I haven't seen Ostrich Twisters in any of our local pets shops yet, but no doubt they will be available in the larger pet stores and veterinary surgeries.
I very much like the fact that my dogs thoroughly enjoyed their Ostrich Twister; it acts like dental floss, helps to prevent bad breath, does not splinter and does not gelatinise.
I know, with out a shadow of doubt, that I can safely leave them alone whilst they enjoy their treat in peace, without me faffing around half expecting them to choke or spike themselves.
I immediately ordered, from VetsUK, a pack of ten, which arrived the following day.
As much as I adore my dogs, they will not be getting these on a daily basis, but maybe once a week or fortnight will keep them happy, I am sure. Meantime they can continue enjoying their uncooked shank bones, whilst I watch.
November 2011: It has come to my attention that these lovely, but expensive treats are not so easily obtainable any more, perhaps they are pricing themselves out of the market, which is such a shame for they are loved by my two dogs and are the safest chew on the market.
Unfortunately there do not appear to be many places where these can be purchased these days. I have yet to find anything as good, but I will keep trying.
2013: Unfortunately I cannot find them anywhere now.