Green Tip of the Week

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Last week our Green Tip of the Week was -

Instead of buying your dog those plastic toys that break easily and may contain dyes, chemicals, and preservatives that can harm your dog and our environment, give your dog natural antler horns to chew on, as seen in the attached photo.

This was on the product label but it contains some advice

with which most vets do not agree:

Antlers are actually bone but they have solid bone marrows so they last longer and are harder to break. Antlers are nutritional for your dog, containing calcium, iron, zinc. And they are environmentally friendly - spontaneously shed and naturally decompose, never hurting the animal or environment."


Retired Vet and UUCBV member, Kathy Wheeler,

noted what she and most veterinarians believe;

giving dogs elk antlers can be dangerous for your dog -

“The risk for broken teeth (may require extraction or other dental salvage procedures), gum inflammation (usually a mild issue), or accidental lodging of an antler fragment in the mouth (could obstruct breathing), esophagus (could require anesthesia +/- surgery), stomach or intestines (could require anesthesia & surgery); or penetration anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract & cause septicemia +/- death or extensive surgery & treatment.”

I talked with Kathy about what she recommends,

“Kong toys large enough for your particular dog not to swallow.  They are a very hard rubber that resists destruction.  (They last a long time.) They are available at pet stores (& on line).” 

But, I said,

"My dog does not like Kong toys

and they are not biodegradable

and I worry about the small rubber particles

that he chews off that he may swallow.

What about rawhide?"

Kathy replied,

“I don’t care for the rawhide chews as they too can become lodged after being chewed & are rather nasty after chewing.  Plastic toys are bad!  I’m afraid I have no “green” tip for a chew toy.  The next best thing is a toy unlikely to cause harm & that lasts a very long time. I hope this helps.” “...There’s the same problem with big mammoth bones as antlers.”

But, with further thought, and a discussion with my vet, we concurred on a "Green" toy a dog can chew safely!

Green Tip for a Dog Chew Toy:

Use biodegradable cotton and natural fiber products.

For instance, use cotton toys (my dog will tear through them in a few seconds)

or, better yet, use biodegradable rope such as

natural cotton rope, sisal rope, jute rope, unbleached twine, manila hemp rope

- all found on the Internet.

Take multiple long strands of biodegradable rope and

tie multiple large knots all in a row.

No harm to your dog!

No harm to the environment!

Your dog will love it!

Mine does!

Chew! Baby Chew!

by Pam Johnson

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The Rev. Christian Schmidt is our interim minister, and first became a Unitarian Universalist in this congregation where he was an active member from 2006-2009. He has since served congregations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California. His interests include his family (including four little boys he and his wife are raising), sports, and theology.