Greenies are (now) safe to give your dog!

Years ago, there was a big hubbub about Greenies, the dental health chews that people give their dogs to help clean their teeth. Some dogs would apparently not follow the instructions, and rather than chew them, would simply swallow them whole or nearly whole. So much for helping their teeth!

Apparently those suckers did NOT dissolve in a dog’s digestive tract.

At all!

Many dogs needed surgical removal of the Greenies from their intestines. Owner were not pleased. I doubt the dogs were enjoying it much either.

So Greenies responded with a new formula that came out a few years ago. It is a bendier chew, but still offers the chewing experience needed to help your dog’s teeth and gums. But if your dog decides to swallow it whole, it will dissolve easily by letting the digestive juices do their job, no surgery needed.

Photo courtesy of the Greenies website

Photo courtesy of the Greenies website

I had a personal experience with the new formulation of Greenies a couple years ago that proved these suckers do, in fact, dissolve!

A tiny, 4 lb dog swallowed his big brother’s Greenie. It didn’t even make it to the stomach! Instead, it sat in the esophagus, right above the stomach, which I am sure was very uncomfortable for the dog. I could see on x-ray the clump of Greenie stretching the esophagus to 3 times its size! I immediately told the owner to take the dog to a specialist up the road from where I was practicing. They had an endoscope, and could put the dog under anesthesia, reach down his throat, and pull out the Greenie. Easy peasy, right? The owner agreed that sounded like the best plan.

Well, when you send people to a specialist, they don’t always go.

Or tell you.

The people chose to not go, for whatever reason (the dog was miserable), and the dog did not have the procedure. I called them a couple days later (not knowing they never went to where I sent them) to see how the dog was doing. Apparently, over the course of 3 days, the Greenie dissolved, even in the esophagus, which lacks significant digestive juices!

I was less than thrilled the dog had to suffer that long (and no one told us!). But I was very impressed at the dissolving ability of the new formulation of Greenies!

Here’s the article summarizing the research that University of Illinois performed on digestability.

What are other safe and beneficial products to clean your dog’s teeth? Here’s how to tell the helpful from the hype!

Other pet myths and rumors:

Canned cat food will not make your cat obese – actually the opposite!

Coconut oil does not have magic powers. Sorry.

Is it safe to put ice in your dog’s water? YES!

Poinsettia plants will NOT kill your cat dead – although she will vomit.

Baby bunnies (and other wildlife) will not be abandoned after you put them back in the nest, so please do!

You are not the alpha dog – the myth of dominance

Vitamin and mineral supplements can do more harm than good

You CAN share turkey with your pet on Thanksgiving! Here’s how


  1. Greenies are *still* unsafe for dogs! I tried to send this letter to their company and the form wouldn’t allow it, saying it had “profanity.” As you can see there is no profanity in the letter. Not only do they endanger dogs, but they are unwilling to hear their customers complaints.

    I am aware that you once changed your formula, because your items were unsafe for dogs. Your chew items are *still* unsafe and causing damage to canines!! I started giving my Goldendoodle your chew brushes when she was finished with puppyhood. Before using your items, her appetite was fine. She was always hungry for her meals and ate with no trouble at all. When I started using your items, her appetite started to drop and suddenly she would not eat a complete meal. Her food would sit in her dish for hours and sometimes she would only eat one meal a day. I didn’t know about the issues with your items at that time, so I tried changing her food three times, to two different brands and three different kinds of food. Nothing helped. My dog was vomiting more frequently, had lower energy and just didn’t seem to feel well from time to time. Then I encountered a dog trainer with over 20 years of experience. She brought up your company’s name before I did, telling me you had to change your formula once, but that these items are STILL completely unsafe for dogs, balling indigestible material up in their systems. She told me to take my dog off of your items immediately. I did and as soon as my dog stopped eating your items, her appetite returned completely to normal. Now she can’t wait to eat her meals and even asks for an extra scoop of food from time to time. A few months after that, I had a conversation with a friend whose dog was sick with a liver ailment. The vet told my friend the daily chew treats from your company were causing the problem.
    Do you realize what your company is doing?! You’ve put your items under the name of “Greenies” -which makes them sound all natural and completely safe. I believe you are willingly injuring animals and question if your formula was ever actually changed, and obviously, even if it was, you have let down the entire public. Who knows how many other dogs are struggling daily from ailments blocking their systems due to your company. I don’t believe you care about animals. I plan to write a letter to PETA and other Animal Rights Organizations informing them that your company is endangering canines.
    My dog Darby survived a car accident that completely broke her spine, requiring a steel rod surgically installed along her entire back. The last thing she or any other dog needs or deserves, are further health complications and a shortened life. I am completely disgusted and ashamed of your company and will continue to contact organizations until this issue is solved. Please stop producing your toxic items! (I am keeping a copy of this letter and will include it in my letters and notifications to animal rights orgs.)

  2. I can also attest to the new greenies still being unsafe. My dog was eating these new greenies for a while and would vomit nightly and had a string of other intestinal problems that the vets apparently could not explain to me. They changed her diet and gave her antibiotics at least three times. Eventually, I read these reviews about the old greenies (not knowing they were about the old formula) and quit giving them to her. She has not had intestinal issues since.
    She did, however, absolutely love the greenies treats. I mean she went ravenous for them. I wonder if they have some sort of addictive chemical in them?
    Do not trust these treats, just brush your dogs teeth. It really isn’t all that difficult.

    • When did your dog have problems? Recently? My lab is suffering now due to a Greenie not passing through. What did vets do to get your dog to pass it? I am very worried. Thank you for any advisement.

      • She didn’t have intestinal blockage, just an inexplicably upset stomach. She was given a probiotic powder, antibiotics, nausea/vomiting meds and pain killers. (Three or so separate incidents) Her vet told me perhaps she had gotten into some “human food”, but this is impossible. This was some time in July and since quitting the greenies treats she hasn’t had ANY stomach issues whatsoever. Sorry about your dog, I hope he/she recovers.

  3. My lab ate a greenie quickly and suffered intestinal blockage in 2017. It never broke down completely after several days. Terrible! I will NEVER buy these again. Be aware!

  4. My small female Maltese mixed breed (weighs about 8 or 9 pounds) had bladder stones and after surgery was put on a urinary diet and her vet says she can no longer have her greenies.
    Have you as product she can use?

  5. I have been giving these to my 9 month old pug, he is a fiend for them (and food in general). He would run off to a different room and come back less than 5 minutes later having finished it. I’ve always wondering how he eats them so fast until now! I just watched him gum it up a bit and then swallowed it WHOLE. He’s probably swallowed 5 or 6 or more whole at this point and he’s fine. Now that I’ve seen this happen though I definitely won’t be letting him eat them like that again. They make good Kong stuffers when you break them in half, which is super easy to do because they are so bendy. I think if you get any hard ones though you should throw them away.

  6. I just came back from the vet, my 10 year old greyhound threw up and is not well,, Blood work and full set of xrays shows nothing but alot of gas, I started giving her greenies last week,,Twice a day, I think Im done giving them to her, She is so sick and uncomfortable. This has been the only change her diet. She does chew them fast, but she chews them, $400 vet bill

  7. I also gave our two dogs the greenies. Our chihuahua sounded like her treachea was collapsing. He stopped being able to run around the room without great difficulty breathing. He is 11. He almost completely stopped eating. He would go all day and not eat. Our bichon/cavalier was also having breathing difficulties. She is 16 and we thought it was nearing the end because her breathing became really hoarse. It never dawned on us that they were both experiencing the same problem. They both would swallow the greenie whole, especially the older dog. This makes me so angry as neither of these dogs have any medical conditions. They only eat home cooked food. No store bought food.

    Louise, September 12, 2017, to you and all owners of smaller dogs, you need to understand how bad city water is for your pets bladders. Our bichon/cavalier had 6 different stones in her 7 1/2 yrs ago. The 2nd vet we saw said no city water just distilled water. She has had only it now and is doing fine. The surgeon who did her surgery never told us to take her off of the city water. Made me furious. It originally only took 1 1/2 yrs of city water to get her the 6 different stones. Our master plumber told us we would be very wise to stay off of the city water as it is known to cause stones in humans. We live within 1/2 mile of a water reclamation plant which dumps all the leftover crap into our river here in Eastvale, Ca. Our Chino water supply is rated one of the highest contaminants in the USA. We have a lot of farm land around us. I threw all the greenies away and will never buy them again nor would I recommend them. Hopefully my information will get passed along to other pet owners. GoodHealth to all our animals we love. Take care.

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