Good oral hygiene is central to the overall health in your dog. A lack of proper dental care can lead to problems with teeth and gums that spread to the rest of the body, resulting in painful, costly and potentially fatal consequences.
Fortunately, dog dental chews are an easy, effective way to aid in teeth and gum care. The best dental treats, like these Greenies Original Dental Dog Treats, help clean teeth while also freshening breath.
Cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums goes beyond simply improving breath. Just like humans, poor oral care can lead to a number of ailments, including chipped, rotting or broken teeth as well as sore and bleeding gums.
Bacteria residing in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body via the bloodstream, disrupting other organs and leading to serious and potentially deadly illnesses. At this point, solutions are likely costly and invasive, sometimes requiring surgery. Older dogs in particular may not be suited for such intense procedures.
It’s important to prevent such situations through regular teeth cleaning and maintenance.
Dental chews are a type of dental supplement designed to maintain and improve oral health. They do this through the continuous chewing action that helps break up plaque from a dog's teeth. Chews are made to take a while to break apart to increase effectiveness, brushing up against teeth and gums to disturb the surface.
There are two types of dog dental chews: natural and synthetic.
Both natural and synthetic dog chews may come in flavors to increase your dog’s interest or improve their breath. For example, bacon or peanut butter chews are more attractive to your dog, and they will likely associate the chew as a reward. Other flavors, such as mint, will improve breath.
Some chews are soft and easy to break down while others, such as bully sticks, are harder and require more intensive chewing. Consider your dog’s age and the current quality of their teeth and gums. For older dogs or those with sensitivity, you should opt for softer chews to avoid hurting their mouths. Younger and stronger dogs will be well served by more challenging and engaging chews.
The size of the chew should match the size of the dog in order to be effective. A chew that’s too small may be quickly eaten and swallowed, resulting in no brushing against the teeth. A chew that’s too large, however, may be harder to enjoy could cause obstructions if not fully broken down before consumed.
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) tests products for their efficacy. A VOHC seal on a dental chew affirms it reduces tartar buildup by at least 10%.
Quality dental chews cost $15-$30 depending on the size and number included.
A. Plaque is what will first appear on teeth. Plaque is characterized by a yellow film; while it's unattractive, it can be removed by disturbing it through brushing. However, if plaque sits for too long, it can build into tartar, which is darker in color and more difficult to remove. Tartar may be on the teeth but it can also form below the gum line and lead to serious health problems.
A. While dental chews are useful in an oral hygiene regimen, they should not be the only means to keep your dog’s mouth and gums healthy. Dental chews should be paired with daily brushing. Dog-specific toothpaste helps keep teeth healthy; while some dogs won’t like brushing at first, they can grow accustomed to it by practicing regularly and rewarding them afterwards. Additional supplements such as pills, powders or liquids may also be worth investing in.
What you need to know: These popular and tasty treats clean teeth while improving breath.
What you’ll love: This brand is beloved by owners and dogs alike, as these soft, toothbrush-shaped treats freshen breath and fight plaque. Greenies are offered in different sizes and are suitable for dogs of all ages and lifestyles.
What you should consider: With one recommended per day, you’ll go through these pricey treats quickly.
What you need to know: These flavorful and aromatic treats disturb plaque while freshening breath in strong adult dogs.
What you’ll love: The hard, textured treats in this value bag disrupt plaque and clean to the gum line. They are offered in bacon, chicken or beef flavors and contain no added sugars or fillers.
What you should consider: The chews are designed for large, adult dogs.
What you need to know: These rawhides feature a patented Dual Enzyme System to improve effectiveness at reducing plaque and improving breath.
What you’ll love: These hard chews are coated with chlorhexidine to reduce plaque and even tartar. A rigid texture helps clean teeth and prevent dogs from breaking down the treat too quickly. Different sizes are available to match your dog’s needs.
What you should consider: These treats are expensive and not suitable for dogs with weak teeth.
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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.