Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Best dog dental chews

When keeping your dog healthy, caring for their teeth and gums can be just as important as feeding them quality food and taking them for regular vet appointments. Why? Because dogs can experience dental issues that, if left untreated, can damage other organs. Fortunately, providing Fido with dental chews in addition to their regular treats is an easy, effective way to promote healthy teeth and gums.

Dental chews for dogs are treats designed specifically to remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. They usually have a textured surface, so they can “scrub” away food and other residue from the surface of the teeth when your dog chews on them. Dental chews also have the added benefit of satisfying your furry friend’s need to chew, so he doesn’t wind up destroying items around the house.

But if you’re really concerned about your dog’s health, it’s essential to choose the right dental chews. That means deciding whether you prefer natural or synthetic chews, what size works best for your dog, and what other features will help get your pooch’s teeth as clean as possible.

If you can’t decide on the perfect dog dental chews for your pet, our shopping guide has all the information you need to make an informed shopping decision. We’ve even included some specific product recommendations to make shopping easier.

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Dental chews can help improve your dog’s breath by removing plaque and bacteria that can cause odors.

Key considerations

Natural vs. synthetic

  • Natural dog dental chews are made from natural animal products, such as cowhide or bones. They’re usually higher in nutritional content than synthetic chews, and there’s often less risk of dogs experiencing stomach upset due to allergies or sensitivities. Dogs usually enjoy the flavor a great deal as well, so you don’t have to worry about convincing your pet to chomp down on them.

    However, natural dog dental chews are prone to contamination because they contain natural animal products. Some natural chews can also cause obstructions in your dog’s digestive tract that have the potential to be life-threatening. Natural chews can also break and splinter, so you should always supervise your pet while they’re chewing on them. Some are also greasy and have a strong odor, which some owners don’t appreciate.

  • Synthetic dog dental chews, on the other hand, contain a blend of ingredients that are used to form the rigid chew shape that helps clean a dog’s teeth. They’re often supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals and are usually safer for your dog, because they aren’t as likely to cause obstructions. Synthetic dental chews are usually flavored to encourage dogs to chew them. However, some dogs don’t enjoy the taste of synthetic chews as much as natural chews, so you may have to convince your dog to chew them.


The size of dog dental chews is a significant factor to consider when you’re shopping. You don’t want to give your pet a chew that’s too small, because it can be a choking hazard. Giving your dog a dental chew that’s too large, on the other hand, can be wasteful, because he may be unable to finish it.

Many dog dental chews come in multiple sizes, so they can accommodate dogs no matter how big or small they are. Some typical sizes include tiny, which are usually suitable for dogs who weigh between 5 and 15 pounds; small, which are usually suitable for dogs who weigh between 15 and 25 pounds; regular, which are best for dogs who weigh between 25 and 50 pounds; and large, which work for dogs who weigh between 50 and 100 pounds. Some brands offer extra-large chews that are suitable for dogs who weigh over 100 pounds.

Check the package for any dog dental chew that you’re considering to see what the proper weight range is to make sure they’re appropriate for your dog.



As with any food or treat for your dog, it’s important to consider the ingredients in dental chews to make sure that they’re a good option for your dog’s diet. In particular, synthetic dental chews can contain a blend of ingredients, some of which your dog may be allergic or sensitive to. For example, you may prefer chews that are grain- or gluten-free for your dog. Choosing non-GMO or organic ingredients may also be important for your pet.

Read the ingredient list carefully for any dog dental chew you’re considering to make sure it fits your dog’s dietary needs. Avoid any treats that contain a large amount of sodium or preservatives.

VOHC seal

If you want to be sure that dental chews will be beneficial for your dog’s oral health, it helps to make sure that they’re approved by veterinarians. In particular, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) evaluates products designed to reduce plaque and tartar and only approves those that are able to cut tartar buildup by at least 10% to prevent plaque from forming. Look for the VOHC seal on any dental chews you’re considering to be certain of their efficacy.


While natural dog dental chews rely on natural flavors to make them appealing to your dog, synthetic treats are usually specifically flavored to make your dog more likely to chew them. Some common flavors you can find treats in include:

  • Beef

  • Chicken

  • Bacon

  • Peanut butter

  • Blueberry

  • Mint

Dog dental chews prices


Synthetic dog dental chews that are sized for dogs under 50 pounds are usually the most affordable. Packages that contain approximately 15 to 25 chews usually cost between $3 and $13.


Dog dental chews that are sized for dogs over 50 pounds are slightly more expensive. Packages that contain approximately 10 to 20 chews usually cost between $6 and $26.


Natural dog dental chews are usually the priciest option. Not only do they cost more in general, but they’re often sold individually or in smaller packages, which can mean they’re less of a value per chew. Depending on the size of the chews, individual natural dental chews can range $4 to $18. Packages of 5 to 10 can range from $12 to $45, while a package of 10 to 25 can range from $45 to $110.


  • Because dental chews can sometimes become a choking hazard, you shouldn’t leave your dog unsupervised while he’s eating a chew.

  • While dental chews are good for your dog’s overall health, they still have calories and can cause your pet to gain weight if he eats too many. Follow the guidelines on the chew packaging to determine how many your dog should have per day.

  • If your dog has existing teeth or gum problems, avoid giving him dental chews that are too hard. They may cause your dog’s teeth to break.

  • If your dog doesn’t finish a natural dental chew within a couple of hours, take it away from him. Bacteria can grow on natural animal products quickly that will contaminate the chew.

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Chewing on dental chews is not only good for your dog’s oral health — it can also prevent boredom that might lead to Fido chomping down on furniture or other items around the house.


Q. How often should I give my dog a dental chew?

A. Feeding guidelines for dog dental chews usually vary based on the formula and size, so you should always read the instructions on the chews’ packaging to determine how often to feed them to your dog. In most cases, though, a dog should get one chew per day to help maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Q. Should I save a partially eaten dental chew for my dog to finish later?

A. If your dog doesn’t finish a dental chew within a couple of hours, it’s best to throw it away. As your dog chews the treat, it picks up moisture from his saliva. If the chew is then left out to dry, it can harden, which may cause your dog to break a tooth if you give it back to him later. You’re better off cutting or breaking a chew in half before you give it to your dog if you want to save a portion for later use.

Q. Can dental chews replace other oral care for my dog?

A. While dental chews can be extremely beneficial for the health of your dog’s teeth and gums, they shouldn’t be the only measure you take to care for their oral health. Most veterinarians recommend brushing your dog’s teeth regularly with toothpaste designed for dogs and may also suggest having periodic professional cleanings to protect your dog’s teeth and gums.

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