Pros and Cons of Pet Dental Care Products

PetGuide logo

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is incredibly common in dogs. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of dogs show signs of dental disease by the time they reach three years of age. As common as gum disease is in dogs, it is also extremely preventable. In this article you will learn about the top methods for maintaining your dog’s dental wellness.

Popular Types of Dog Dental Care Products

There are a variety of different methods and products designed to help pet owners maintain their dog’s dental health. Below you will find a list of the most common options as well as some pros and cons for each one:


  • Pros: Dog toothbrushes come in several different forms so you can choose the one that works best for your dog. Finger toothbrushes are easy to use and can help you complete the task quickly while regular dog toothbrushes may have a longer reach into your dog’s mouth.
  • Cons: Some dogs simply will not tolerate having their teeth brushed so you may need to work up to it, slowly desensitizing your dog to the experience.

Related: What to Expect with a Veterinary Teeth Cleaning


  • Pros: Dental sprays for dogs are not intended to be a replacement for regular brushing but they can help to reduce plaque buildup between brushings – these products may also help to fight bad breath. Most sprays can be applied directly to the dog’s teeth and gums up to twice per day.
  • Cons: The downside of this option is that it may not work to get rid of existing plaque and tartar buildup.

Water Additive

  • Pros: As an additional measure to brushing, certain water additives are supposed to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup in a dog’s mouth.
  • Cons: Unfortunately, many pet owners who use these products find that they are not particularly effective. They certainly should not be used as an alternative to brushing your dog’s teeth.

Related: Talking About Tartar Buildup On Dog’s Teeth


  • Pros: Some of the most popular dental toys for dogs are rubber toys that help to rub plaque off of your dog’s teeth. These toys are made from durable rubber so they last a long time and many of them can be filled with tasty treats like peanut butter to entice your dog to use them.
  • Cons: The downside of these toys is that some dogs will be able to chew them into smaller pieces which may pose a choking hazard. Most of these products are not meant to be edible, so if your dog accidentally swallows one it could create an intestinal obstruction.


  • Pros: Real bones come in several forms and they are popular with dogs. Meaty bones are a good option for aggressive chewers and they are less expensive than dental toys. Rawhides are simply compressed fat and they are fully digestible for dogs, not to mention tasty.
  • Cons: Rawhide can be high in calories and can pose a problem if your dog swallows it whole. Bones can be too hard for teeth, causing dental fractures, and they can splinter into sharp edges.


  • Pros: Some dental treats have been shown benefit a dog’s dental health and are fully digestible.
  • Cons: The downside of these treats is that they can be high in calories and they may be expensive if you need to buy large ones for large dogs. In some cases they have also been shown to aggravate food allergies in dogs.

Taking care of your dog’s teeth is important and should be considered an important part of your dog’s overall health regime. By implementing any of these doggy dental options, along with regular vet checkups, you can stay on top of plaque and tartar that can cause major problems.