Best Dog Dental Chews
Dog dental chews are not just a tasty treat or an engaging toy, but they also make sure that their oral hygiene is up to standard. Read on to find out how you can use dental chews to keep your pet’s teeth sparkly white and their breath odor-free!
Why is oral hygiene important for dogs?
Keeping those canines pearly white might not sound like it’s a crucial part of caring for your pet’s health, but dental hygiene is actually one of the more important things you need to think about as a pawrent. As they say, the health can largely depend on the state of your pet’s chompers – and caring for them can prevent a lot of other issues down the road. While many pet parents tend to overlook their duties in the canine oral hygiene arena – as not all pooches are that cooperative when it comes to cleaning their teeth – it doesn’t change the fact that neglecting the state of your pet’s teeth and mouth can lead to serious issues down the road. Poor dental hygiene will eventually lead to tooth decay and loss, inflamed and sore gums, bad breath, and difficulties with eating food. And from there, digestion problems are dangerously too close. In fact, if the situation is alarming enough and your pet develops a gum infection, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause serious cardiac problems. Having in mind that all of this can be completely avoided or at least postponed and reduced to minimal damage, it is safe to say that it pays off to take preventative measures. And what better way to make sure that your dog’s teeth stay healthy and free of plaque than with regular brushing and thorough cleaning?
Why do I need dental chews for my dog?
Dog’s teeth have to be brushed regularly, at least two or three times a week. Every pupper has that nasty desire to chomp on every other thing under the sun – whether it is clean or not doesn’t really matter to the dog. And that leads to an increased need for cleaning. Needless to say, our pets are rarely enthusiastic about this task and brushing often becomes an ordeal for both the owner and the dog. Luckily, there is a way to stretch the time in between brushing sessions a bit – by giving your pet dog dental chews. While dog dental chews are not a complete substitute for teeth brushing, they can significantly help improve and maintain your pet’s oral health. Dog dental chews help remove tartar and plaque, keep teeth clean and free of bacteria, and will improve your pet’s bad breath (if it was caused by poor dental hygiene). Not to mention that, unlike teeth brushing, dog dental chews are not something that pets try to avoid at all costs: no pooch says no to a yummy treat or a fun chewable toy. That’s the beauty of dog dental chews – your pet will be over the moon when he’s gnawing away, and you’ll know that their oral health is being improved at the same time. It’s a proper little trick up every pet owner’s sleeve!
In addition to being available in edible and inedible form, dog dental chews come in all kinds of variations, from those that are designed for a specific age or size to those that offer additional perks in addition to their oral health benefits. With all those choices available, it can be hard figuring out which dental chew toys or treats are the best option for your pet’s needs. To help you pick one (or few!), we’ve selected the best dog dental chews on the market- there’s a match for every canine.
1. Editor’s Choice: Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogs
To reduce tartar and plaque on your pet’s teeth and maintain optimal oral health, these dog dental chews rely on both texture and the power of enzymes. The abrasiveness of these treats is perfect for mechanical removal of existing layers of plaque, whereas the enzymes help break down the sugars that feed the bacteria in the mouth – reducing the risk of infections and dental diseases. These treats are approved by leading vets and are made from beef rawhides and have no artificial colors added. The treats are poultry flavored and come in a range of sizes to suit every pooch from extra small to large. And equally important is their abrasiveness: this texture is crucial for removing that pesky buildup of plaque!
2. Runner Up: Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews
From preventing plaque and tartar to eliminating bad breath, these potent dental chews will help ensure your pet’s teeth stay sparkly white and healthy. The secret is in the ingredient called delmopinol, which forms a protective barrier over teeth to stop bacteria that causes bad breath and dental issues. To boot, the chewiness of these treats mechanically helps remove tartar and plaque buildup from teeth, and leaves them looking as clean as if you’ve just brushed your pet’s teeth. The combination of poultry flavor and vanilla aroma might sound weird to us, but pooches seem to love it, so it won’t be hard to motivate your pooch to gnaw on this little treat! These dental hygiene chews are formulated for dogs of 6 months of age or older, and medium-size breeds.
3. Best for Aggressive Chewers: Nylabone DuraChew Double Action Chew Bacon Flavor Dog Toy
Nylabone dental toys are famed for their superior design and unparalleled quality and this bacon flavored bone toy is no different. The bacon flavor will entice your pooch to play even if he’s not keen on chew toys, and while he’s chewing, the numerous small bristle-like nubs will massage his gums and clean his teeth. Available in sizes that suit the needs of small, medium, and large breed dogs, this toy is recommended for aggressive chewers as it is built to last (even if your dog is a certified toy destroyer). As such, it is also an ideal toy to keep those strong jaw muscles in shape and healthy!
4. Best Natural Option: Blue Buffalo Blue Wilderness Wild Bones Dog Chews
If your pet has food sensitivities or you prefer natural treats, these Blue Buffalo dental chews are a perfect choice. Not only that these dental chews are free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, but they also contain no chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat or soy, which is ideal for dogs with allergies. The tough-to-chew bones will challenge your pet and ensure his persistent gnawing reduces tartar and freshen their breath as a result. A totally natural way to keep your pet’s teeth healthy and clean.
5. Best for Doggy Breath: Merrick Fresh Kisses Oral Care Dental Dog Treats
These all-natural dental treats clean your pet’s teeth and freshen their breath at the same time. Designed to resemble a toothbrush with two cleaning heads, they will thoroughly polish your pupper’s canines while he’s enjoying the treat’s tasty flavor. And, to really make sure that these dental chews support dental health, they are infused with coconut and herbal oils for odor and bacteria fighting properties. These natural oils help to soothe and maintain healthy gums – it’s not just bad breath they can help with. The size of these grain and potato free treats makes them suitable for medium size dogs, but they are also available in other sizes as well.
6. Best Innovative: Arm & Hammer Super Treadz Gator
An innovative dental chew toy, Arm & Hammer Super Treadz Gator combines the best of both worlds in one product. The very design of the toy is centered around the improvement of oral health in dogs, as it will enhance circulation and better the health of the gums, help reduce plaque buildup, and also freshen breath (which is rare for toys). The secret is in the special rubber this toy is made of: it is infused with baking soda for odor eliminating properties and perfectly textured for teeth cleaning. Suitable for extreme chewers as it is highly durable. A great choice through and through!
7. Best Value: Greenies Original Regular Natural Dental Dog Treats
There’s a good reason why Greenies dental chews have been popular with pawrents for so long: they are quite budget friendly, healthy for dogs, and effective. Their unique texture reduces plaque buildup and supports overall oral health, and they are made with natural, easy to digest ingredients that make these treats a great addition to your pet’s diet. They are even enriched with vitamins and minerals to give your pooch’s immune system a little boost along the way! These treats are designed to suit dogs that weigh between 25 and 50 pounds. Great for teeth and digestion too, these unique treats are really a great benefit for your pet’s overall health – and they make a great reward too.
8. Best Grain Free: Whimzees Natural Grain Free Dental Dog Treats
Vegetarian, free of gluten, and totally natural, Whimzees dental chews are a heaven sent help for dogs with food allergies. These treats contain no artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, preservatives, gluten, wheat, grain, GMOs, or meat so there is nothing in the ingredient list that could trigger your pet’s sensitivities. To boot, their unique shape and textured surface ensure that those pearly whites stay sparkly for a long time. Whimzees Natural Grain Free Dental Dog Treats are available in small, medium, and large sizes. Perfect for every sensitive pooch!
9. Honorable Mention: Pedigree DENTASTIX Treats for Large Dogs
Affordable and favored by pooches, Pedigree’s Dentastix treats are a classic choice. The X-shaped treats come in a range of flavors (chicken, bacon, beef, or chicken and bacon combo) and are made to suit big pooches and their strong jaws. These attractive, tasty flavors are an ideal way to treat your pup during training and keep their gums healthy too. The treats will clean their teeth while they enjoy the tasty snack – but due to the lack of nubs and ridges, they can’t completely replace brushing, so they are a good choice if you want to support your dog’s dental health routine.
10. Also Consider: Nature Gnaws Extra Thin Tripe Twists
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a natural solution–after all, there’s a reason why our dog’s ancestors didn’t have to brush their teeth to keep them clean. These dental chews are made from one ingredient only: dried natural grass-fed free-range premium quality beef tripe. The twisted shape and tough texture are great for reducing plaque- no chemicals and artificial ingredients needed to get the job done! These all-natural dental dog chews are suitable for small breed dogs.
11. Zuke’s Z-Bones with Apples Rawhide-Free Dental Dog Treats
Sometimes, all you need to banish bad breath away for good is right there in nature. Made from a blend of potatoes, apples, peas and spinach, these rawhide-free dental dog treats are a fantastic meat-free option for dogs with food sensitivities as well as any pooch that needs a bit of help in the dental department. Enriched with alfalfa, parsley, rosemary and fennel for breath freshness and odor neutralization, these chew bones are perfectly shaped and textured to remove plaque buildup from your pet’s teeth. Made in the USA, these treats contain no corn, soy or other fillers so they are suitable for dogs that are on a grain-free, gluten-free diet. Zuke’s Z-Bones come in four sizes for dogs over 10 lbs for up to 90 lbs.
12. Blue Buffalo Dental Bones All Natural Rawhide-Free Regular Dental Dog Treats
All-natural and enriched with vitamins and minerals, these dental dog treats are easy to digest and a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies. They contain no chicken or poultry by-product meals, grains, gluten, corn, wheat, soy, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors so there isn’t anything in the formula that could upset their tummy. Long-lasting and with a chewy, challenging texture, these dog treats will keep your pooch engaged and their teefers clean as can be! The size of these dental dog treats makes them perfect for dogs between 25 and 50 lbs.
Basics of dog oral hygiene
Brushing your pet’s teeth should be a customary habit–they need brushing, baths, nail clipping, and all those other hygiene and “beauty” rituals, so why would their oral health be exempt? Unfortunately, due to common misconceptions, lack of information, and the fact that most dogs are not the biggest fan of teeth brushing, dental hygiene is not stellar in most pooches. To make sure that your dog’s teeth are both clean and healthy, here are some basic tips:
Brush their teeth regularly
Regular teeth brushing can significantly reduce tartar and plaque, eliminate bacteria, and keep your pet’s breath free of bad odors. For best results, clean your dog’s teeth 2 to 3 times a week. Remember that bad oral health can be a gateway to many other health issues for your pet. Poor hygiene leads to deterioration and eventual loss of teeth – and that creates problems with eating. This can lead to indigestion and stomach problems, and the buildup of bacteria can cause serious issues overall. Regular brushing can help keep this in check.
Use dog-specific brush and toothpaste
Needless to say, what works well for your teeth certainly won’t do the trick for your dog. Toothbrushes for dogs are designed to fit canine teeth and mouth, as well as to be easier to use (finger toothbrushes are a hit with most pawrents). This specific type of pet toothbrush is created so it can precisely hit all the little corners of a dog’s powerful set of teeth. Dog friendly toothpaste is free of chemicals that could harm them (and are often found in human products) and it’s often meat flavored to make your doggo more enthusiastic about brushing.
Offer dog dental chews
More is more when it comes to oral hygiene – you should use every opportunity to clean your pet’s teeth and maintain good dental health. Chewable toys or dental treats are an excellent way to fight off plaque and reward your dog at the same time, as dog dental chews get you the results of brushing through play and snacking, which is a win-win combination for all parties. Dog teeth are rarely brushed every day like we do: dog dental chews are a great way to continue good hygiene between weekly brushings.
Take your pet to professional cleaning
Despite their owner’s best efforts to keep their pet’s teeth plaque free, some dogs still need to go for professional teeth cleaning. This is done under anesthesia, by a veterinarian, who will scrape away tartar buildup while your pet is unconscious. Depending on the situation, this can be done yearly or every two or three years. And even if you are a tooth brushing pro – it is still a good idea to take your doggo for a general, thorough cleanup.
Do dental chews replace teeth brushing?
Most pet pawrents are curious to find out if dog dental chews can replace teeth brushing. As in, all treats and toys, no wrestling your doggo a few times a week in hopes you’ll get to clean those pearly whites. What could be better–you don’t end up being the bad guy with the toothbrush, and you still get the desired results? While this does sound dreamy, in most cases, dental chews for dogs cannot completely substitute teeth brushing, although there are exceptions.
Dog dental chews are designed to deliver the same benefits as brushing: they mechanically remove plaque and tartar, and as a result, they minimize or completely eliminate the growth of bacteria in your pet’s mouth, which are responsible for cavities, bad breath, sore gums, infections, and all other oral health issues. For some dogs, regular use of chewable toys designed for cleaning teeth, as well as an occasional dental chew treat, are all it takes for their teeth to remain spotless and their breath less horrible. Of course, you’ll still have to keep an eye on their dental health and start brushing again if you notice plaque buildup. Ideally, you’d use dog dental chews just to prolong the periods between the two brushings, and not to eliminate brushing altogether. What is more, you would ideally want to find dog dental chews that have a good balance of ingredients: go for an all natural choice with as little of artificial additions as possible.
What to look for in dog dental chews
Even though it might seem like a pretty straightforward thing, finding the right type of dog dental chews for your pet is not always simple. Every dog is unique and there are many products out there to reflect those differences, so if you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your beck and your pet the right match for his needs, here’s what you should look for in dog dental chews:
Type (edible vs toys)
Dog dental chews can be split into two main categories: edible chews and chew toys. Both dental treats and chew toys are designed to help clean your pet’s teeth while he’s nibbling and gnawing on them, with the difference that dental treats are edible, flavored and sometimes with the addition of dog-safe herbs for instantly better breath. When you pick high-quality chews, both options will be equally effective, but it’s best if you mix and match for complete care.
Dog dental chews have to be made from materials that are safe for a dog to put in his mouth (or eat, if they’re edible). Oftentimes, there are toys that have been made in China from toxic materials advertised as great teeth cleaning aids, or dental treats with tons of additives and chemicals that could worsen your pet’s allergies, for instance. Look for locally made or FDA-approved dental chews, or simply look for those that have no added artificial colors or harmful ingredients, and that are made from BPA-free materials.
While there are many dog dental chews out there, not all of them are equally effective. Simply chewing something won’t be enough to offer proper cleaning, so make sure you pick specially designed toys or treats. Deeply ridged chews, with nubs and protrusions that can help massage gums and mechanically clean the tartar and plaque from teeth are the most effective. Likewise, chews with special abrasive textures can help scrape of the stubborn plaque buildup layers on the molars – which are tricky to tackle when you are brushing.
Whether you’re giving your pet a chewable treat or a chew toy, it’s all the same- you want it to be as durable as possible. The longer your dog can chew on his toy or treat, the better the cleaning effect. Removing buildup and polishing those canines takes time, so it’s important that the chew you chose is durable. Of course, and when it comes to toys, durability is not just important for effectiveness (and your budget!) but it also matters for safety reasons. If your dog is able to destroy his dental chew toy with ease, they could get hurt on jagged pieces or swallow something they shouldn’t. In case your dog is an aggressive chewer, look for super tough dog dental chews designed to last despite your pet’s best efforts to destroy ‘em.
Your pet’s size and age are important factors when it comes to choosing dental chew toys and treats. From puppies to seniors and petite to giants, every pooch needs a specific product that will meet their unique needs–otherwise, your choice might not be efficient or safe for your pet to use.
How often should dogs use dental chews?
To maintain proper oral hygiene, you have to be persistent. Most dental dog chews are formulated to be given on a daily basis or a few times a week to achieve the full effect. Check the label for feeding instructions for additional information, and stick to it — don’t overfeed your pet with treats even if they have particularly bad breath or plaque buildup as it could lead to obesity or digestive problems.
How long do dog dental chews last?
Some pooches are particularly destructive when it comes to chewing things, so the longevity of the chews will significantly vary depending on how much of an aggressive chewer your pet is. For some dogs, a dental chew can last one afternoon, others will go through a chew in mere minutes, and some are designed for lasting chewing that goes on for days even with destructive chewers. Pick according to your pet’s chewing habits — they are supposed to gnaw on the chew at least for a bit for it to do its job of removing tartar.
When should I give my dog dental chews?
Dental dog treats are usually formulated for dogs that are 6 months or older, as tiny puppies have sensitive needle-like teeth that could be damaged with chews. Not to mention that, for the most part, it’s still early for the plaque to build up on baby teeth. As for the frequency of using dental chews, the best policy is to stick to the recommended dosage, be it one treat a day or one every couple of days.
How do dog dental chews work?
There are two ways in which dog dental chews keep your pet’s teeth clean, healthy and their breath fresh . The first is by using ingredients that prevent bacterial build up and neutralize odors, usually natural such as parsley or mint, and the other by mechanically scraping of the plaque, tartar, and remnants of food. This is achieved by a special texture that is chewy or by ridges and nubs all over the chew — either way, the effect of teeth cleaning is the same.
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A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
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