Best Dog Dental Chews

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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. 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. 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’s 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 plaque-free than with regular brushing? 

Dog’s teeth have to be brushed regularly, at least two or three times a week. 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 bacteria-free, and 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.

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.

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 vet-approved treats 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.

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The clever design of this dental dog chew toy makes it a great alternative to teeth brushing–as it basically brushes your dog’s teeth while he’s convinced he’s just playing! Your pet will have a grand ole time and their canines will be sparkly clean thanks to the 2-sided bristle-lined grooves that will thoroughly massage their gums and remove tartar while they are gnawing. To boot, you can also pour dog toothpaste in the center and ensure complete oral health with just one fun toy. Ingenious!

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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).

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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 allergic dogs. The tough-to-chew bones will challenge your pet and ensure his persistent gnawing reduces tartar and freshen their breath as a result.

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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 grain and potato free treats are suitable for medium size dogs.

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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.

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There’s a good reason why Greenies dental chews have been popular with pawrents for so long: they are 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.

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Vegetarian, gluten-free, and all-natural, Whimzees dental chews are heaven-sent for dogs with food allergies. These treats contain no artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, preservatives, gluten, wheat, grain, GMOs, or meat so there’s 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.

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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. 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.

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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.

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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 odor-free. For best results, clean your dog’s teeth 2 to 3 times a week.

  • 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). 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.

  • Take your pet to professional cleaning

Despite their owner’s best efforts to keep their 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.

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.

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. 

  • Safety

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.

  • Effectiveness

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. 

  • Durability

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.

  • Compatibility

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.


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