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Do dental chews really work for dogs?

While routine professional veterinary dental care is vital to your pup's oral health, dental chews can help clear away plaque at home. Here, our vets in Bedford discuss the use of dog dental chews and whether they really work to clean your pup's teeth.

Why are dog dental chews popular?

As dog owners, we know how important it is to maintain good oral hygiene for our furry friends. However, brushing their teeth can be challenging and time-consuming. As a result, many pet owners have turned to dental chews, treats, and sticks as an alternative.

These products claim to prevent periodontal disease, plaque, tartar, and inflamed gums in dogs. With so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which products are worth investing in.

Do dental chews and treats work for dogs?

Yes, well-designed dental chews can help reduce tartar and plaque buildup. That said, dental chews should not be used as a substitute for routine tooth brushing and professional dental cleanings but as an additional tool.

However, it is important to remember that they cannot replace regular tooth brushing and dental checkups. Before purchasing dog dental chews that claim to support dental health, consider these factors:

  • Seek out long-lasting chew products such as nylon, rawhide, knucklebone, or rubber chew toys (watch these closely and toss them if your dog gnaws it down so much that it becomes a choking hazard).
  • Ensure any treats or chews you provide are not too hard, as they can damage your dog’s teeth. Hooves, antlers, and bones are likely to cause problems.
  • Find out how many calories are in your pup’s dental chews - you don’t want to deal with a weight problem while trying to reduce dental issues.
  • Be skeptical of any claims that some products support dental health. Check the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s list of product recommendations for buys worth your money.
  • Book your pet’s routine oral exam and dental cleanings at your vet’s office.

How do dog dental chews work?

Dog dental chews are designed with special ridges and bumps. When your dog chews on these, the irregular surfaces cause a unique chewing method. The surface of the dental chew glides along the surface of your dog's teeth, scrubbing away plaque and bacteria buildup.

What should I look for in a dog dental chew?

Many products claim they are the best dental chews for dogs, but what makes them ideal? Here we share a few of the things you should look for in dog dental chews:

  • VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) Registered Seal
  • Cleaning Power
  • Edibility
  • Flavor
  • Durability
  • Size

How long should my dog spend chewing?

Give your dog 30 minutes of chewing daily for maximum dental benefits.

Can puppies have dental chews?

Some dental chews are designed to be safe for puppies' small mouths and teeth.

A Note About Dog Breeds, Teeth & Oral Health Problems

If you have a small breed dog or a dog with a crowded jaw, you should know that plaque and tartar are more likely to accumulate in hard-to-reach areas, regardless of how much your dog chews. Using a toothbrush can help you clean your dog's teeth and remove bacteria that can cause periodontal disease. 

It's important to remember that your dog's overall health, age, breed, and medical history can all contribute to developing dental issues. Therefore, scheduling regular health checkups with a qualified veterinarian is crucial.

Are dental chews good for dogs?

While some dental chews are effective for dogs, these aren’t a replacement for regular toothbrushing or professional dental care routines. These elements of a great oral health care routine should stay on your dog’s calendar, and their teeth will remain in good condition.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog due for a routine dental cleaning and examination? Contact our vets at Fine Animal Hospital to book an appointment today.

We're accepting new patients! Book your pet's first appointment today.

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