Like humans, dogs can suffer from a range of dental issues, including periodontal disease, tooth decay, and gum problems. To prevent such conditions, the American Veterinary Medical Association advises establishing a regular dental hygiene regimen for your furry friend. This involves brushing their teeth with a toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste a few times per week and arranging routine dental cleanings with their veterinarian. Additionally, your dog’s diet can significantly impact their oral health, as certain dog foods and kibbles are formulated to reduce plaque and tartar mineralization, while dental chews can physically remove buildup on their teeth.
To provide further insight into the advantages of dental chews, their frequency of use, and important factors to consider when purchasing them, we consulted with veterinarians. Our specialists recommend dental chews that have obtained the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s Registered Seal, which signifies that they are effective at-home dental care items for dogs. We have put together a list of these recommended dental chews for your convenience.
Virbac C.E.T. VeggieDent Fr3sh Tartar Control Dog Chews
We’re impressed with the C.E.T. VeggieDent Tartar Control Dog Chews from Virbac, a well-known provider of animal healthcare products. These chews have a unique and easy-to-grip Z-shape that enables dogs to reach tricky areas of their teeth. They are plant-based and come in four sizes, ensuring a comfortable fit for dogs of various breeds and sizes. Designed to reduce plaque and tartar buildup while freshening breath, these chews are gentle on a dog’s digestive system and contain a prebiotic to aid in digestion. Additionally, they have been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council and have a simple ingredient list, making them a top pick among veterinarians.
One area for improvement is that some dogs may not enjoy the taste of these chews. As of writing, the price for these chews is $29, and they contain corn starch, glycerin, soy protein isolate, and rice flour as their primary ingredients. A medium-sized chew contains 75 calories, with a minimum of 17% protein, a minimum of 0.4% fat, a maximum of 2% crude fiber, and a maximum of 15% moisture.
Greenies Original Regular Dog Dental Chews
Greenies are one of the most sought-after dental chews on the market, known for their recognizable green hue and flexible toothbrush design. Many pet owners appreciate that the natural ingredients in Greenies are simple to digest and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Dogs, on the other hand, typically enjoy the mouth-watering poultry flavor.
Greenies are available in four different sizes and have specific formulas to meet the needs of a variety of dogs – from puppies to seniors and those requiring weight management or fresher breath. One of the standout features of Greenies is their bendy texture, which helps to clean the teeth and gums. Moreover, the ingredients used in Greenies are globally sourced and contain essential vitamins and minerals.
Greenies have been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council and are available in four sizes for dogs weighing between 5 and 100 pounds. Their special formulas cater to a wide range of needs, making them a popular choice among pet owners.
Pedigree DENTASTIX Treats
In summary, Pedigree’s large dog treats have a unique x-shape that helps reduce tartar build-up while providing fresh breath. They come in various flavors, including chicken, beef, and bacon, and are available in sizes ranging from 7 to 51-count packages. Pedigree recommends giving one treat per day for optimal results.
The pros of these treats include their tartar control benefits, freshening breath, variety of flavors, and high palatability among dogs. However, they do come with a considerable price tag and are not suitable for small dogs.
Overall, Pedigree’s x-shaped sticks are an excellent choice for larger dogs due to their ability to clean hard-to-reach areas. While some reviewers find them to be a bit expensive, the treats’ effectiveness in promoting dental health and their dogs’ enthusiastic response make them a popular option.
Bark Bright Dental Duo
Bark Bright is a subscription-based dental care program that provides dog owners with a convenient way to keep their pup’s teeth clean. By signing up for the program and sharing information about your dog, you can receive monthly packages of dental chews and triple-enzymatic toothpaste that are designed to reduce plaque and tartar buildup for healthier teeth. The program is affordable, costing around one dollar per day, and it’s easy to get started. The dental chews and toothpaste are shipped directly to your doorstep each month, saving you the trouble of having to remember to order them. Bark Bright also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for their products. To use the dental chews, simply add some toothpaste to the groove and offer them to your dog. Plus, K9 of Mine readers can enjoy a free extra dental kit discount by following the instructions after clicking on any of the Bark Bright links in this article. Features:
- Monthly subscription with delivery to your door
- Includes dental chews and easy-to-use, dog-friendly toothpaste
- Backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Easy to use by adding toothpaste to the chew’s groove.
Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets Dental Chewz
If you’re not keen on inspecting numerous labels, Altomare suggests looking for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (V.O.H.C) seal of approval, which can be found on widely available dog dental chews. Altomare also appreciates that the first ingredient in these chews is beef hide and that the texture effectively eliminates tartar. Check out Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets Dental Chewz, starting at $9.
What to Look For
When choosing a dental chew for your dog, it’s important to look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval, according to Dr. Stephanie Goldschmidt, an assistant professor of dentistry and oral surgery at the University of California-Davis. The VOHC evaluates dental chews for their effectiveness in reducing plaque and tartar and approves only those that have been proven to work through clinical trials. The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) recommends the use of VOHC-approved products, which can be found on the VOHC’s list of accepted products. While other products may be effective, they have not been tested and approved by the VOHC.
Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance, advises choosing a dental chew that is larger than your dog’s mouth to prevent swallowing hazards. The chew should also be firm but not too hard, according to Dr. Goldschmidt. You should be able to indent your fingernail into the chew or feel comfortable hitting it against your own knee cap.
Dr. Jessica Herman, a veterinarian at Fuzzy, a subscription-based pet-health service, reminds pet owners to consider the number of calories in each chew. Many dental chews have a high caloric density, which can cause weight gain in dogs. If you choose a high-calorie chew, adjust your dog’s food portion accordingly on days that you give them a chew.
Do dental chews really work?
“The most effective way to keep our dog’s teeth and mouth healthy is by daily brushing,” says Dr. Herman. “Brushing helps to remove plaque daily, thus, not allowing tartar and bacteria to adhere to the teeth. Dental chews, dental wipes, water additives, treats, and dental rinses also exist, but are not as effective as daily brushing.”
If you do opt to give your dog dental chews as a supplement to brushing, you’ll want to look for a product that’s been scientifically tested and proven effective at preventing and removing plaque and tartar.
It’s also beneficial to select long-lasting treats, as longer chewing sessions increases the effectiveness of dental chews: “Dogs will get the best benefit out of their chews if they chew for five to 10 minutes or longer because the product needs to be in contact with the teeth and gums in order to remove plaque,” says Dr. Wooten. “If a dog finishes the chew in a few minutes then it won’t be as effective.”
How often should I give my dog dental chews?
The majority of dental chews are designed to be given to dogs on a regular basis—typically every day or a few times per week. “Plaque takes three days to harden into tartar. Offer dental chews daily or every other day to reduce plaque and thus, tartar,” says Dr. Wooten.
Introduce them gradually and pay attention to how your pet reacts. “Most dental treats are well tolerated, but some can cause GI upset, especially in sensitive dogs,” says Dr. Goldschmidt. “It can take some trial and error to find the treat that works best with the overall nutrition/health plan. Furthermore, if your pet has a systemic illness that requires nutritional management, such as diabetes, then dental treats are not a good option.”
Are dental chews good for overweight dogs?
Because dental chews are typically high in calories, they’re not always the best option for overweight dogs. Instead, you may want to use a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your pet’s teeth. If you do choose to give an overweight dog dental chews, it’s important to adjust their daily food intake accordingly.