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Do dental chews really work for dogs?

Our Natick veterinarians explain how to determine whether a dog dental chew is worth purchasing, which factors to consider, and the safety tips every dog owner should remember. 

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

In this context, we will review some of these oral healthcare products to help you make an informed decision.

How do dog dental chews work?

It's not always straightforward to determine whether dental chews are effective. While they may assist in keeping your dog's teeth clean, and the dry kibble can be enjoyable for your pet to crunch on and savor, they may only potentially reduce tartar and plaque buildup if they are properly designed.

Dental chews should not be used as a substitute for routine tooth brushing and professional dental cleanings but rather as an additional tool. Just like we sometimes chew sugar-free gum to maintain fresh breath, you may use dental chews to supplement your dog's oral care routine.

However, it is important to keep in mind 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 that are worth your money.
  • Remember to book your pet’s routine oral exam and dental cleanings at your vet’s office.
You may also wonder if puppies can have dog dental chews. They're a great way to keep your puppy's teeth clean! They are safe for puppies to chew and also good options when it comes to teething.

How long should my dog spend chewing?

For maximum dental benefits, give your dog 30 minutes of chew time daily.

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 be aware 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 the development of dental issues. Therefore, it's crucial to schedule regular health checkups with a qualified veterinarian.

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.

Does your pet need a dental exam? Our veterinarians in Natick are experienced in performing regular dental exams and treatments. Book an appointment today.

New Patients Welcome

Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Natick companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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