Good oral health is critical to your dog's overall wellbeing and general long term health. Here, our Broadway Animal Hospital vets walk you through how to find out if a dog dental chew is worth purchasing, which factors to consider, and the safety tips every dog owner should keep in mind.
Why are dog dental chews popular?
As dog owners, we know that good oral health is key to our pup's general long term health and wellbeing, and we're always looking for ways to make help this happen and save time. Although tooth brushing is one of the most effective methods for keeping our four-legged companions from developing periodontal disease and plaque or tartar buildup, they will often make it difficult for us to keep their mouths healthy in that way.
Because of this, dental chews, along with treats and sticks, have been growing in popularity as a support to and supplement for to brushing. There are many choices of products that claim to keep your dog's mouth clean. To make sure you don't get overwhelmed by the options, our vets will walk you through some kinds of healthcare products and identify which are actually worth the cost.
Will dog dental chews work for my pet?
There’s not a cut-and-dry answer as to whether dental chews work. They can help your pup's teeth remain clean and dry kibble can be satisfying for you dog to crunch. While chews can, if properly designed, reduce plaque and tartar buildup in your dog's mouth, they're no substitute from brushing and professional dental cleanings. They are just an extra tool in your canine health toolbox.
Feel free to use dental chews to supplement your dog’s oral care routine - somewhat like we sometimes chew sugar-free gum to keep our breath fresh, but we wouldn’t use this in place of regularly brushing our teeth or visiting the dentist.
Consider these factors before buying dog dental chews which claim they support dental health:
- Make sure any treats or chews your 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.
- Remember to book your pet’s routine oral exam and dental cleanings at your vet’s office.
- 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.
- 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).
How long should my dog spend chewing?
Allow your pooch about 30 minutes to chew on a dental chew every day to maximize their benefit.
A Note About Dog Breeds, Teeth and Oral Health Problems
If you have a small dog, a pup whose jaw is stacked or crowded with teeth, plaque and tartar are more likely to build up in their mouths regardless of whether they use dental chews or not.
Toothbrush bristles can clean under the gum line and be used to brush and scrape away harmful bacteria.
Always keep in mind that your dogs age, breed, health history, and immune system can all affect their dental health and whether or not they develop dental issues. Because of this, a qualified vet should see your dog for regular routine checkups.
The Bottom Line
While some dental chews can be effective at helping dogs clean their teeth, they aren't a replacement for regular brushing or professional dental care. These important parts of oral health should remain a regular part of your dog's routine in order to keep their teeth shiny, white, and healthy.