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Do Dental Chews Really Work for Dogs?

Dental chews are a popular treat for dogs, but are they safe? Our Pittsboro veterinarians explain if a dog dental chew is worth purchasing, and the safety tips every dog owner should keep in mind.

Why are dog dental chews popular?

As pup parents, we know that good oral health is important to our dogs’ long-term health. While tooth brushing is one of the most effective methods to keep our furry friends from getting periodontal disease, our canines don’t usually enjoy it.

That’s why dog dental chews, along with dental treats and sticks, have been growing in popularity. There are a lot of choices out there for products that claim to help keep your dog’s teeth clean. But before you get overwhelmed, let’s review some of these oral healthcare products to identify whether they are actually worth the cost.

Will dog dental chews work for my pet?

There’s no cut-and-dry answer as to whether dental chews actually work. While chews that are properly designed can potentially reduce tartar and plaque buildup, they’re not a substitute for regular tooth brushing and a visit to the animal dentist - just an additional tool.

It's similar to how we may chew gum to keep our breath fresh, but we wouldn’t use this in place of regularly brushing our teeth or visiting the dentist. Feel free to use dental chews to supplement your dog’s oral care routine, but don't let it be the only step.

Consider these factors before buying dog dental chews:

  • Seek out long-lasting chew products such as nylon, 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).
  • 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.
  • 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 veterinary office.

How long should my dog spend chewing?

To get the maximum benefit, give your dog about 30 minutes with their dental chew every day, 

A Note About Dog Breeds, Teeth and Oral Health Problems

If you’ve got a small breed dog, or your canine friend has a jaw that’s stacked or crowded with teeth, watch out - plaque and tartar are more likely to grow in hiding spots, no matter how much effort is put into chewing.

Toothbrush bristles are the best tool to get under the gum line and scrape away bacteria that may cause periodontal disease.

Remember that your dog’s immune system, age, history, and breed can affect their health and contribute to whether they develop dental issues. This is why a qualified vet needs to see your pooch for routine health checkups.

The Bottom Line

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 are experienced in performing regular dental exams and treatments. Book an appointment today.

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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