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Do dental chews work for dogs?

Our Dallas veterinarians explain how to tell if a dog dental chew is worth buying, which factors you should consider, and even if puppies can have dental chews. 

Do dental treats work for dogs?

As dog owners, we know maintaining a good oral health routine is critical to our dogs’ long-term health, and we’re always looking for the next way to save time. And although tooth brushing is one of the most effective ways to prevent our furry friends from getting periodontal disease (or the precursors of tartar buildup and inflamed gums), they’re not often appreciative of our efforts!

That is why dog dental chews, sticks, treats, and other products have gained popularity in recent years. But before you become overwhelmed by all of the options, let's take a look at these oral healthcare products and see if they're actually worth the money.

How do dog dental chews work?

Are dental chews good for dogs? Do they work? These questions can be thorny ones. Dental chews can help improve your dog's dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup, preventing bad breath, and promoting healthy gums. Additionally, they can provide mental stimulation and entertainment for your dog while also satisfying their natural urge to chew. 

But while properly designed chews do have the potential to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, they’re not a stand-in for routine dental cleanings. Think of them more as supplements to your dog’s regular oral care routine – kind of like how we sometimes chew sugar-free gum to keep our breath fresh, but we wouldn’t expect that to replace regularly brushing our teeth or visiting the dentist.

Before purchasing dog dental chews that claim to support dental health, consider the following:

  • Be skeptical of claims that certain products are supportive of dental health. 
  • Ensure any chews or treats you give your dog are not too hard, as they can fracture teeth. Antlers, bones, and hooves are likely culprits.
  • Don’t forget to schedule your pet’s routine oral exam and dental cleanings with your vet.
  • Look for long-lasting chew products, such as knucklebone, rawhide, nylon, or rubber chew toys (keep a watchful eye on these and toss it if your dog gnaws it down enough for it to become a choking hazard).

How long should dogs spend chewing?

Allow your dog about 30 minutes of chew time per day in order to get the most out of their dental chews.

About Dog Breeds, Teeth, and Oral Health Issues

Is your dog a smaller breed? Does he have a stacked or crowded jaw of teeth? In these cases, plaque and tartar are more likely to form in hidden areas, regardless of how hard he chews. You'll need regular toothbrush bristles to get under his gum line and scrape or brush away the bacteria that can cause periodontal disease.

Keep in mind that your dog’s immune system, breed, age, and history can influence his health and factor into whether he develops dental problems. That’s why routine health checkups with a qualified vet are so important.

Can puppies have dental chews?

Once your puppy is six months old, you can start giving them dental chews. Chew sticks should not be given to puppies under the age of three months because they can cause choking.

The Bottom Line

While some doggy dental chews are effective, these aren’t an effective substitute for toothbrushing or professional pet dental care routines for your pooch. Keep the other elements of an excellent oral health care routine on your pup’s calendar, and their teeth will stay 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 dog need a dental exam? Our Dallas vets can check your pet's teeth to ensure they are in good condition. Contact us today.

New Patients Welcome, New Hope Animal Hospital, Dallas

New Patients Welcome

New Hope Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Dallas companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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