If you have a dog then you likely know how smelly their breath can be. One way to combat this is with routine oral care. This ranges from professional dental appointments to gnawing on dental chews at home. Our Doraville vets talk about whether dental chews work for dogs and if they are good for them.

How do dog dental chews work?

As any dog parent knows, keeping your dog's mouth and teeth clean is a crucial part of their overall care. Though tooth brushing is one of the most effective methods to keep our furry friends from getting periodontal disease (or an ugly buildup of plaque, tartar and inflamed gums), they don’t usually appreciate our efforts to keep their mouths healthy.

This is a large part of the reason behind dog dental chews have become more popular over recent years. But do dental treats and chews work for dogs? There are a lot of choices out there for products that purport 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 worth the cost.

Should I let my dog have a dental chew?

There’s not a cut-and-dry answer as to whether dental chews work. They may help keep your pup’s teeth clean and the dry kibble can be satisfying for your dog to crunch in her mouth - and taste yummy. Though chews that are properly designed can potentially reduce tartar and plaque buildup, they’re not a substitute for regular tooth brushing and professional dental cleanings - just an additional tool.

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 instead of regularly brushing our teeth or visiting the pet dentist.

Consider these factors before buying dog dental chews that claim they support dental health:

  • 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).
  • Make sure 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 with your veterinary dentist in Los Angeles.

How long should my dog have a dental chew or treat?

To achieve all of the benefits of dental chews you should allow your dog at least 30 minutes of chew time each day.

Considerations when Giving Your Dog Dental Chews

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.

You may also wonder 'Can puppies have dental treats?', and as long as your puppy is more than 6 months old the answer is yes! Just remember that they are getting calories from them, so they should count as a part of their daily food intake.

You can easily use a standard pet toothbrush to get into the crevices in and around your dog's teeth and gums to clean away any bacteria and plaque that may lead to gum disease.

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

Including Dental Chews as Part of Your Dog's Routine Dental Health Care

While some dental chews are effective for dogs, these aren’t a replacement for regular toothbrushing or professional dental care routines provided by your pet dentist in Los Angeles. These elements of a great oral health care routine should stay on your dog’s calendar, and their teeth will remain in good condition. If you would like more information about oral health routines for pets, speak with your dog or cat dentist. 

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.

Is it time for your dog to have a dental cleaning and examination? Book an appointment with our Doraville vets today.