Dog dental health is super important. In fact, it’s just as important for dogs as it is for us owners. In a way, it’s even more so because dogs rely on their mouths to explore the world. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to keep them clean. To help you out, this article will take you through the ten best dog treats for teeth cleaning currently on the market.
So what oral health problems can occur in dogs and how do we prevent them? Let’s explore everything you need to know and answer the most frequently asked questions about dental dog treats.
Why is Dental Hygiene Important For Dog
Every time your dog eats, the natural bacteria in their mouths reacts with the food and creates a film that covers the teeth called plaque. As humans, we brush our teeth twice a day to remove plaque. It can destroy tooth enamel and harden to become tartar in as little as two days. A build-up of tartar can cause bad breath, tooth sensitivity, cavities, and gum disease. It is also much harder to remove. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which can greatly affect a dog’s quality of life, and is even linked to heart problems. So it’s super important to treat and prevent plaque and tartar build-up as much as possible.
Small breeds and elderly dogs are more inclined to have dental problems than others, but all owners should keep an eye on their dog’s teeth. Vets will also check on their teeth at annual check-ups. Most older dogs will have some kind of tartar build-up, as long as they aren’t having problems with it, try not to worry.
Severe tartar build-up and other problems can be treated at the vets. For lesser problems and plaque prevention, owners should take on one or some of the following tips for a healthy mouth. That said, remember that no product is a one-size-fits-all, and you might have to try a few to find what works for you!
How to Keep Your Dog’s Mouth Clean
Our top tips on doggie dental hygiene!
The first line of defense against dental problems is a good, healthy, natural diet. Nutrient-complete kibble, high-quality protein sources, and dog-safe fruits and vegetables that are low in sugar and acidity are the easiest way to prevent bad oral health in day-to-day life.
There are also kibbles that are specially designed with dental health in mind. The pieces have a texture that scrubs the teeth to keep them clean, and some even have a special coating that prevents bacteria build-up.
Tooth Brushes & Toothpaste
Dog owners can buy toothbrushes made specifically for dogs. They have soft bristles, a long handle, and an angled head that fits the shape of the canine mouth. They’re the best way for owners to make sure that every corner of their dog’s mouth is clean, but not every dog likes them.
When brushing your dog’s teeth, always use toothpaste that is made for dogs, as human toothpaste usually contains xylitol which is toxic to dogs. Alternatively, you can make your own using baking soda and coconut oil.
A relatively new, incredibly convenient invention is dental water additives. Simply mix the product with your dog’s water to freshen breath, whiten teeth, and reduce plaque build-up – with no brushing required! Additives can be flavorless, meaty, fruity, or minty.
Commercial dental chew treats scrape away plaque and tartar as your dog chews them. They are designed with deep ridges to get down to the gumline, with some proven to reduce tartar build-up by 57%. They also contain ingredients that promote good dental health and freshen breath.
You could also try animal chews such as buffalo horns or caribou antlers. They are a natural, nutritious, long-lasting chew and they’re great for scraping off bacteria and plaque. However, they’re not suitable for teething puppies, elderly dogs with weakening teeth, or those that have poor dental health as they are very hard and could damage their teeth.
Alternatively, frozen carrots work just as well for cleaning teeth, with none of the risks. They are even great for teething puppies and soothe aching gums.
Chew toys are an easy, fun way to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth. Chewing stimulates saliva production which rinses away food and bacteria. There are also toys specifically designed to scrape off plaque and tartar as they chew.
What to Look For in Dog Dental Treats
Here is what you should consider when buying treats for dogs.
Chew sticks need to be a comfortable shape and size for your dog’s mouth. Smaller dogs have smaller mouths and need appropriately sized treats to avoid choking hazards. Bigger dogs need something that will take them time to chew to provide a thorough clean.
Look for healthy, natural ingredients and avoid filler ingredients, especially if you’re looking for a treat you can give to your dog every day. It will usually say what’s in the product on the label or product listing, and you can buy some products that are made out of entirely eco-friendly ingredients if that’s important to you. Filler ingredients include:
- Added sugars such as corn syrup or sucrose
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Sodium hexametaphosphate
- Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives
Although a tough texture is necessary to remove plaque and tartar, you should avoid anything that is too hard. Particularly if your dog is a teething pup, an older dog with weak teeth, or if your dog already has poor oral health, as you don’t want to damage their teeth.
10 Best Dog Treats for Teeth Cleaning
This is our list of the ten best treats for cleaning dog teeth.
1. Greenies Original Regular Natural Dental Dog Treats
These dog dental treats by Greenies come vet recommended by the Vet Oral Health Council (VOHC). They come in 8 different-sized packs ranging from 3 ounces to 54 ounces and are suitable for dogs weighing between 25-50 lbs. The green chews are shaped like a bone at one end and a toothbrush at the other. They have a unique texture that fights plaque and tartar down to the gumline and freshens breath.
The chews are made with natural, easy-to-digest ingredients and contain lots of nutritious vitamins and minerals. It’s an Amazon’s Choice product and reviews praise the effectiveness of the product.
2. Blue Buffalo Dental Bones
Blue Buffalo’s dental bones are free from hard-to-digest filler ingredients. The texture helps to decrease tartar and plaque build-up, maintaining good dental health.
The recipe contains natural, recognizable, tasty ingredients such as blueberries and potatoes that dogs love. It also contains parsley to freshen breath. They are made in the USA and come in four sizes for different dogs; mini, small, regular, and large.
All sizes come in 12-ounce, 27-ounce, and 36-ounce bags. Reviews seem to love the product with buyers noting the difference in their dog’s breath.
3. Purina Veterinary Diets Dental Chews
Purina’s dental chews come in a 5-ounce box and are approved by the VOHC. They clean the teeth, freshen the breath, and significantly reduce plaque and tartar build-up. The chews are beef-flavored and have a high-protein, low-fat content. Dogs enjoy the treats according to the reviews, and they seem to get the job done.
4. Whimzees Dental Treat
Whimzees’ dental treats contain less than 10 ingredients and are clinically proven to be twice as effective as their leading competitors. Their simple, all-natural recipe is GMO-free, grain-free, free from artificial additives, vegetarian, and sourced entirely from Europe.
The treats are available in small, medium, large, and extra-large for different sized dogs, and come in large quantities with brilliant value for money. Each pack contains different, long-lasting, fun-shaped chews, such as hedgehogs and crocodiles, as well as standard sticks. The different shapes and textures are fun and interesting for your dog to chew, and the expertly designed treats effectively clean teeth, gums, and freshen breath.
They’re also vet recommended, VOHC approved, and hypoallergenic, which is great for dogs with allergies. The treats are an Amazon’s Choice product and reviews love them. Buyers praise how effective they are as dental chews, but also how the different shapes keep their dogs entertained.
5. OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews
These mint-flavored prescription chews by Oravet dissolve in the mouth as dogs chew them. They contain delmopinol, an anti-plaque agent that also forms a protective barrier to stop bacterial attachments from forming, as well as freshening breath. Purchase options include a 14 pack and a 30 pack.
There are almost no bad reviews of this product, although some buyers do warn against breaking the chews into smaller pieces, as this can create a choking hazard for smaller dogs. That said, reviews are overwhelmingly positive and many buyers note a significant difference in their dog’s teeth and breath.
6. Pedigree Dentastix
Dentastix by Pedigree is one of the most popular dental dog treats on the market. Their deep-ridged ‘triple action” X-shaped chews work to clean teeth and freshen bad breath and are clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
They are made to be consumed daily and come from an internationally loved and trusted pet brand. Reviews are generally positive, although some buyers warn that the treats aren’t ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
7. Virbac CET VeggieDent Chews
These treats by animal health company Virbac reduce plaque, decrease tartar, and freshen breath. They are “Z” shaped, which is easy for your dog to hold and chew, as well as perfect for reaching back teeth. The chews are full of healthy, easy-to-digest ingredients such as corn starch and rice flour, and are free of animal protein and wheat.
They come in bags of 30 chews and are suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, even puppies. Reviews highly recommend the product, with many buyers stating that giving their dogs one of these a day gives them peace of mind over their pet’s dental health.
8. Virbac C.E.T.® HEXtra® Premium Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogs
Another Virbac chew, these come in packs of 90 and are available in four different sizes for different dogs; petite, medium, large, and extra-large. They combine chewy rawhide with Chlorhexidine, an antibacterial, antiseptic that is known to be the most effective chemical of its kind for improving oral health. It’s commonly used in human mouthwash and is great for inflammation. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
9. Ark Naturals Dog Brushless Toothpaste Dental Chew
These chew sticks by Ark Naturals are made for small-medium-sized breeds and have outer ridges that are made to scrape bacteria off of teeth. The toothpaste center protects from future bacteria and freshens breath. Its formula is natural and free from filler ingredients, as well as made in the USA. Reviews cannot praise the product highly enough.
10. Zuke’s Dental Chew Dog Treats
These chews by Zuke’s are wholesome, natural, and grain-free. The tasty apple-flavored sticks gently clean your dog’s teeth and freshen stinky breath. It’s an Amazon’s Choice product and reviews seem to love it. These are the perfect choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs and common food allergies.
Teeth Cleaning Treats: FAQ
Like us humans, it’s ideal to brush your dog’s teeth twice a day. However, this isn’t always realistic. If you’re going to start brushing your dog’s teeth, it’s best to do it at least three times a week.
The signs of gum disease in dogs include drooling, swelling under the eyes, discharge from the nose, difficulty eating or loss of appetite and weight, pawing at the mouth, loose or missing teeth, and red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
Vets warn against owners giving their dogs bones because they are a choking hazard. They can also scratch the inside of your dog’s stomach and get stuck and cause an intestinal blockage.
If your dog gets an upset stomach or gains weight from eating dental treats, they may not be the best choice for your dog. Always check the ingredients list for a treat and if your dog has a sensitive stomach, don’t give them anything with rawhide in it, or anything containing filler ingredients such as grains, added sugars, and artificial additives.
Those are our ten best dental chews for dogs. Will you be trying out any of our recommendations? Or have any hygiene tips of your own to share? Let us know.