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Dog dental chews are designed to be both an attractive toy and an effective product for improving dental health. They massage a dog's gums and scrape plaque from a dog's teeth. Other than brushing your dog's teeth, using dental treats is one of the best ways to improve a dog's oral health.

However, not all dental chews are created equal. Some of them are safer and more effective than others. As a veterinarian, I've tried and analyzed a number of products, and below I'll walk you through some of my favorite vet-recommended best dental chews for dogs.

Features of Dog Dental Chews to Consider

To be considered a premium product, a dog dental chew needs to fulfill a few desired features, which are the primary reasons for you to buy them. Consider the below.

Cleaning power

Not all dental chews, including some recommended by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council), are highly effective. Therefore, it is crucial to ask your veterinarian and check reviews and previous experiences of dog owners about each brand.

Even though dental chews keep the dog's teeth clean, they may also reduce the deposits only to a certain extent. Still, the reduction of tartar and plaque by 10% to 20% can't prevent periodontal disease in all animals, especially those with a predisposition to this dental condition.

Edibility

Depending on your pet's preferences, there are both edible and non-edible dental chews for dogs available on the market.

Edible chews are primarily used to clean a dog's teeth and they are a delicious treat, as well, while non-edible chews provide teeth cleaning when the dog gnaws on them.

Flavor

Luckily, most products offer a wide variety of flavors for dogs with different tastes and picky eaters. Choosing a palatable dog dental chew will make the product more attractive to your pet. The pleasant taste will encourage the animal to chew the treat more and clean the teeth simultaneously.

Durability

Longevity is a crucial feature for a non-edible dental chew. It needs to be strong enough to entertain the dog for a long time so that the dog's teeth get a thorough cleaning as opposed to being swallowed or forgotten about after five seconds.

Size

Since most of the products are designed in several sizes, it is not too complicated to choose an adequate one, depending on your dog's size and weight. Too big dental chews are not convenient for chewing, and if the treats are too small, they may cause choking.

What is Dog Dental Chews?

Dog Dental Chews are treats for brushing sessions for your pup. These chews work by removing the bacterias and foods stuck on your dog's teeth. Furthermore, the best dental chews for dogs reduce the amount of plaque in their mouth to help lessen new tartar buildup.

These chews are a great way to maintain oral health. Moreover, dogs love to chew, that's why it's now easier to keep them healthy. Chewing for them is a natural instinct. They chew when they're bored, to have fun, and even to lessen stress or anxiety in certain situations.

Furthermore, dog dental chews are different from dental treats for dogs. Dental chews last longer than dental treats.

Dog dental chews are made for rubbing the dog's teeth and gums to help reduce plaque and tartar. Meanwhile, with Dog dental treats, it's designed to be eaten quickly.

Labrador Retriever Chewing Bone

Benefits of Dog Dental Chews

The purpose of dog dental chews is to provide oral benefits for your pet, but using them needs to come with precautions, primarily when used by puppies and senior dogs. Some of the primary benefits of these vet-recommended dog dental chews are below.

Prevents dental disease

Unfortunately, more than 80% of dogs over three years old suffer from active dental disease. Some of them have an issue with periodontal disease graded on a scale from 1 to 4. Graduation depends on the severity of the condition.

Giving your dog a dental chew daily will increase salivation, which will decrease the number of bacteria in the dog's mouth. That may prevent oral diseases and reduce problems with tartar and plaque forming.

Cleans teeth and gums

Primarily, this type of product is designed to help the dog keep teeth clean and gums healthy (on top of daily brushing). The shape of some top-rated dental dog chews provides in-depth and detailed cleaning as your pet gnaws on them, which is why many veterinarians often recommend them over regular treats.

Freshens breath

Quality dental hygiene will prevent bad breath in dogs. If your dog chews a dental treat containing mint, spearmint, or parsley, it will get both tartar-free teeth and fresh breath.

Nutritional benefits

Some such edible chews may contain nutritious and beneficial ingredients, which may improve the dog's digestive health while also cleaning their teeth. Moreover, some products include essential vitamins as well as nutrients that will enhance the immune system of the animal.

Daily reward

Finally, edible dental chews for dogs are both useful products and delicious treats for the dog. Except for cleaning teeth, they can be used as a reward during dog training or anywhere else you normally use “regular” treats.

Golden Retriever Puppy Chewing Bone

How Often Should I Give My Dog Dental Chews?

Dog dental chews are recommended to be taken 2-3 times a week but can also be once a day. With this being said, monitoring your dog's dental health is the most important.

Moreover, a great tip for choosing the best dental chews is researching Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved dog chews.

If you're not convinced, a call with your vet is still the best option. Always keep in mind that every dog is not the same. Some can be allergic to certain types of dog chews.

5 Vet Recommended Best Dental Chews for Dogs

1 Greenies Dental Dog Chews and Treats
by Greenies

Thanks to their unique texture, these very popular dog dental chews made with natural ingredients will clean the teeth of your dog down to the gumline.

Greenies Natural Dental Dog Treats

The vets recommend them since they clean tartar and plaque, provide fresh breath, and add vitamins and minerals to your dog's daily diet.

» PROS

  • The product is approved by the VOHC
  • It is available in four sizes and a few flavors suitable for most dog breeds
  • These natural dental sticks are easy to digest and can reduce gum disease and improve the overall dog's health
  • Made in the USA

« CONS

  • The product is not recommended for dogs under 5 pounds (2.3 kg)
  • It is not gluten-free, which is crucial for the dogs sensitive to this ingredient
  • It is quite expensive

 

2 Natural Balance Dental Dog Chews and Treats
by Natural Balance

These tasty dog dental chews made of natural ingredients help in reducing the formation of tartar and plaque. Since they are edible and available in a range of flavors, they are suitable for most dogs.

Natural Balance Dental Chews

A grain-free formula is an excellent option for gluten-sensitive dogs and those with allergies to grains.

» PROS

  • Added vitamin C improves the immunity of the dog
  • The easy-to-digest formula will freshen the dog's breath
  • Small dogs usually enjoy these dental chews

« CONS

  • Since sticks are too hard, they are not recommended for senior dogs
  • Some owners have complained that the product negatively affected their dogs with a sensitive stomach

 

3 Whimzees Dental Chews for Dogs
by Whimzees

Chewing these pleasantly-tasted dog dental chews helps in the prevention of tartar and plaque build-up and bad breath in dogs. The product made of six ingredients is an excellent option for dogs between 40 and 60 pounds (18 – 27 kg).

WHIMZEES Natural Grain Free Dog Chews

» PROS

  • These vegetable-based dental chews are natural and healthy
  • Sticks are entirely gluten-free and don't contain artificial flavors and colors
  • It is a GMO-free product

« CONS

  • They may cause gastric and digestion problems
  • Seniors may have difficulties chewing these hard sticks

 

4 Zuke’s Z-Bones Oral Dog Chews
by Zuke's

These dog dental chews, available in multiple sizes and flavors, help the dog keeps its gums healthy. Thanks to advanced formula, this product is an excellent choice for polishing teeth and freshening dogs' breath.

Zuke's Dental Chew Dog Treat

» PROS

  • Product is available in various tastes, including herbs, apple, pumpkin, berry, carrot, and peas
  • Made in regular, mini, large, and giant variations, these sticks are entirely grain-free
  • Made in the USA

« CONS

  • It is not a product designed for dogs under 10 pounds (4.5 kg)
  • Sticks are too soft, so dogs may choose to eat rather than chew them
  • They may cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs with a sensitive stomach

 

5 Pedigree Dentastix Dental Treats for Dogs
by Pedigree

The patented X-shape of sticks will prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque on the dog's teeth down to the line of the gum. These dental treats for dogs are available in various flavors, including bacon, chicken, or beef, they are an ideal option for most dogs, especially larger breeds.

Pedigree DENTASTIX Small Treats

» PROS

  • These chews are available in two sizes and multiple flavors
  • It improves the freshens of the dog's breath
  • It is an affordable product made in the USA

« CONS

  • The product doesn't have the approval of VOHC
  • It is not suitable for dogs under 5 pounds (2.3 kg)
  • Sticks are not gluten-free

Are Greenies safe for dogs?

Yes, Greenies are indeed safe and are accepted by Veterinary Oral Health Council. However, there are still precautions when using these dental treats.

For instance, puppies aged 6 months below are not recommended to take greenies. Puppies under 6 months still have their baby teeth and will not be good for them.

Moreover, Greenies will benefit a lot from dogs above 6 months with your supervision. These treats are easy to digest and can be helpful for their brain development.

However, greenies are not convenient for every dog. Other dogs might be allergic to wheat or grain which is one of the main ingredients with these treats.

English Bulldog Chewing a Stick

Can dental chews replace brushing?

The quick answer is no. Dental chews are supplements but they can never replace tooth brushing. There's no actual substitute for brushing.

Brushing is very helpful for decreasing tartars. Proper tooth brushing is still the best standard for cleaning at home. Dental chews are effective in reducing oral bacterias.

Moreover, dental chews are not for every dog. There are some risks when taking these treats without supervision.

There are possibilities that your dog gets an upset stomach or even allergies from the treat's ingredients.

Alternatives for Dog Toothbrushing

We all want what's best for our dogs, and some pups don't really have the best time when toothbrushing.

Lucky for you, there are now plenty of ways to clean your dog's teeth without the use of a toothbrush. But always remember that brushing is still the golden standard for cleaning.

Here are some examples of alternatives for dog toothbrushing:

  • Dental Spray
  • Dog Dental Wipes
  • Dog Chews
  • Coconut oil
  • Bully Stick Snacks
  • Raw Bones
  • Dental Treats
  • Dental Toys

What to look for in a Dog Dental Chews

You as the dog owner will have to research the benefits or effects of different kinds of dog dental chews. There are still things to consider when choosing the right dental chew or dental treats for your dog.

Here are different factors that you should look for in a dental chew:

  1.  Check the brand – Look for well-known brands with great reputations or positive reviews online.
  2.  Quality over Quantity – We all want what's the best quality for our dogs. But if you're short in budget, there are still plenty of quality low priced dog chews out there.
  3.  Versatility – Some dental products offer dental treats for both small and big dogs. So if you own multiple dogs, this is a great option for you.
  4. Health Benefits – Most importantly, look out for the health benefits of the products because that's why you're here in the first place.

Summary of Vet Recommended Dog Dental Chews

For keeping your dog's teeth healthy, on top of daily brushing, it is necessary to pick out the best dental chews for dogs. It is critical to limit edible or too-hard treats and be careful with compressed ones.

The best choice is flexible dog dental chews that won't break off to sharp pieces and endanger the dog after swallowing them. The above five vet-recommended dog dental chews have been some of my favorites over the years.

Moreover, dog dental chews don't just help maintain your dog's oral health. These chews can also help with bad breath, broken or extra teeth, unusually chewing or drooling, and other tartar-covered teeth.

Some dogs don't really have the best time when toothbrushing, that's why dog dental chews help struggling owners sustain their oral health.

Most importantly, we as the owners have the responsibility to check-in and monitor our dog's health. Remember that not all dogs are suitable for dog dental chews or dental treats for dogs.

It is still recommended to consult with your vet on your uncertainties about your dog's health.

READ NEXT: 7 Foods and Chews for Dog’s Dental Health (Backed by Science)


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