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Do dental chews really work for dogs?

Our veterinarians in Ketchum discuss how to know if a dog dental product is worth buying, what factors to consider and what safety tips every dog owner should keep in mind.

Why are dog dental chews popular?

As dog parents, we know that good oral health is essential to our dogs' long-term health, and we're always on the lookout for new time-saving tricks. Although tooth brushing is one of the most effective ways of preventing our furry friends from contracting periodontal disease (or a nasty build-up of plaque, tartar and inflamed gums), they generally don't appreciate the effort we put into keeping their mouths healthy.

That's why dog chews, as well as treats and sticks, have become increasingly popular in recent years. There are plenty of products to choose from to help keep your dog's teeth clean. But before you get overwhelmed, let's take a look at a few of these oral health products to determine if they're really worth buying.t.

Will dog dental chews work for my pet?

There's no clear-cut answer to the question of whether dental kibbles are effective. They can help keep your dog's teeth clean, and dry kibbles can be pleasant for your dog to chew - and taste delicious. While well-designed kibbles can potentially reduce tartar and plaque build-up, they're not a substitute for regular tooth brushing and professional dental cleanings - they're just another tool.

Feel free to use chews to complement your dog's oral care, much as we sometimes chew sugar-free gum to keep our breath fresh, but not as a substitute for regular brushing or a visit to the dentist.

Please remember these factors before buying dog chews that claim to promote 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 at your vet’s office.

How long should my dog spend chewing?

Give your dog about 30 minutes to chew each day, so that he gets the maximum benefit from his dental chewing.

A Note About Dog Breeds, Teeth & 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.

Good old toothbrush bristles can get under the gum line and be used to brush or scrape away bacteria that may cause periodontal 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 dog 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.

Does your pet need a dental exam? Our veterinarians are experienced in performing regular dental exams and treatments. Book an appointment today.

New Patients Welcome

Sun Valley Animal Center is accepting new patients at our two convenient locations! Our vets are passionate about the health of our Valley's pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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