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Do dental chews really work for dogs?

Have you ever wondered how to tell if a dog dental chew is worth buying? Our Turlock vets offer some advice on which factors to consider, and even whether puppies can have dental chews. 

Do dental treats work for dogs?

Most dog owners understand that maintaining our dogs' dental hygiene is critical to our pups' long-term health, and we're always looking for a new way to save time. And, while tooth brushing is one of the most effective methods we have of preventing our canine companions from getting periodontal disease (or the precursors of plaque buildup and inflamed gums), they're not always appreciative of our efforts! 

For this reason, dog dental chews, treats, and sticks have become more popular in recent years. With the current array of products to choose from, it would be easy to become overwhelmed with all the choices. Today, our Turlock vets will take a closer look at these oral healthcare products and discuss whether they are actually worth the cost. 

How do dog dental chews work?

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

However, while properly designed chews may reduce plaque and tartar buildup, they cannot replace routine dental cleanings. They can be used to supplement 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 the gum to replace regularly brushing our teeth or visiting the dentist. 

There a few things you should consider before buying dog dental chews that claim to support dental health:

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

Allow your dog about 30 minutes of daily chew time for them to get the maximum benefit out of their dental chews.

Dog Breeds, Teeth, & 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?

You can offer your puppy dental chews once they are 6 months old. It is not recommended to offer chew sticks for puppies under 3 months as it may be a choking hazard!

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.

Is your dog due for a dental exam? Contact our vets in Turlock. We can check your pet's teeth to ensure they are in good condition.

New Patients Welcome

Taylor Veterinary Emergency is accepting new patients! Our experienced Turlock vets are passionate about the health of cats and dogs. Get in touch today to book your first appointment.

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