The best dog dental chew
Dogs use their mouths to interact with and explore the world, so it's doubly important that their teeth remain healthy. Dog dental chews can remove tartar and freshen breath, helping with overall dental health, though they can't replace the act of brushing your dog's teeth.
Our buying guide can teach you more about dog dental chews and includes our top recommendations at the end. Our number one choice is Greenies' Teenie Dental Dog Treats, which are both effective at cleaning teeth and palatable enough for dogs to consider a treat.
Considerations when choosing dog dental chews
If you were looking at the ingredients of a dog dental chew out of context, you might not think they were of the highest quality. The main purpose of dental chews is to have a slightly abrasive texture to disrupt plaque and tartar, so they tend to include rough, fibrous ingredients, such as cereals and cellulose, rather than the quality cuts of meat you might want to find in a dog treat. You can find some wheat- and grain-free options for dogs with allergies, but they're few and far between. Some dog dental chews include active ingredients such as sodium tripolyphosphate, which is used to break down plaque and tartar.
Choose an appropriate size of dog dental chew for the size of your dog. If you give your dog a chew that's too small, they could choke on it, where a dental chew that's too large for your dog could be too much for them to handle. Most manufacturers list a recommended weight range for each size of chew to make it easier to find the correct size for your dog.
Some dog dental chews have a seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). This is a good indicator that they work well.
You can find dental chews with bumps and ridges all over. This added texture can help scrape the teeth and disrupt tartar.
Most dog dental chews don't have a specific flavor, they just taste like what they're made of. However, they may have particular ingredients added to enhance flavor, such as brewer's yeast or meat meal.
Check the calorie content of your chosen chews and reduce your dog's meal size by this amount of calories, especially if they need to lose weight or are only just maintaining a healthy weight.
A pack of dog dental chews can cost anywhere between $5 and $100, depending on the size of the package, the size of the chews, and their overall quality.
Q. Why is it important to keep my dog's teeth clean?
A. Dogs rely on their teeth for all kinds of activities -- eating their food, chomping on chew toys, and playing. If you don't keep your dog's teeth in good condition, it's likely that they'll lose some teeth with age, which may prevent them from doing some of the things they love. Even if your dog doesn't lose teeth, they may suffer from cavities, abscesses, and gum disease, all of which can cause them discomfort. Not to mention, the cost of professional dental care that could be prevented by simply keeping your dog's teeth clean.
Q. How regularly should I feed dental chews to my dog?
A. This depends on the brand of chews, the size of each chew, and the size of your dog. Check the packaging of your chosen dental chews and don't exceed the maximum amount for your dog's weight. However, you don't have to feed the maximum allowed number of chews if it seems excessive -- one a day or every other day should suffice in conjunction with a wider oral care routine.
Dog dental chews we recommend
Best of the best: Greenies' Teenie Dental Dog Treats
Our take: These nutritionally complete dental chews are suited to small dogs, but the same manufacturer makes chews in a range of sizes.
What we like: Recommended by veterinarians. The texture helps clean teeth right down to the gumline. Ingredients break down easily for safe digestion.
What we dislike: On the pricey side.
Best bang for your buck: Pedigree's Dentastix Large Original Dog Treats
Our take: Some of the most popular dental chews on the market, and affordable, too.
What we like: Distinctive X shape helps get to all tooth surfaces. Triple-action to clean teeth, freshen breath, and reduce buildup of plaque and tartar.
What we dislike: Some reports of receiving spoiled or too-hard chews.
Choice 3: VetIQ's Minties Dental Dog Treats
Our take: The minty flavor from peppermint oil makes these chews a little different from others on the market.
What we like: Heavily textured design allows for better cleaning power. Freshens breath and helps get rid of plaque and tartar. Made in the U.S.A.
What we dislike: Chews are smaller than some buyers expected.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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