Tooth and gum problems are quite common among dogs. Periodontal disease is not limited only to the mouth and its associated structures because it can spread to other parts of the body if the bacteria from diseased gums can get into the bloodstream. In addition to professional cleaning and a good home dental regimen, dental treats and special diets also help support oral health and keep your dog’s teeth clean. However, these should be used with proper precaution.
Do dental treats work for dogs?
There are several benefits of dental treats for dogs. These include the following:
- Promote teeth and gum health
Chewing on dental treats can lead to less build-up of plaque and tartar. In fact, there are dog dental treats that can reduce the accumulation of plaque by nearly 70%. Some dental treats are coated with polyphosphate that has been shown to reduce tartar by 55%.
- Reduce bad breath in dogs
Certain dog treats are formulated with ingredients that can help improve a dog’s breath.
Types of dental treats and chews
There are 3 main types of dental treats/chews. These include:
- Rawhide chews - These are made from cowhide or hides of horses. Chewing on rawhide can help reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar. However, there has been a lot of controversy on rawhide.
- Dental chews - These chews are designed for teeth cleaning and brushing.
- Natural chews - These are usually single-ingredient treats that dogs chew on in the wild. Bully sticks, lamb ears and venison paddywacks are popular natural chews for dogs.
- Dog food - There are dog food diets that are formulated to help reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar. These can be achieved in several ways such as making the kibble larger and a little bit harder, adding a special coating that helps reduce plaque or tartar, and prevent bacteria from causing periodontal disease.
What is the best dental treat for dogs?
With the controversy on rawhide, and for a healthy, guilt-free dental treat, we recommend picking natural dental chews! These single-ingredient treats are not only very yummy but usually contain no preservatives and are lower in calories. They are usually longer lasting and are great at helping to prevent plaque and tartar build-up.
How often should you give your dog dental chews?
You should give your dog dental chews ranging from 1-3 times a week. Giving them daily may cause your dog to have an increase in calorie intake, and may cause obesity. Dental chews do help with your dog's periodontal health but it can never be as effective as daily brushing!
Are dog dental chews effective?
The answer is yes… and no. Despite our best efforts or struggle, most dogs and cats dislike our attempts to brush their teeth. Tooth brushing is one of the most effective things that pet owners can do to maintain their pet’s oral health, but if it isn’t getting done, it is not helping. If designed right, dental treats, and chews, do have the potential to help keep plaque and tartar buildup to a minimum but are not a substitute to brushing.
Are dental chews bad for dogs?
For dogs that are excited chewers, they tend to consume treats too quickly or may swallow whole pieces. This is when things will become dangerous for your furry pals as it may cause choking or blockages! Always keep an eye on your dog when giving them any treats or chews and take away any pieces of treats that are too small and have the potential to be a choking hazard.
Precautions to Observe
Dental dog treats are not created equal. Some offer more benefits and are safer than others. Here are some things to remember when choosing a dental dog treat:
- Know what’s best for your pet by making the right match based on your pet’s size, preferences, or personality.
- Don’t be too generous when it comes to giving treats to your pooch. Treats contain calories, and giving way too many can increase your pet’s risk to piling on the pounds.
Exercise caution when giving compressed chews, such as rawhide chews. These dental treats have been linked to cases of choking or gastrointestinal tract obstruction. Contamination is also an issue with compressed chews. Stomach irritation and intestinal upsets have also been noted in some dogs.