Like most dogs, the act of chewing can be satisfying and provide great enrichment. Dental chews for dogs have been especially popular over the past few years, promising to entertain your dog while keeping their teeth clean. But are these dog dental treats all that effective, or are they just another treat to add extra pounds to your pet?
The team at Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital is here to separate the facts from fiction when it comes to these products.
First, Let’s Talk About Pet Dental Care
There are several brands of dental chews and treats on the market. Many of these suggest that they are effective in eliminating plaque and tartar and otherwise giving your pooch better breath.
Before we get into these claims, it must be said that even the best of the best dental chews do not replace the need for regular tooth brushing and dental examinations during your pet’s annual checkup.
Dental care should become a normal part of your dog’s daily routine. Brushing helps prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, as well as debris on your pet’s teeth. Most dogs over the age of 3 years have at least the beginning of periodontal disease. Since your pet’s oral health is linked to overall health, by getting comfortable with brushing your dog’s teeth, you will be contributing to their well-being.
What to Look for in Dog Dental Treats
Many manufacturers wil claim that their products eliminate the need for tooth brushing, or promise that they get rid of a certain percentage of plaque and tartar. The majority of plaque and tartar, however, can only effectively be removed through dental cleaning, once it has developed on the enamel.
Yes, there is evidence that the act of chewing will help to clean the teeth and rid them of certain levels of debris and plaque, but not to the extent of normal dental care.
The great news is that the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is an organization that evaluates the efficacy of certain pet products. They ensure that the dental treat removes plaque and tartar as the manufacturer suggests and also looks at the quality and safety of these chews. A good way to know your four-legged is getting a quality dental chew is to look for the seal from the VOHC on any possible purchases.
Choose from some of the best rated VOHC products that your dog also thinks is the best. Just be sure not to overindulge. A dog dental chew a few times each week is enough to keep your pup chewing, but not adding one too many calories to their diet.
Don’t Chew On This
While chewing is a natural love for pets, there are some commonly given items that can cause harm. Whether it is from a laceration, choking risk, or gastrointestinal obstruction, these things are dangerous and should be avoided.
- Bones– These traditional favorites are quite dangerous because they are too hard for your dog to chew on. They are often too large and cause your dog to choke or get lodged in the GI tract. They are also known to splinter and cause internal punctures and lacerations. Many broken and damaged teeth are linked to bones, too.
- Rawhide – Rawhide is a popular choice with many dog owners, and some dogs do okay with it. The problem with rawhide is that it is hard to digest and can cause digestive upset. Because it is a sturdy chew, it is also a choking or obstruction risk when a pet swallows too big a piece.
- Sticks – Sticks, like bones, can break apart and the sharp pieces are a hazard. Choking and internal injuries due to lacerations are caused when a dog chews on sticks and branches.
If you have any questions about your dog’s dental health or the best chews for your bestie, please contact us. We can provide a list of recommendations for safe and effective dog dental treats.