Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

How do dog dental chews work?

Our Pflugerville veterinarians explain how to find out if a dog dental chew is worth purchasing, which factors to consider, and the safety tips every dog owner should keep in mind. 

Are dental chews good for dogs?

As dog parents, we are aware of how important good oral hygiene is to the long-term health of our dogs and are constantly searching for new time-saving techniques. Even though brushing their teeth is one of the best ways to prevent periodontal disease (or the unsightly buildup of plaque, tartar, and inflamed gums) in our furry friends, they typically don't appreciate our efforts to maintain their oral health.

That’s why dog dental chews, along with treats and sticks, have been growing in popularity in recent years. There are a lot of choices out there for products that purport to help keep your dog’s teeth clean. But before you get overwhelmed, let’s review some of these oral healthcare products to identify whether they are actually worth the cost.

Will dog dental chews work for my pet?

In terms of whether dental chews are effective, there is no clear-cut answer. The dry kibble can be satisfying for your dog to crunch in her mouth and taste delicious. They might also help keep your dog's teeth clean. Though properly made chews may be able to lessen the accumulation of tartar and plaque, they are merely an additional tool and should not be used in place of regular brushing and professional dental cleanings.

Feel free to use dental chews to supplement your dog’s oral care routine - somewhat like we sometimes chew sugar-free gum to keep our breath fresh, but we wouldn’t use this in place of regularly brushing our teeth or visiting the dentist.

Consider these factors before buying dog dental chews which claim they support 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 your 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 get his chew on every day, to give them the maximum benefit out of their dental chews.

A Note About Dog Breeds, Teeth and 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.

Keep in mind that your dog's immune system, age, past, breed, and other factors may have an impact on his health and influence whether or not he experiences dental problems. For routine health checks, your dog should be seen by a licensed veterinarian.

Can puppies have dental chews?

It’s important to hold off on dental treats until your puppy is around 6 months old. It could upset their tummies, and dental chews may be harmful to a puppies baby teeth.

The Bottom Line

While some dental chews are beneficial to dogs, they are not a substitute for regular brushing or professional dental care. These components of a great oral health care routine should be kept on your dog's calendar to ensure that their teeth 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

Pfennig Lane Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pflugerville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(512) 989-2222 Contact