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Do dental treats for dogs work?

Words by: Marta Skrabacz

Feb 06, 2020

Do dental treats for dogs work?

What do dental chews actually do? Do they work? It’s a question that gets asked quite a lot, especially since dental chews can be given-and-eaten by doggos within a matter of thirty minutes! The idea of a treat that can be for the good of the dog can sometimes sound a bit too good to be true.

Imagine the pain you feel from a cavity or the gnawing terror of a broken tooth. You wouldn’t wish that on any loved one. Which is why you need to do what you can to prevent it from happening to your dog.

So, what does dental care do for a dog? Why should you bother with dental chews at all? In a snapshot, you need to make sure your dog’s teeth are looked after. By brushing their teeth, feeding them bones and dental chews, you can avoid the downfalls of bad breath and – worse – poor teeth, or halitosis.

Dental hygiene for dogs is key and preventative oral care is the best way to look after your dog’s teeth and gums. To keep your dog’s pearly whites in the best of conditions, we recommend dental cleansing treats and chews as a supplement – and always in moderation – without forgoing the key elements of dental care.

The importance of looking after a dog’s teeth

Two things you want to do with doggo dental health:

  1. You want to make sure your dog’s breath doesn’t smell rank, and
  2. You need to keep their teeth and gums in great condition, safe from gum disease.

Because like any good dog, your dog likely spends time outside and inside, chewing and biting, and you might not always be aware of what’s been in their mouth. That mouth can be loaded up with bacteria because it’s warm and moist and your dog uses it to chew literally everything.

In best case situations, if not looked after, your dog’s teeth become loose and need to get removed. Worst case scenario? Your pupper lives in pain with dental disease, developing conditions like gingivitis, periodontal disease, and infected abscesses… possibly cursing the day you became their owner.

What is periodontal disease?

Dun-dun. Periodontal disease is the big, bad wolf of your dog’s nightmares.

Periodontal disease is gum disease: simple, plain, disgusting gum disease. And it’s the most common problem for dogs and their teeth, with plaque and bacteria leading to tartar build-up.

Tartar – also known as dental calculus – is a yellow or brown coloured deposit that forms when plaque hardens on your doggo’s teeth. Once it’s on the teeth (tartar buildup bonds to the tooth enamel and hardens), only a dental professional or vet can remove it.

Should I brush my dog’s teeth?

Yes, you should! Strange as it may sound, brushing your dog’s teeth is one of the best things you can do to maintain their dental health.

As with people, toothbrushing is the gold standard for dental care in dogs. Ideally, this should be done daily but even every second day can dramatically reduce the buildup of plaque. Leaving it for longer in between toothbrush sessions is less effective as this gives enough time for the plaque to harden into tartar, which is too hard to be removed by brushing alone.

If you do end up brushing their teeth, do not use human toothpaste (it likely contains ingredients toxic to dogs). Instead, seek out a toothpaste specially formulated for dogs.

If you don’t want to or simply can’t muster the effort, you can at least make sure that you get your dog’s teeth checked and cleaned at the vet each year.

What do dental treats actually do for dogs?

The reason why dental chews are good for your dog is simple: keeping their teeth healthy. Oral hygiene is a critical, and often overlooked (sadly!), part of owning and loving a pooch.

Dental chews have been designed with the intention to remove plaque and tartar through a dog’s most natural instinct: to chew and bite! At their essence, these chews reduce how often you need to have your dog’s teeth cleaned (but just to stay safe: make sure you’re getting their pearly-white seen by the vet at least once a year!)

The ultimate goal of a dog chew is to both provide a mechanical way to clean your dog’s teeth as well as provide some environmental enrichment or fun!

While they’re no substitute for a regular dental cleaning, dental chews have immense benefits for keeping your doggo’s teeth clean. They’re also low in fat, so keeping teeth lean doesn’t come at the cost of their figure.

What are the best bones for dog’s teeth?

Give your dog a bone. It’s not just a tagline – it’s really good advice. If dental chews aren’t for your dog, then bones are best.

Giving dogs bones helps prevent large amounts of plaque from accumulating and hardening into tartar. Also gives their chewy, little mouths something to wrap their teeth around that’s not your furniture.

If you wanna stay away from dehydrated bones, you can always try raw chicken, turkey, beef or lamb bones. Get ‘em from your local butcher for cheap and bulk price too, store ‘em in the fridge. They’re soft enough to chew and digest, helping your dog occupied for a while at a time.

Naturally, the thing you want to make sure you’re doing is keeping them supervised: with bones, there’s always the risk of choking or suffocation. Never give your dog a bone and then leave the premises. And always in moderation – eating too many bones will lead to constipation. The general rule of thumb is two raw bones about a week, and keep it a few days in between serving.

And this goes without saying, but it might need to be said – never give your dog cooked bones.


Marta Skrabacz

Major homebody and driven by a love of dogs, Marta's large goal in life is improving the health and happiness of her furry husky.