The 9 Best Dog Dental Chews, According to Veterinarians and Pet Pros
Your pup has a favorite tooth-friendly chew toy, gets regular cleanings at the vet, and has a dental hygiene routine complete with a doggie toothbrush. Yet, there are still a few moments where their yawn is potent enough to wake you up from a nap. While persistent bad odor can point to bigger health problems that would need to be diagnosed by your veterinarian, occasional bouts of bad breath may be improved with dog dental chews.
What Are Dog Dental Chews?
These types of treats are used in between brushing sessions to freshen breath by encouraging dogs to, well, chew. They tend to have a more lasting effect than dog breath mints and fresheners on the market for this reason. "Some [chews] work by manually rubbing and scraping off bad smelling bacteria and stuck food from between the teeth as the dog chews," says Mary Altomare, DVM, head veterinarian at Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter in East Hanover, N.J. "Others—my favorites—also have enzymes and other ingredients in the chew that work to break down bacteria and tartar, even without the aid of manual rubbing, so this will continue to work even when your dog is done enjoying their chew."
How Often Should I Give My Dog Dental Chews?
Less is more when it comes to how often to give your dog dental chews. Altomare recommends 2 to 3 times a week, keeping calorie content in mind. As you incorporate these treats into your routine, monitor your dog's dental health. "Chews are best used before the dog's breath and tartar become a real problem," Altomare says. "We have a lot of clients looking to remedy bad breath, but usually once that happens there is so much calculus and gingivitis that a full dental at the vet office is needed."
The bottom line: It's not a bad idea to give your veterinarian a call if you have concerns about your dog's dental health, and if you want their opinion on the chews you pick.