Humans aren’t the only ones who should maintain their dental hygiene. If you have a dog, you know the struggle of going in to cuddle with them and being met by a not-so-pleasant smell radiating from their mouth. There are many reasons for your dog’s breath may not be ultra fresh, with the most common being bad oral hygiene and periodontal disease. The same way plaque can build up on our teeth is the same way it builds up on theirs, resulting in bad breath.
Aside from taking your pup to a veterinarian to make sure there aren’t any other underlying health issues that may be contributing to their breath, and using a vet-recommended canine toothpaste, there are other steps you can take. Dental chews can help prevent and remove plaque and tartar buildup from your pup’s teeth, and give them something to chew on that isn’t your furniture. But it’s important to pay close attention to the type of chews.
Dr. Zay Satchu, co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Bond Vet, a New York City-based vet clinic and animal hospital, recommends that before you buy any dental chews, you look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal. The VOHC is a group of veterinary dentists that study and review products with dental claims to assess efficacy.
“By having this seal, you can be assured that the products you are using are actually beneficial to your pet’s dental health,” Satchu told HuffPost.
However, she also noted that while these chews can help your pet’s oral hygiene, brushing is still important. “Dental chews and treats can promote good dental health, but do not stack up the same as brushing with a toothbrush or wipes. With brushing, there is the physical removal of bacteria and debris from the teeth surfaces, which prevents tartar formation,” she said.
Relying calories on dental chews for oral is also not recommended, as Satchu said they add calories to your pet’s diet and can cause weight gain. “They should not be given every day as they are a bit too calorie-dense and will skew the nutritional balance of your pet’s diet,” she said.
Satchu recommended three VOHC-approved dental chews for dogs that you find more information about below.
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Virbac CET enzymatic oral hygiene chews
Greenies dental treats
OraVet dental hygiene chews