The Best Dental Chews For Dogs, According To A Veterinarian

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

These chews come in multiple sizes, according to your dog’s size: extra small, small, medium and large. Each bag contains approximately 30 single-layer, all-beef rawhide chews for easier digestion. The chews reduce reduce plaque and tartar, helping your pup’s breath stay fresh and teeth clean. They have an abrasive texture that works with your dog’s chewing.

Promising review:“I have a small dog who hates to have her teeth brushed. She is six years old and has a build up of plaque. I noticed a difference after just one of the chews. I have tried many other products and nothing has worked as well as this.” — Jenny from California

Greenies dental treats

Like Virbac chews, Greenies dental treats also come in different sizes for dogs: teenie, petite, regular and large. Each size comes in various chew counts, from three treats all the way up to 260 treats. The chews are flexible and bend to clean down to your dog’s gum line to target plaque and tartar. They’re made with easy-to-digest natural ingredients and vitamins.

Promising review: “Our dog is obsessed with greenies. We usually give her one after coming home from her evening walk and now she has become accustomed to this to the point that she will walk to the door and back as if she came home again to try and trick us into giving her another. We even got out friend’s dog hooked on them as well. We have a medium mixed-breed and think the petite size is just right.” — christa kraftician

OraVet dental hygiene chews

OraVet dental chews contain delmopinol, which forms a barrier to protect against harmful bacteria in your pup’s mouth and prevent bad breath. They’re made specifically for dogs that are six months and older. The flavor profile leans toward poultry with a pleasant vanilla aroma. OraVet chews come in various sizes according to the size of your dog: extra small, small, medium and large.

Promising review: “My vet recommended I get these chews for my schnauzer’s teeth. She always builds up quite a bit of tartar on her teeth during a year. Since purchasing these chews for the last couple of years the build up has been very slow. I purchase them on the monthly plan and a new package is always delivered before she uses the last one. — Debbie

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