We really cannot expect our pet dogs to brush their teeth by themselves. However, there are a lot of tools or devices that we can give to them to help them on their way to healthier teeth. One of the most helpful objects in terms of ensuring optimum canine dental health is a doggie dental chew. These come in various types, shapes, and even flavors; picking the right one can be quite challenging particularly for absolute newbies. Not to fret, though as we’ve prepared a listing of the 5 best dental chews for dogs as well as a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you in your pursuit.
Dental Chews for Dogs Buying Guide
Buying a dental chew for your pooch is not really that difficult as there are certain things that you simply have to look for to narrow down your choices. While these may not be absolute, they can nevertheless, serve as guidelines for you to consider when picking the right dental treats or chews for your hound.
- Assess the chew strength of your pet
If you’re planning to give a dental chew to your pup, rawhide or even cow hooves may not really be the best product for them. Their chew force will be quite insignificant relative to the toughness of the doggie dental chew. A more appropriate item will be something that is chewy. It should also not be ultra-soft, otherwise there won’t be enough mechanical action to remove particles on the dentition. Likewise, if you have an adult dog that happens to be a very powerful chewer, giving it soft dental chews will be a very expensive proposition as they can easily chow down on these treats in minutes. What you will need are treats that are more resilient, tougher against the chew strength of your pooch.
- Look at the ingredients
Dental chews come in various types. Some are formulated more like a nutritious treat while others go for the more natural without any added ingredients. In case you want something nutritious for your pet, you might have to really look at the ingredients, one by one.
In our list of the 5 best dental chews for dogs, we listed 4 products that came with nutritional value. Now, it’s not enough that you only look at the different nutrients listed in the label, you will also have to check if this is appropriate for your pet. For example, we did mention that dogs thrive on high protein diet particularly for building and maintaining body tissues. However, too much protein is also not good for pets that have kidney problems since these macromolecules are very large and the kidneys will have to work double-time to filter them from the blood so that they don’t get flushed out into the urine. This puts additional strain on the kidneys which, if it is already in a compromised state, can worsen its condition.
As a rule, you need to pick products that contain only natural ingredients. It is okay to get some synthetic ingredients as long as these are considered safe and do not constitute major ingredients of the product. In other words, you will need to do your homework regarding these ingredients.
- Consider giving your hound raw bone
There are now plenty of recreational raw bones intended primarily for cleaning your canine’s teeth and oral cavity. These are often sourced from organic and antibiotic-free animals. We had to emphasize “often” because there are those manufacturers that manufacture recreational raw bone employing unscrupulous practices. So you might be wary of these. That is why, as much as possible always supervise your dog every time it is chewing on something, especially raw bone. These can get easily chipped and the fragments can be swallowed by your pet. This can injure the lining of its digestive tract or can also get lodged in the gut.
- Choose natural dental chews wisely
Just like raw bone there are manufacturers that offer natural chews like bully sticks, rawhide, cow hooves, pork ears, deer antlers, and the like. These are very excellent dental chews as they are hardy enough to withstand the chewing force of your pet. However, you really have to be wise when you do buy these types of chews as these are sourced from animals. As such, make sure that the animals these products are obtained from were grown and processed using natural and organic methods. There should be no antibiotics, bleaching, additives, hormones, or any other harsh substance used in its manufacture.
Does My Dog Really Need a Dental Chew?
Now that we’ve taken care of the business of how you can choose the right dental chew for your beloved dog, it’s time to address one of the nagging questions that newbie dog owners have. Does your dog really need a dental chew?
Well, let’s put it this way. Dogs spend most of the day licking, biting, nipping, and chewing on objects and surfaces that we simply do not know if there are microorganisms like bacteria, virus, or fungi present. The food that we give them, especially dry kibbles, are also filled with starch that bacteria and fungi really adore. It is this combination of environmental debris and leftover food particles that give canines a rather ‘unhealthy’ oral cavity.
Normally, these microorganisms in our pet’s mouth do not cause disease; not yet anyway. That is because it takes an awful lot of time for them to establish a foothold on the surface of your pet’s teeth. If food debris and other starchy particles are present on the teeth or in the gum line, this is an excellent chance for these germs to hide and start multiplying by feeding on the carbohydrates contained in these food debris particles. Over time, they will be releasing a very thin, very clear, yet very tough protective layer of film that we call plaque. This helps protect germs from mechanical forces. Give it a few more weeks and this thin layer of protective film begins to harden into something like cement. This is now what we call tartar.
Underneath both plaque and tartar, the germs continuously secrete highly acidic substances that erode the surface of the teeth, creating tooth decay. If it reaches the gum line, this leads to irritation, producing gingivitis. If this is allowed to continue, both the teeth and the gums become affected leading to what everyone now knows as periodontal disease.
Again, if this is allowed to deteriorate, the bacteria can gain access to the blood vessels and be carried by the blood to be lodged into other organs inside the dog’s body. This is the start of more serious health problems like heart valve disease in dogs as well as massive infection of the blood. And to think that it all started with a few food debris and other particles that your dog failed to remove.
You really cannot blame your dog, though. It doesn’t know how to brush its teeth. It also doesn’t know how to use the dental floss or even the mouthwash. The only thing it knows is to chew. That is why you need to give your canine friend only the best possible dental chew possible to help physically remove the debris and particles that can become the starting point to the development of plaque and tartar.
Unless you’re going to brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis, you’re better off giving them a dental treat.
Related Post: Best Toothpastes For Dogs
What are the Benefits of Dental Chews for My Dog?
You now understand why it is often necessary to give your pooch dental chews every now and then. Let us try to summarize what we have been discussing so far in terms of the benefits that these dental chews provide to your pet.
- Improve the health of its teeth and gums
Doggie chews clean the teeth and remove debris from the gums. This prevents bacteria from taking up residence in these areas so they will not create plaque and tartar. At the same time, germs will not secrete acids that will corrode the surface of the teeth, maintaining its integrity and strength while also firming up the gums. Technically, what it does is that it greatly improves canine dental health.
- Reduce bad breath
Aside from the acids that bacteria secrete, they also give off byproducts of their metabolism. This mixes with your pet’s saliva producing a characteristic foul odor. You really don’t want your pooch sticking its face right in front of you and licking you incessantly if its breath stinks like the sewer. Preventing bacteria from colonizing the teeth can help reduce bad breath in dogs.
- Prevent periodontal disease
This is a natural end-result of an improved teeth and gum health. Because the integrity of the teeth and gums is preserved, you eliminate the risk of periodontal disease in your pet. Additionally, this also helps minimize the risk of developing oral health-associated systemic infections.
What are the Different Types of Dog Chews?
As you may have observed in our discussion, there are various types of dog chews that you can buy to help improve the dental health of your pet. Here are some of the more common.
- Dental diets – These are dry kibble-like chews that provide nutrition while also helping your pet to clean its teeth, freshen its breath, and remove plaque. These are often larger than dry kibbles and are especially designed to have ridges or nubs for the mechanical removal of food particles.
- Dental treats – There are certain products that look like an ordinary doggie chew but are especially blended with a variety of substances or even medications to help improve canine oral health. For example, there are dental treats that are infused with 10% of chlorhexedine gluconate which helps kill bacteria within the oral cavity.
- Rawhide chews and bully sticks – We already mentioned this above. These are excellent dental chews as they are more resilient to the chewing force of dogs. Depending on the product, these are also very rich in proteins as they are sourced from animals. That being said, you’d have to be careful in your choice as there is a tendency that you might end up with a mediocre product.
- Chew toys – Some doggie toys are designed with ridges or nubs to help remove debris from the dog’s mouth. Canines are naturally playful and they love to bite and pull onto things. KONG doggie toys come with refillable compartments which you can fill with delicious treats. The rubber material is considered safe and very resistant to chewing so your pooch gets to clean its teeth while enjoying some delicious treats.
Managing your pet’s oral and dental health is necessary for preventing tooth decay, bad breath, and periodontal disease in dogs. Since they cannot brush their teeth you have to give then a dental chew that is appropriate to their chew force. You can also choose from a variety of dental chews to help you narrow down your options.