Canine Dental Health 101: A Guide To Giving Dog Dental Chews For Your Pet

dog chews
(Last Updated On: December 28, 2023)

Did you know that 80% of dogs over three suffer from some form of dental disease? Dental illnesses can cause severe problems for your dog, such as pain, infection, tooth loss, and even organ damage. That’s why taking care of your dog’s oral health is essential in preventing dental disease from developing or worsening. 

Giving them dental chews is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve and maintain your dog’s oral health. Dog dental chews are specially designed treats that help clean your dog’s teeth and gums and freshen their breath. They also provide other benefits for your dog, such as satisfying their natural urge to chew, relieving boredom and anxiety, and strengthening their jaws and teeth. 

However, not all dogs are suitable for them. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to choose and use dog dental chews for your furry pal and what to expect from them. This blog post will cover precisely that. 

The Importance Of Oral Care For Dogs 

While some dogs’ breath may not bother their owners too much, ignoring potential dental issues can have serious health consequences down the line. A dog’s mouth is just as important to their overall well-being as ours.

Plaque and tartar buildup between brushings can lead to gum inflammation and pain. Over time, this can develop into serious gum disease if left unchecked. But it doesn’t stop there – oral health has been linked to problems in other bodily systems as well. Keeping up with regular brushing and dental checks is so important to prevent pain and protect against future issues.

It’s easy to think brushing is just about fresh breath, but we’re really giving our dogs the best defense against dental problems. By taking the time to brush a few times a week, we’re protecting our pup’s smile and supporting their whole-body health in the long run. Their teeth and gums will thank us for the effort with many happy, comfortable years to come. It’s a low-effort way to

Different Types Of Dental Chews


Navigating the dog chew aisle can be extremely challenging, especially with so many types and brands. Here’s a breakdown of the main types available: 

  • Rawhide chews – These are made from the hides of cows or horses, and they can reduce plaque and tartar by up to 50%. They come in different sizes and shapes; some may have added flavors or enzymes. However, some dogs may have difficulty digesting rawhide or choke on large pieces. Therefore, you should always supervise your dog when giving them rawhide chews and select the appropriate size for their mouth. 
  • Dental chews, bones, and biscuits – These are edible products specially formulated to clean your dog’s teeth and gums. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has approved them, confirming their efficacy in reducing plaque and tartar by at least 10%. Some of these products may also contain ingredients that prevent bad breath, such as chlorophyll, mint, or parsley. 
  • Dental diets – These are dry kibble foods designed to promote dental health. They have larger and tougher pieces that require more chewing, which helps scrape off plaque and tartar. They may also contain ingredients that prevent bacterial growth, such as polyphosphate. 
  • Chew toys – These are non-edible products made from rubber, nylon, or other materials. They can help massage your dog’s gums and remove plaque and tartar from their teeth. However, you should ensure that the chew toy is durable and safe for your dog and does not break into small pieces that they can swallow or cause choking. 

When introducing any new chews or dental products, it’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s reaction. Even items designed specifically for oral care could potentially cause issues in some dogs. Their comfort should always be the top priority.

Watch them carefully as they work on the chew. Make sure they’re enjoying it and not showing signs of pain, sneezing, itching, or anything else that might indicate intolerance. You’ll want to discontinue use right away if you see anything suspicious. Your pup’s health comes before anything else.

At the same time, many dogs do seem to genuinely like dental chews and find them rewarding. When tolerated well, they can be great for helping to reduce tartar and plaque buildup between professional cleanings. Just be vigilant about watching for any adverse responses. With a little supervision, these chews have the potential to really support your dog’s oral hygiene routine when combined with regular brushing.

Choosing The Right Chew For Your Dog 

With so many dental chews available, how do you pick the best one for your dog? There are a few factors to consider, such as your dog’s size, chewing style, preferences, and health conditions. Here are some tips to help you choose the right chew for your dog: 

  • Consult your veterinarian – Seeking advice from your vet is essential in identifying the optimal chew for your dog, considering factors such as age, breed, health status, and dental condition. Your vet can guide the frequency and duration of giving your dog these treats and offer insights into monitoring for any potential issues. Additionally, they may suggest specific non-toxic brands or products that have undergone testing and earned approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
  • Know your dog’s chewsonality – Dogs vary in their chewing styles; some are gentle nibblers, while others are power chewers. Preferences also differ, with some favoring hard chews and others opting for softer varieties. Additionally, individual dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients. Take note of your dog’s chewing behavior and habits, and seek chews that align with their personality and particular needs.  
  • Choose the appropriate size and hardness – Chews that are too small or hard for your dog can be dangerous. They can swallow small chews whole or get stuck in their throat, while hard chews can crack their teeth or injure their gums. Pick those large enough so your dog can’t fit the whole thing in their mouth at once and that is soft enough to bend or break with moderate pressure. If you have a chihuahua, a tiny dog chew would be perfect. 
  • Remember the fun factor – Chewing should be enjoyable, not a chore. Pick those your dog loves, whether it’s a satisfying bone crunch or a dental treat’s yummy flavor. A happy pup means a happy mouth! 

Dog dental chews can be a helpful and enjoyable addition to your dog’s oral care routine. By selecting the right chew for your dog, you can help them maintain a healthy smile. 

Final Thoughts

Your dog deserves the best care possible, and that includes their oral health. Dental chews are a great way to supplement your dog’s dental routine with all the benefits you can get from them. However, it’s also crucial to choose the right one for your dog’s size, chewing style, preferences, and health conditions.

You can find the perfect chew for your pet by following the tips in this article. Also, remember to schedule regular comprehensive health check-ups with your veterinarian. Don’t wait; give your dog a dental chew today and see the difference it can make!

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