We’ve all been there. Our sweet, adorable pup climbs up close for some face-on-face smooches but gag. You just can’t with that bad dog breath!
Let’s be honest. Dog breath is never pleasant but when it’s really stinky, that’s usually a sign of a dental problem.
As more and more research is done on our canine companions, we are able to learn more and more about how important it really is that we as their owners keep up with their oral hygiene. Now, this may seem like a no brainer for some fur parents today, but dog dental care is still a relatively new development in the grand scheme of pet parenthood.
Do you know how important keeping up with your pet’s oral health is? The facts are out and research shows that a pet’s poor dental health can directly correlate with a number of other health complications in dogs and bad oral health can even affect our pet’s overall mood and behavior.
Think of it this way. When your teeth hurt, you hurt. You don’t have much of an appetite because eating is painful. If you don’t go to the dentist, tooth decay can lead to infections in the mouth that can be extremely dangerous. The same is true for our pets.
That’s why it’s so important for pet parents to take a proactive approach to pet dental health. Along with keeping up with routine vet appointments and brushing your pet’s teeth regularly with a pet safe toothbrush and toothpaste, you can also help your dog’s mouth stay healthy by providing him with tooth-friendly dental treats and chews.
That’s right folks – we are talking about doggy dental chews!
What Are Doggy Dental Chews?
Dental chews are treats or chews that help eliminate tooth plaque and keep teeth and gums healthy.
Dog dental chews are exactly what they sound like: they are treats or chews that are specially designed to help eliminate tooth plaque and tartar and to also massage the gums as your dog munches on them.
Dental chews can come in many different shapes and sizes but regardless of what they look like, their job is usually the same – to help keep your dog’s mouth healthy in between regular vet visits and tooth brushing.
You can usually purchase dog dental chews in packs and offer them to your dog as needed or based on the package’s directions. For the most part, dog dental chews cost about the same as treats or other chew toys. They are also available to purchase in most pet shops and online stores, making access to them as easy as 1 2 3.
But just how do dog dental chews work? Let’s find out.
How Do Dental Chews Help With Doggy Breath Odor?
Dog dental chews work by massaging your dogs gums and scraping his teeth to help remove surface plaque.
Dog dental chews work by massaging your dogs gums and scraping his teeth to help remove surface plaque and improve overall oral health, which in turn aids in your dog’s stinky breath issues.
Dental chew toys and dog dental chew treats are different.
Doggy dental chew toys are not edible and are designed with ridges and nubs that scrape along your dog’s teeth as he’s gnawing and also massage your dog’s gums. They also last longer than treats and are made tougher, as they aren’t designed to be eaten, but merely chewed on.
Dental treats are, yes you guessed it, treats. They are different from regular treats in that they are made with certain ingredients that aid in dental health.
These ingredients are also a bit rougher, so these dental chew treats won’t be nice and soft like some of your dog’s other favorite treats. Instead, they will usually be crunchy and require some good chewing to help scrape that icky plaque from your dog’s teeth.
With that being said, we should note that not all dental chews and dental chew treats are created equal, and what works for one dog may not work for your dog.
So, what should you look for in a good, high quality dental chew? Keep reading to find out!
What Should I Look For In Quality Dental Chews For My Dog?
Finding a good dental chew that works for your dog may take some research.
Like we mentioned above, not all doggy dental chews and dental treats are created equal, which is why there are so many different types of dental chews and treats available.
Finding the right dental chew for your dog is going to take some time and research, but there are a few basic things you should look for in a quality dental chew or dental chew treat.
- Dental Treats Or Dental Toys. Some dogs like to chew and gnaw while others may be more interested in a dental chew if it is an edible treat. It’s important to look for a dental chew with high-quality ingredients, especially if the chew is a treat that your dog will consume.
- Reviews And Ratings. Do a bit of research on the dental chew you are considering. Read the reviews and make sure other owners are happy with the results. A dental chew is only worth investing in if it is going to help keep your dog’s mouth healthy. Otherwise you might as well just buy your dog a regular treat or chew toy.
- Dental Chew Flavor. You may have found the world’s best dental chew but it’s really not going to do a thing for your dog if your dog refuses to chew on it. Flavor is super important when it comes to dental chews, especially the treat dental chews, because the yummy smell and flavor entices dogs to get chewing! Keep in mind that not all dental chew toys are flavored, but some dogs who are heavy chewers may not need the flavor to get them to chew. If you think your dog is going to need the flavor and scent to gnaw, then go with a flavored dental chew.
- Durability. This specifically applies to dog dental chew toys. A dental chew toy is not meant to be consumed so make sure you find one that is strong enough to stand up to your specific dog’s jaws.
- Size. Your dog’s size does matter. The bigger the dog, the bigger the dental chew and vice versa. Luckily, dental chews come in a good variety of sizes and shapes so finding the one that is perfect for your unique dog shouldn’t be a problem.
Worried that you don’t have the time to do all the research you need to find the right dental chew for your dog? We get it. And we’ve got you.
Below are 15 of our favorite doggy dental chews. Take a look!
Merrick Oral Care Dental Dog Treats For Small Dogs
Did you know that smaller breed dogs are more prone to suffering from dental issues than large breed dogs?
That’s why we love these Merrick Dental Dog Treats for small dogs. Somewhere between a treat and a toy, these brush-like edible chews are meant to help freshen your dog’s breath while also massaging their gums and scraping off plaque.
Best of all, this dental chew treat is made with all natural, high-quality ingredients and is easy to digest, making it ideal for dogs with sensitive tummies.
Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs
These Virbac C.E.T dental chews are great for dogs of all sizes and come in different varieties. They are specially designed treats that help to both help freshen your dog’s stinky breath while also helping to reduce the buildup of plaque.
Best of all, we love that these dental chew treats are healthy enough for everyday use and also veterinarian recommended.
Ark Naturals Brushless Dental Chews
So these Ark Brushless Dental Chews are awesome. Of course, we always love all natural products for dogs and we love that these chews are safe, healthy, and made with natural breath fresheners like honey.
Like a number of the dental chews on this list, they are veterinarian recommended and you can even use them two times a day to help keep your puppy’s mouth happy and healthy.
These dental chews promise to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup while also keeping your dog’s breath smelling fresh. This is a great product for busy pet parents who are worried they won’t be able to brush their dog’s teeth as often as necessary or for dogs who simply hate doggy toothbrushes altogether.
Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews For Small Dogs
Again, we know that small dogs are more prone to suffering from serious oral health issues and tooth decay, which is why we love the Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews for small dogs.
And since “vet” is in the name, you already know this product is vet-recommended and safe for everyday use.
In fact, Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews are clinically proven and are made with low-calorie ingredients to help keep your pet’s mouth and body healthy. Last but not least, these dental chews promise to leave a protective barrier, so your dog’s mouth will stay healthy and fresh even after they have finished the chew.
Blue Buffalo Dental Bones Natural Adult Dental Chew
Blue Buffalo is a tried and true brand and is one of our favorite high-quality food brands for dogs, so it’s no surprise that we would trust their dog dental chews.
These dental chews are made with healthy ingredients and are free from any by-products. They are highly flavored so these are great chews for dogs who need a little bit more encouragement to get to chewing.
Blue Buffalo Dental Chew Bones are digestible as well and come in different size varieties for different size dogs.
Arm & Hammer NUbbies Dental Treats
Arm & Hammer has always been a trusted brand for humans, so why not trust them for your dogs dental hygiene?
These treats are highly digestible and made with healthy, safe ingredients that help reduce plaque and tartar buildup between brushes.
They also come in a number of different size varieties and even come in different flavors. Does your dog like chicken? They’ve got it! Or perhaps your dog loves beef? That’s on the list!
Most importantly, Arm & Hammer promises high-quality ingredients that are safe and healthy enough for every day use to help keep your dog’s dental health in ship shape.
Greenies Original Natural Dental Dog Treats
Greenies is a very well known brand of dog dental chews and they are so popular because they work.
There are a number of different types of Greenie dental chews available but we do love the original as they promote natural ingredients and that help to reduce bad breath, reduce plaque and tartar buildup, and are made with quality ingredients that are easy to digest.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Smoochies Natural Dog Dental Chews
These Rachael Ray Nutrish Dental Chews come in several different flavors and size varieties, but what really makes them stand out to us is that they are long lasting chews that keep your dog chewing longer and thus cleaning his teeth longer.
The unique design and flavor infused treats also provide one end that cleans and one end that freshens breath, so this is a perfect dental chew for dogs with stinky mouths. Get ready for the doggy kisses, ladies and gents!
Vet One DuoClenz Enzyme Coated Dog Dental Chews
The Vet One DuoClenz Dental Chew is a product that is not only veterinarian recommended, but it’s veterinarian formulated for optimal health and dental hygiene.
These dental chews are actually coated with enzymes to help keep teeth clean and keep breath fresh while reducing tartar and plaque buildup for an overall healthy doggy smile.
You can buy them in different size varieties and different flavors as well, which is always a plus when you have a picky eater on your hands.
VetIQ Minties Dog Dental Bone Treats
We simply love the VetIQ Minties Dog Dental Bone Treats. We obviously love that they are vet recommended but we also love that these dental treats are made with high-quality ingredients that are easy to digest.
These dental treats are made with special ingredients like alfalfa and parsley, as well as fennel dill and peppermint to help naturally keep your dog’s breath fresh. Other ingredients and a unique design help to reduce plaque and tartar buildup and keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy between vet visits and regular brushing.
Zesty Paws Probiotic Dental Sticks For Dogs
What we love most about Zesty Paws Probiotic Dental Sticks is that they are made with great ingredients like sweet potato, ginger, bone broth, and hemp. These dental chews not only help to clean teeth and keep breath fresh, but they also contain probiotics to aid in digestion!
Frontline Oral Defense Daily Dental Chews For Large Dogs
Just because small dogs are more prone to suffering from dental issues doesn’t mean that large dog breeds are safe from dental decline.
That is why we love Frontline Oral Defense Dailey Dental Chews for large breed dogs. These dental chews are made with healthy ingredients that are safe for every day consumption and promote overall oral health and good oral hygiene in your large dog.
In fact, these dog dental chews are clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar buildup and leaves a protective coating over the teeth for extra measure.
Whimzees Natural Grain Free Dental Dog Treats
Whimzees is a unique name and the Whimzees treats are unique as well. They come in different shapes but we love the alligator dental chews, which are specially designed with ridges and nubs to help clean your dog’s teeth and freshen his breath.
Best of all Whimzees dental chews are made with natural ingredients and are completely gluten free.
Nutri Dent Limited Ingredient Dental Dog Chews
Nutri Dent Limited INgredient Dental Dog Chews are an excellent choice for those of you who have dogs that suffer from food sensitivities.
As you may know, limited ingredient foods and treats and specifically designed to be easily digestible for dogs with sensitivities, which is one of the many reasons we are big fans of these dental chews.
We also love that they are made with natural ingredients, come in different sizes and different flavors, and help reduce plaque and tartar buildup without being tough on your dog’s sensitive belly.
Get Naket Grain Free Super Antioxidant Dental Chew Sticks
Last but not least on our list are the Get Naked Grain FRee Super Antioxidant Dental Chew Sticks for dogs. Made with all natural ingredients and full of antioxidants to help support a healthy immune system overall, these dental chews are a great blend of dental health support and overall health and wellness for your pup.
These dog dental chews are also grain free and help to freshen breath as well as help promote healthy teeth and gums between brushes.
Other Ways You Can Stay On Top Of Your Dog’s Dental Health
Dog dental care is an important part of your dog’s overall health.
Having a dog is a big responsibility. We must regularly groom our dogs, clip their nails, clean their ears, take them to the veterinarian for checkups and dog shots, and yes, stay on top of their oral hygiene.
Just like humans, dogs can be prone to dental issues and health decline, which can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, pain, and other more serious health issues.
Along with keeping up with routine veterinary visits and dental checkups, and along with offering your pet healthy dog dental chews, it’s important for owners to take a proactive approach in keeping their dog’s teeth clean and healthy.
Did you know that most experts recommend you brush your pet’s teeth at least every other day to help keep their mouths happy and fresh?
Don’t worry. Brushing your dog’s teeth doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. There are plenty of tools available to help make your dog’s tooth brushing experiences an easy part of your everyday routine.
Just make sure you are using dog safe products when brushing your dog’s teeth and help him get used to the process by making it fun and rewarding for him.
Start out slow with your dog and let him sniff and lick the dog-safe toothpaste before brushing his teeth and remember to always reward him with praise and a training treat when you are done. The process only needs to take about a minute or so, but the benefits of this routine could have lasting positive effects on your dog’s overall health and wellness.
Did you find a good dog dental chew for your dog on our list above? Tell us which dog dental chew products are your dog’s favorite in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.