We know your dog’s oral health is of high importance, with it being recommended dogs visit the vet for a professional dental cleaning once a year and have their teeth brushed at least two to three times each week.
But the steps you take between cleanings and brushings can be just as important in keeping your pet’s mouth clean and healthy. And one great (and fun!) tool for maintaining your pet's oral health is dental treats.
“Dental treats are designed to help reduce plaque or tartar, helping to keep your dog’s mouth healthy,” Dr. Zay Satchu, cofounder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet in Brooklyn, New York, told The Dodo. “And as an added bonus, dental treats can help freshen up your pup’s breath — which makes it much more pleasant to enjoy your dog’s kisses.”
Not all dental treats focus on the same areas of oral hygiene, though. Some feature ingredients that clean teeth and freshen breath while others provide vitamins and nutrients to your dog.
As a general rule, it’s recommended that pets chew treats for more than two minutes. It is also important that the treats are able to bend to avoid breaking your dog’s teeth.
Your dog’s physical health should also be considered when choosing a treat, as some dental chews can be high in fat.
"Search for quality ingredients and a low fat content that won’t interfere with your dog’s meal plan or dietary health,” Dr. Zay explained. “Plus, the treats are still an indulgence, so limit the number of treats you feed to your dog.”
Dr. Zay also stressed that dental treats are no substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth, which is the most effective way to remove plaque that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. “Brushing your dog’s teeth is the gold standard of care,” Dr. Zay said.
With all those considerations, the search for dental treats can be pretty overwhelming for even the most knowledgeable pet parent, especially if your dog has specific needs. So here are some veterinarian-recommended options you can count on to maintain your dog’s oral health.