If you're a dog owner, proper dental health care for your furry friend is of paramount importance.
Unfortunately, brushing can be a challenge and regular checkups with your veterinarian are expensive.
But did you know that dental treats are an effective way of promoting good oral hygiene in dogs?
In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of using dog dental treats.
With lots of exciting options to choose from, learning how to incorporate dental treats into your dog's routine is an easy way to give them a healthy mouth.
What is Dog Dental Disease?
Periodontal disease (aka. Periodontitis or gum disease) is caused when plaque builds up on your dog's teeth.
If not removed, it will turn into hard tartar and can lead to painful gum inflammation.
This will eventually progress to an infection where teeth become sore and loose.
In the worst case scenario, the infection can spread to your dog's jaw bone and cause it to break.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bad breath
- Discoloured teeth
- Loose or missing teeth
- Blackened or receding gums
- Bloody saliva
- Excessive drooling
- Avoiding hard foods or chew toys
- Weight loss
How to Prevent Dental Disease in Dogs
Keeping your dog's teeth healthy is an important part of their overall health.
By proactively taking steps to prevent dental disease, you'll ensure your dog has a happy, healthy life.
The best ways to promote gum health and avoid dental disease include:
- Feed your dog dry food daily. Wet foods should be avoided.
- Dental treats (aka dental chews)
- Dental chew toys
- Chewing on raw bones
- Eating raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables (eg. carrot, apple slices, pumpkin)
- Brush your dog's teeth using a dog-specific toothbrush and dog-friendly toothpaste
- Liquid dental solutions to add into your dog's drinking water
- Dental wipes
- Check your dog's teeth regularly at home for symptoms
- Regular vet check ups
How Dog Dental Treats Work
Regularly feeding your dog dental treats is an easy way to ensure healthy teeth and gums. But how do they actually work?
Dental dog treats (also known as 'dental chews') are hard treats with a chewy texture.
As your dog chews on them, they scrape both plaque and tartar build up off the teeth. It is essentially brushing your dogs teeth as they eat!
Chewing for long periods is also beneficial as it stimulates the salivary glands. This excess saliva helps wipe the teeth clean.
Keeping the mouth clean also helps your dog to have fresh breath.
To be effective, your dog should chew on the dental treat for 30 minutes. If your dog eats the dental chew too fast, it will not clean the teeth properly.
How to Choose the Right Dental Treats for Your Dog
There is a huge variety of dental chews on the market today. Before you buy any, consider that all dogs are different!
First consider the size of your pet. Small dogs love small treats and will struggle with something too big or heavy. Similarly, large dogs need bigger dental treats - small treats are a choking hazard and won't be effective if they eat them too easily.
Look for dental chews made from natural ingredients including rice flour, wheat flour, pea protein or corn starch. These are usually plant based and will be easier to digest.
There are also grain free options available for dogs with grain intolerances.
How Often Should Dogs Eat Dental Chews?
Vets recommend making dog dental chews part of your dog's dental care routine.
They recommend letting your dog chew on a dental treat every day or second day.
If you leave it for longer periods, they will be less effective as it gives plaque time to harden and develop into tartar, which is harder to remove.
To help fight plaque most effectively, your dog should take roughly 30 minutes to finish its dental dog treats..
Is it Better to Brush your Dog's Teeth or Give Them Dental Treats?
The veterinary oral health council report that the most effective way to clean a dog's teeth and fight plaque is through brushing. This must be done with a dog-specific toothbrush and dog-friendly toothpaste.
However, it is only the most effective method if it is done properly. And that can be very difficult.
Most dogs won't like something being stuck in their mouth. They may throw their head around or try to bite the toothbrush, making it difficult to clean effectively.
If you wait to introduce brushing until your dog is older, it is unlikely to let you do it.
Dental chews are much easier! You simply give it to your dog and let it do the work for you. Your dog will never know it is actually healthy.
So unless your dog actually lets you brush its teeth properly, dental sticks will be more effective and far less stressful.
Dog Dental Toys
Another way to clean your dog's pearly whites is by offering dental toys.
Dog dental toys are designed for dogs to chew on for long periods. As they chew, plaque and tartar are rubbed off the teeth and excess saliva is created to help wipe the teeth clean.
Dental toys are usually made from rubber and are a unique shape, designed to rub up against the teeth.
The main benefit is that they last longer than dental chews. A toy will last you many months so is therefore cheaper in the long-term.
However, it can be difficult to motivate a dog to chew one toy every day for 30 minutes. It may lose interest in the toy. But it is unlikely to lose interest in food treats.
Note that dental toys are different to teething toys - which are designed to sooth sore teeth on puppies.
Best Dental Treats for Dogs
Do you want to keep your dog's mouth clean? Plus keep your dog's breath fresh?
We've created a list of the best dental treats and dental toys for dogs:
Shark Cartilage by DoggieBalm
DoggieBalm offer dried Shark Cartilage for dogs. These are hard treats which help reduce plaque and tartar as your dog chews on them.
Unlike other brands of dog dental chews, this product is 100% natural shark cartilage. There are no additives, preservatives or fillers.
Beef Chews by Freeze Dry Australia
Freeze Dry Australia are one of the top selling, most trusted dog treat brands in Australia.
The Beef Chews are freeze dried tendons. The freeze drying process locks in nutrients and makes the product hard.
This means chewing on them for a long time will help clean teeth and freshen breath.
Encouraging your dog to chew on the Squeezz Dental Stick is a fun way to clean its teeth. The flexible rubber toy moves to allow for a deep clean.
You can stuff the grooves with food to encourage your dog to use the stick more often.
Dental Ball is both a source of entertainment and a tool for dental care.
As your dog chews on the rubber toy, the unique shape and grooves work to effectively clean your dog's teeth.
It is available in both Small and Medium, to help different sizes of dog.