The market is flooded with all sorts of dental chews and oral health treats for dogs, and marketing messages trying to convince us that these products are saving our pups’ teeth. Is this true and do dogs really need dental chews?
The short answer is – yes, daily oral hygiene is essential for our dog’s health. Dogs teeth need to be brushed just like ours, and when this is not possible chewing is the best way to prevent plaque and bacteria developing in your dog’s mouth.
However, vets warn us to be careful when choosing the right products, as many of the commercially available chews act more like treats rather than proper dental care product. On the top of that, some products are full of additives and surprisingly high levels of calories which might affect your dog’s eating habits and contribute to gaining weight. You don’t want to trade your dog’s dental health for an obese pup, right?
Dry food is usually better for your dog’s teeth, because it doesn’t stick to the dog’s mouth like wet food. If your dog is mainly on a raw or wet food diet though, then you must be doing something for their oral hygiene.
If teeth brushing doesn’t work for you and your dog, you can also look for oral hygiene gels that don’t require brushing.
If you prefer dental chews, the most important thing when choosing the right products is that they should keep your dog chewing for good 20-30 mins. Something that he eats in a minute just doesn’t do the job properly. Rawhide chews are the most popular “natural” dental product that you could get for your dog. It keeps him entertained and stimulates chewing which is essential for their dental health. Always make sure that you throw the leftovers to avoid contamination.
You can look for approved products on the American Veterinary Oral Health Council website. Many of the products in this lest are available in the UK, as well.
Signs of oral problems in dogs:
- Bad breath (unusually bad breath, just a bit of smelly mouth is normal)
- Build-up of saliva, bacteria, and food on teeth (plaque)
- A hard yellow or brown substance on teeth (tartar)
- Swollen, bleeding, or irritated gums
If you’re still not sure about brushing your dog’s teeth – give it another try. This is the best way to keep their teeth strong and healthy for as long as possible.