The best dental chew is one that effectively cleans your dog’s teeth without causing any adverse reactions. Non-edible chews, even if well made, can cause serious health problems if even small pieces are swallowed since they are not meant to be ingested. Because of this, edible chews, in my opinion, are the better choice when selecting a dog dental chew product. The best edible chews must have a hard exterior for removing plaque, natural ingredients for easy digestion, and be durable enough to not be swallowed too easily. Through my research of these products and after reviewing many customer testimonials, I believe that ProDen PlaqueOff Dental Bones meet all these requirements best, and is my top pick for the best dog dental chew on the market today.
Who should use dental chews?
Dental chews are a great tool for dogs of all shapes and sizes. These products are not only useful for dogs who have plaque and tartar buildup already present on the teeth but also serve as important preventive care products for younger dogs to maintain healthy teeth and prevent dental problems before they occur. They should not, however, be given to puppies younger than 6 months, as their teeth are not strong enough to manage them safely. Always read the instructions and warning labels of any product to make sure it is appropriate for your dog.
What To Look For:
There are several important factors to consider when deciding which dental chew product to purchase for your dog.
- Type– Dental chews come in two basic types: edible and non-edible. Edible chews are those that are meant for a dog to consume while non-edible chews are made from material that is not meant to be ingested. Which type to choose depends on what kind of product you are looking for. Edible chews, no matter how long it takes your dog to eat, will need to be given frequently and require continual purchases. Non-edible chews are designed to last for multiple play sessions and can be reused until they are no longer functional. Whichever type you choose, always supervise your dog to ensure they enjoy them safely.
- Ingredients/Material– It is very important to be aware of what your dental chew is made of. If choosing an edible chew, it is best to look for ones with few ingredients that are all natural, as this will give them the best chance of being easily digested by your dog. Natural chews that offer additional vitamins and minerals are even better since they will not only improve your dog’s oral hygiene but their overall health as well. Avoid edible chews with long lists of ingredients, especially those that contain artificial or harmful products such as V-dog Breath Bones which contain carrageenan, and Virbac Enzymatic Chews, which contain maltodextrins. If your dog has allergies to certain ingredients, look for products that are grain, gluten, corn, soy, and wheat-free, as these are ingredients that most often cause reactions in dogs with food sensitivities. For non-edible chews, look for products made with durable materials such as nylon and natural rubber and avoid those with plastic pieces as these can break and become choking hazards. No matter what the ingredients or material, always monitor your dog for any adverse reactions to a product or its ingredients.
- Durability– In order for a dental chew to effectively clean your dog’s teeth, it must last long enough to thoroughly scrape away plaque as the dog is chewing. Durability is where many dog dental chews fall short, as the texture of many dental chews is not hard enough and the dog will simply gulp the product in a matter of seconds. While this clearly defeats the purpose of a dental chew, it also increases the risk of choking and digestive problems because the product is not chewed properly. Some products such as ProDen PlaqueOff and Missing Link have high durability and take a dog a while to finish, thus increasing the amount of plaque removed from the teeth and resulting in a thorough cleaning experience. Look for dental chews with a hard texture that will effectively scrub your dog’s teeth. Durability is also important for the safety of your dog. Edible chews that break apart easily pose choking risks as the broken pieces can be swallowed by your dog. Similarly, if a non-edible chew is easily broken by your dog, they can be swallowed, which can cause choking and blockages in the stomach. Look for dental chews that have high durability and avoid those that can be swallowed easily or that are easily torn apart.
- Size– Dog dental chews come in a wide range of sizes that vary with each individual product. Most companies provide a sizing guide to help owners select the appropriately sized chew for their dog, which is usually determined by your dog’s weight. Choosing the correct size is important because an incorrect sized chew can be a danger to your dog. For instance, if a large dog swallows a small-sized chew, it can cause choking or digestive issues. Be sure to carefully read the sizing guide section of a product’s description, which can usually be found on the company’s webpage or on the product’s packaging. Although it is always best to select the size recommended for your dog’s weight, some owners will order a larger sized chew than is recommended for their dog, because they find the recommended size is eaten too quickly by the dog to provide a thorough cleaning of the teeth. Selecting a larger size than what is recommended for your dog is usually safe since the dog should not be able to swallow a larger sized chew, but it could cause difficulties if the chew is too large for a dog to effectively wrap its mouth around. It is best to choose the recommended size chew for your individual dog, as these chews will be specifically designed to provide the best and safest chewing experience for your dog.
- Flavor– Of course, even the most effective dog dental chew will not work if your dog refuses to chew it! Many dental chews are offered in a variety of flavors to entice the dog and encourage chewing. If you know your dog loves a certain flavor, you will most likely be able to find a dental chew that offers it as a selection. Many dental chews are available in savory flavors such as bacon or duck and while most dogs love these meaty varieties, they can have a rather strong odor that is not as pleasant to owners as it is to dogs. Because dog dental chews are meant to improve oral hygiene, many owners choose to give their dogs mint flavored chews to achieve a more aromatic effect in both the dog’s breath and the smell of the chew itself. While these pleasant smelling chews may not be as appealing to some dogs as the bacon flavored varieties, their fresh scent is pleasing to owners and will better help to alleviate bad breath in dogs. No matter which flavor you select for your dog, it is best to choose a naturally flavored dental chew and avoid any that are artificially flavored. This is because artificial flavorings do not provide any health benefits and can cause digestive issues for your dog.
- Safety– One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a dental chew is safety. Besides looking for natural ingredients to ensure easy digestibility, the dental chew you select should have a consistency that is easy for your dog to eat without difficulty. While it is important for a chew to have a hard texture, it should not be so hard that it cracks your dog’s tooth. It should also not be so soft that it sticks to your dog’s teeth like the Merrick chews, as this can cause a choking hazard. The ideal chew will be somewhere in between, hard enough to provide efficient cleaning but flexible enough to be chewed safely by your dog. Your dog’s size and age should be considered when selecting a dental chew, as the textures of some chews may not be suitable for dogs with small or weak teeth. In addition to texture, it is important to monitor the condition of chews over time, as some, such as Nylabone Power Chew and Busy Buddy Bristle Bone, form sharp points and edges after being chewed. No matter what type of chew you select, always supervise your dog when they are eating or playing with them to ensure they have a safe experience.