Last Updated: March 01, 2021

Best Dog Dental Chew

Best Dog Dental Chew

Dental health is critical. Over time, your dog’s teeth accumulate large amounts of plaque and tartar, which lead to bad breath at best and organ failure at worst. Dog dental chews can reduce plaque and tartar buildup and maintain healthy teeth and gums. Not all dental chews are effective, however, and some can even be dangerous for your dog. Our top choice for the best dog dental chew is VOHC-approved Pro-Den PlaqueOff Dental Bones.

Best Products Best Dog Dental Chew

Choose a charity on Amazon Smile on Spots.com then purchase
via links on this page to donate a portion
of your purchase. Learn more »
Greenies Original Dental Dog Chews
Greenies Original Dental Dog Chews
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
1/10
  • What we Like
  • Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved
  • Textured to remove tartar/plaque
  • Durable
  • What we Dislike
  • Lots of Ingredients
  • Choking Hazard
  • Can cause digestive issues
  • Gluten
Product Details
Sizes Teenie
Petite
Regular
Large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients wheat flour
wheat gluten
glycerin
gelatin
oat fiber
Source USA
Our Review

These toothbrush shaped chews are a popular treat that has been used by millions of dog owners since 1998. Its textured surface removes plaque and tartar buildup as the dog chews. Although approved by the VOHC, there have been numerous reports of Greenies causing severe digestive issues in dogs, such as diarrhea, bloody stool, and bloating. This may be due to the ingredients in the chews, such as gluten, which can cause adverse reactions in some dogs and some dogs can only have these in very small doses. We found our dog experienced major diarrhea after having 2.

These chews also pose a major risk to dogs if eaten quickly, because unchewed pieces will not dissolve inside the dog’s stomach, causing intestinal blockages. Choosing the correct size chew mitigates the risk, however many owners state that these chews caused problems for their dogs, even when given the correct size. The potential negative effects of these chews far outweigh the positive, so we don’t recommend these in spite of how popular they are.

Natural Balance Dental Chews
Natural Balance Dental Chews
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Appealing flavor
  • Grooves clean teeth
  • Limited ingredients
  • What we Dislike
  • Can cause digestive issues
  • Hard to chew
Product Details
Sizes mini
small
medium
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients sweet potato
potato starch
vegetable glycerin
Brewers dried yeast
spinach
Source USA
some ingredients are outsourced
Our Review

This chew is made from far fewer ingredients than Greenies dental chews, and contain no artificial coloring or additives. Because of this, many owners find these chews are easier for their dogs to digest, although some still experience issues such as diarrhea. As with Greenies, these chews can cause problems if not chewed properly, so it is important to supervise your dog while treating.

The chew’s textured grooves remove tartar buildup and the parsley and spearmint used in the Fresh and Clean formula freshen the breath. These chews are limited in size, with only three options, mini, small, and medium. While these chews can help improve your dog’s dental hygiene, many owners find that their dogs eat these too quickly to achieve effective cleaning.

Nylabone Power Chew
Nylabone Power Chew
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Long-lasting
  • Many Flavors
  • Raised texture cleans teeth
  • What we Dislike
  • Splinters
  • Messy
  • Can cause injury
  • Sharpens after use
  • Not appealing to many dogs
Product Details
Sizes x-small
small
medium
large
x-large
Type

n-edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients Nylon
Source USA
Our Review

This dental chew is made of nylon and not meant for consumption. Infused with a variety of flavors and featuring a textured surface that cleans teeth, these chews are designed to withstand even the most powerful of chewers. Because they have such a hard texture, however, it is possible for a dog to crack or break a tooth while chewing it.

Supervision is key when using these chews.

Sharp edges can form after prolonged use of this chew, which can cause injury to a dog’s gums. Depending on how intense your dog chews on this, you may have to limit the time he spends chewing this or you have to throw out these chews after only a few days if he is left to chew it at his leisure. These chews often splinter into small pieces that litter the floor, stick to carpets, and may be swallowed by the dog, causing digestive problems. Some dogs don’t like these chews, either due to the rough texture or the often lackluster flavor.

Arm & Hammer Super Trendz Dental Dog Toy
Arm & Hammer Super Trendz Dental Dog Toy
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Baking Soda provides fresh smell
  • Grooves provide dental cleaning
  • Long-lasting durability
  • What we Dislike
  • Strong Rubber Smell
  • Unappealing to some dogs
  • Gator chew not durable
Product Details
Sizes mini
large
Type

n-edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients Natural Rubber
Baking Soda
Source China
Our Review

These rubber chews feature textured grooves for cleaning teeth, are infused with baking soda for a pleasant smell and are available in either a Gorilla or Gator shape. They are specially designed for aggressive chewers and many owners find the rubber material to be extremely durable, and state this toy has outlasted many others.

The Gator toy, however, is decidedly less durable than the Gorilla, as many owners find their dogs bite the limbs off of this toy in a matter of minutes. The Gorilla fairs much better, lasting months without any major damage. The grooves in this toy massage the dog’s gums while also removing tartar. The baking soda allows the toy to maintain a pleasant smell, while also freshening your dog’s breath.

Merrick Fresh Kisses
Merrick Fresh Kisses
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Soft texture
  • Gluten free
  • Grain free
  • Natural ingredients
  • Innovative design
  • What we Dislike
  • Can cause digestive issues
  • Not suitable for puppies
  • Can stain fabric
  • Can get stuck in dog’s teeth
Product Details
Sizes x-small
small
medium
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients pea starch
tapioca starch
vegetable glycerin
gelatin
natural flavor
Source USA
Our Review

This dental chew has a unique double brush design to clean plaque and tartar buildup, and infused mint strips to freshen breath. Many owners have found these chews improve their dog’s breath after only a few days. The ingredients are natural and because there is no gluten, grain, or potato, many dogs with food sensitivities can safely enjoy these chews. Still, some owners find these chews cause digestive issues in their dogs.

These chews are softer than many other dental treats which makes it easier for smaller and older dogs to chew, and also minimizes the risk of a dog breaking off and swallowing hard pieces. Due to its soft texture, however, the chew can become stuck in a dog’s teeth and can also stick to floors and carpets. Smaller dogs benefit more from these chews as larger dogs tend to eat them too quickly for effective cleaning.

Nylabone Nutri Dent Fresh Breath Chew
Nylabone Nutri Dent Fresh Breath Chew
$15
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Easily digestible
  • Soft but tough texture
  • Raised texture cleans teeth and gums
  • Freshens breath
  • Limited ingredients
  • What we Dislike
  • Strong smell
  • Small sizes
  • Can harden quickly if not stored properly
  • Moderate breath improvements
Product Details
Sizes mini
small
medium
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients wheat starch
vegetable glycerin
natural flavor
gelatin
lecithin
Source USA
Our Review

This dental chew features raised nubs that clean your dog’s teeth and gums. Like the Merrick Fresh Kisses, these chews have a softer texture that reduces risks of swallowing pieces whole, but unlike the Merrick chews, it is not so soft that it sticks to dogs’ teeth. These chews are made of all natural ingredients and are more easily digestible than Merrick and Greenies, with many owners finding they do not cause any digestive issues.

The chews are on the smaller side, so it may benefit your dog to order a size above what is recommended, for a more thorough chewing experience. While a dog’s breath can be improved with these chews, the chews themselves have a strong odor that some owners find unpleasant. Some owners have also found that the chews are not very effective and only provide moderate improvement to their dogs’ breath.

Pedigree Dentastix Fresh
Pedigree Dentastix Fresh
$13
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Freshens breath
  • Pleasant odor
  • Appealing to dogs
  • What we Dislike
  • Can cause digestive problems
  • Texture too soft
  • Not effective at cleaning teeth
  • Many ingredients
  • Not all natural
Product Details
Sizes toy
medium
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients rice flour
wheat starch
glycerin
gelatin
gum arabic
Source USA and Canada
Our Review

These slim chews have raised ridges along the sides for cleaning teeth and gums. Ingredients such as parsley and peppermint oil freshen the dog’s breath. These chews contain many ingredients including artificial flavors and colors, as well as eucalyptus and peppermint oil, which cause severe digestive issues in some dogs. Because there are so many ingredients, dogs who have food allergies are likely to have issues with this product.

The texture of this chew is soft and like the Merrick Fresh Kisses, will stick to a dog’s teeth and mouth. Many owners also find that this chew is not effective in cleaning their dogs’ teeth because it is eaten too quickly without thorough chewing. This chew functions better as a tasty treat than an effective tooth cleaning tool.

Missing Link Smartmouth Dental Chew
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • All natural ingredients
  • Glucosamine and Omegas
  • High Durability
  • High digestibility
  • What we Dislike
  • Lots of ingredient
  • Strong smell
  • Extremely hard texture
  • Messy
Product Details
Sizes petite
small/medium
large/x-large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients dried potato products
ground flaxseed
water
vegetable glycerin
pork gelatin
Source USA
Our Review

These chews have a hard texture with ridges designed to remove tartar. The hard exterior ensures this chew lasts longer than many other dental treats, allowing for effective cleaning. The treats are made from all natural ingredients including high levels of glucosamine and omegas, which work to improve a dog’s joints, skin, and coat. These chews not only improve their dogs’ teeth but also result in shiny coats and improved mobility.

The chews have a strong odor and are messy as chewed off flakes can fall on the floor. These chews are designed to have a very hard texture, and some dogs may have a hard time chewing them. This may be due, however, to old stock or rotation by vendors and retailers rather than the chew itself, as some owners find certain bags of these treats to be stale and hardened while others are perfectly fine.

Virbac Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Dental Dog Chew
Virbac Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Dental Dog Chew
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
3/10
  • What we Like
  • Natural antiseptic
  • Hard texture
  • Freshens breath
  • Cleans tartar
  • What we Dislike
  • Choking hazard
  • Poor quality
  • Mislabeling
Product Details
Sizes x-small
small
medium
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients beef rawhide
dextrose
poultry digest
maltodextrins
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Source Mexico
Our Review

This chew consists of beef hide combined with other ingredients to create a unique dual enzyme system which protects against bacteria in the mouth. Although these chews are labeled as the best vet recommended dental product, they include several ingredients that are questionable such as dextrose and maltodextrins. These are highly processed substances that cause adverse health effects like poor gut health and nutritional deficiencies.

These chews may be too hard for some dogs, and require a soak them in hot water to soften them. Choking is also a risk as dogs can break off and swallow large pieces. Chews can stick to the roof of dogs’ mouths and block the airway, so supervise your dog during use. We’ve read complaints that this product has changed from previous years and that the chews are larger than advertised with fewer included than indicated on the package.

Oravet Hygiene Chew
Oravet Hygiene Chew
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Delmopinol deters bacteria
  • Noticeable tartar reduction
  • Pleasant smell
  • What we Dislike
  • Digestive issues
  • Chew can get stuck in dogs’ mouths
  • Choking hazard
  • Can stain carpets
Product Details
Sizes 14 chews
30 chews
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients delmopinol
soy
corn
wheat
chlorophyllin
Source USA
Our Review

This chew is unique in that it contains delmopinol, an anti-plaque agent that prevents plaque and bacteria from adhering to teeth. The chew’s hard texture is similar to Missing Link and lasts for at least a few minutes, allowing for efficient cleaning. These chews can significantly reduce tartar buildup on dogs’ teeth and freshen their breath.

These chews contain ingredients such as soy, corn, and wheat, which can cause issues for dogs with food allergies. The chews also result in green colored feces for the first few days of use. These ingredients can cause digestive problems even in dogs with no food sensitivities.

Similar to Merrick, Vibrac, and Dentastix chews, this product softens when chewed and may stick to a dog’s teeth and mouth, creating a choking hazard. Some dogs do well with this product, but many have negative reactions and owners should monitor their dogs for any ill effects.

Frontline Oral Defense
Frontline Oral Defense
$24
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
3/10
  • What we Like
  • Textured surface
  • Cleans the whole mouth
  • Pleasant smell
  • What we Dislike
  • Digestive issues
  • Lots of ingredients
  • Not effective for large breeds
Product Details
Sizes 4
by weight
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients tapioca starch
pea starch
wheat gluten
glycerin
gelatin
Source USA
some ingredients outsourced
Our Review

These chews are shaped like a bone and feature a textured surface for scrubbing teeth with a soft center that melts when chewed to cover the dog’s whole mouth. These chews are manufactured by the same company that makes Oravet Chews but do not contain delmopinol. As with the Oravet chews, this product causes digestive issues in many dogs, possibly due to the many ingredients found in the chew.

These don’t seem to offer long-term improvement in a dog’s teeth after using these chews, apart from a slight improvement in their breath which does not last long. These chews are also smaller in size and are eaten within seconds by larger dogs, which negates the cleaning effects of the chew.

Bones and Chews All Natural Dental Chew
Bones and Chews All Natural Dental Chew
$0
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
2/10
  • What we Like
  • Six point shape
  • All natural
  • Freshens breath
  • What we Dislike
  • Not long-lasting
  • Hardens quickly if stale
  • Digestive problems
  • Not effective cleaning
Product Details
Sizes 1
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients rice flour
wheat flour
vegetable glycerin
pork gelatin
natural chicken flavor
Source USA
Our Review

These chews are very similar to Dentastix in design, but are larger and have all natural ingredients. Like the Dentastix, these chews do not last long and most dogs eat them within seconds. Because of this, these chews are not very effective in cleaning dogs’ teeth, but they do help freshen their breath. In addition to poor durability, these chews also do not stay fresh long in their packaging and may mold within just a few days of opening.

Blue Buffalo Wild Bones
Blue Buffalo Wild Bones
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
5/10
  • What we Like
  • All natural
  • No grain, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Freshens breath
  • Appealing to dogs
  • What we Dislike
  • Digestive issues
  • Contains whey
  • Not long-lasting
  • Not suitable for puppies or dogs under 5 lbs
Product Details
Sizes mini
small
medium
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients tapioca starch
dried whey
vegetable glycerin
gelatin
water
Source USA
Our Review

These bone-shaped chews are made from all natural ingredients and are free from many of the most common dog allergies. Because of this, many dogs with food allergies are able to enjoy these chews without having a reaction. This product does contain whey, however, which some dogs are allergic to and some owners find these chews cause digestive problems in their dogs.

Many owners find these chews, even the large-sized ones, do not last more than five minutes for most dogs, and many owners feel they do not effectively clean the teeth. Because of this, these chews may be more effective in smaller dogs but owners may need to order a larger size than is recommended. Similar to the Dentastix and Frontline chews, many dogs love the taste of this product, but its benefits to their oral hygiene tend to be limited to fresh breath.

Blue Buffalo Dental Bones
Blue Buffalo Dental Bones
$12
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
5/10
  • What we Like
  • All natural
  • No grain, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Freshens breath
  • Does not stick to a dog’s teeth
  • What we Dislike
  • Digestive issues
  • Not long-lasting
Product Details
Sizes mini
small
regular
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients potatoes
powdered cellulose
vegetable glycerin
water
gelatin
Source USA
Our Review

These chews are also made by Blue Buffalo and feature a similar texture and shape as the Wild Bones. The chew is shaped like a bone and features raised ridges for scraping tartar. The ingredients are also similar to Wild Bones but do not include whey, which can cause reactions in some dogs. Even so, these chews upset may upset canine stomachs and can cause digestive issues. Like the Wild Bones, these chews may not last long enough to provide effective teeth cleaning, but their dogs enjoy them as a tasty treat. These chews can be effective for smaller dogs if they aren’t eaten too quickly.

Pro-Den PlaqueOff Dental Bones
Pro-Den PlaqueOff Dental Bones
$18
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
10/10
  • What we Like
  • VOHC Approved
  • Limited Ingredients
  • All natural
  • No grain, gluten, or soy
  • Freshens breath
  • Noticeable results
  • What we Dislike
  • Can stain carpets and fur
  • Hard texture can be difficult for older dogs
  • Can be too large for smaller breeds
Product Details
Sizes 1
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients dried potatoes
vegetable glycerin
water
gelatin
pork
Source USA
Our Review

These bone-shaped chews contain all-natural ingredients. They are free of many common dog allergens and are safely enjoyed by many dogs. These chews are unique because they contain dried sea kelp, which is known to effectively remove plaque. Dog breath improves after a few days, and improvements in plaque buildup and tooth coloration within weeks.

The hard texture of these chews allows for thorough cleaning but can be difficult to manage for older or smaller dogs. The chews can also be messy and cause staining. In addition to oral hygiene, these chews contain vitamins to support the skin and immune system. They are highly digestible and even dogs with sensitive stomachs can process them easily.

Best Overall
V-Dog Breath Bones
V-Dog Breath Bones Best Overall
$12
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
2/10
  • What we Like
  • All natural
  • No wheat, corn, soy, or dairy
  • Pleasant smell
  • Freshens Breath
  • What we Dislike
  • Carrageenan
  • Digestive issues
  • Can stick to a dog’s mouth
Product Details
Sizes Mini
regular
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients brown rice flour
rice flour
vegetable glycerin
water
tapioca starch
Source USA
Our Review

These chews are vegan friendly and made from all natural ingredients. They contain several vegetables for added nutrition and cinnamon to freshen your dog’s breath. The chews have a hard texture to help remove plaque and tartar. While they may do well in cleaning the teeth,  this chew does not last long and serves better to freshen breath than clean teeth.

Because these chews are vegan, they do not contain animal products such as gelatin, and instead utilize carrageenan, a seaweed extract, to bind the ingredients. Carrageenan is controversial because it has been known to cause inflammation, digestive issues, and even cancer. Many owners find their dogs have reactions to these chews such as vomiting and diarrhea, which may be due to this ingredient.

Busy Buddy Bristle Bone
Busy Buddy Bristle Bone
$11
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
2/10
  • What we Like
  • Ridges and bristles clean teeth
  • Provides mental stimulation
  • What we Dislike
  • Not durable
  • Choking Hazard
  • Can form sharp edges
Product Details
Sizes X-small
small
medium
large
Type

n-edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients rubber
nylon
rawhide inserts
Source China
Our Review

This nylon chew features rubber rings and nylon bristles to clean teeth and gums. Four rawhide discs are provided and can be inserted within the chew’s rings. This chew is marketed as a way to help dogs with separation anxiety by providing stimulation when left alone. This can not usually be achieved, however, because the chew is not durable enough for a dog to use unsupervised.

Many owners find their dogs break pieces off the rubber rings within minutes and that the nylon bristles fall off, creating choking hazards. Similar to the Nylabone Power Chew, this product develops sharp edges as a dog chews, which can injure the mouth. Some dogs also manage to disassemble the toy, enabling access to the rawhide disks which are hazardous if swallowed. While this chew can help clean your dog’s teeth, it is not durable enough to provide a safe chewing experience. It is also made in China.

Whimzees Brushzees
Whimzees Brushzees
$15
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • VOHC Approved
  • All natural
  • No grain, gluten, meat, or grain
  • Deep grooves
  • What we Dislike
  • Not suitable for dogs under 9 months
  • Not suitable for dogs under 5 lbs
  • Choking hazard
Product Details
Sizes X-small
small
medium
large
x-large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients potato starch
glycerin
powdered cellulose
lecithin
dried yeast
Source Holland
Our Review

These veggie-based chews feature deep grooves and a hard texture to thoroughly clean teeth and stimulate gums. They are made from all natural ingredients and are free of grain, gluten, and meat. They are designed to outlast other dental products and many owners find that they do. The grooves on this chew provide effective cleaning and can improve a dog’s breath as well as plaque and tartar buildup within the first few weeks.

Many dogs enjoy these chews without incidents, however, some experience digestive issues, and, similar to Greenies, these chews do not break down if swallowed and can cause major digestive issues if not eaten properly.

Best Toothpaste Style & Best Budget
Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste
Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Best Toothpaste Style Best Budget
$11
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
9/10
  • What we Like
  • Toothpaste center
  • Hard exterior
  • Freshens breath
  • Effective cleaning
  • What we Dislike
  • Not suitable for dogs under 4 months
  • Not effective on all dogs
  • Digestive issues
Product Details
Sizes Mini
small
medium
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients rice flour
honey
water
glycerin
canola oil
Source USA
Our Review

These chews feature a textured hard exterior and a soft toothpaste center which work together to remove plaque and freshen breath. They are made with human-grade ingredients and are highly digestible. Though no product will agree with every dog, most owners find these chews do not cause any issues for their dogs.

While this product will not work well if your dog chomps them down too quickly, these chews can reduce plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth with regular use.

Zuke’s Z-bone Dental Chew
Zuke’s Z-bone Dental Chew
$15
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • All natural
  • No grain, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Freshens breath
  • What we Dislike
  • Not durable
  • Choking hazard
  • Digestive issues
  • Inaccurate sizing guide
Product Details
Sizes Mini
regular
large
Type Edible chew
Top 5 Ingredients ground potatoes
ground peas
vegetable glycerin
pea protein
pea fiber
Source USA
Our Review

These bone-shaped chews are made with all natural ingredients and have a hard texture for scrubbing plaque. Like the Oravet and Whimzees products, these chews can pose a choking hazard if a dog breaks off and swallows large chunks. These may cause digestive issues in dogs such as vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, similar to the Blue Buffalo dental products, these chews do not last long enough to truly clean a dog’s teeth, and function more as a treat than a cleaning tool.

Best Products Best Dog Dental Chew
Product Name Best for Rate
V-Dog Breath Bones Best Overall 2
Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Best Toothpaste Style 9
Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Best Budget 9

Conclusion

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.

Buyers Guide

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.

These include:

  • 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.