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Are dental chews good for dogs?

dog chewing a dental chew

As a dog owner, you want the best for your furry friend, and that includes keeping their teeth healthy and clean. One popular solution for dental hygiene in dogs is the use of dental chews. These products are marketed as a tasty and convenient way to promote dental health, but are they actually good for your dog? 

Table of contents 

What are dental chews for dogs?

Dental chews for dogs are treats or toys specifically designed to promote dental health by cleaning the teeth and gums, freshening breath, and reducing the buildup of plaque and tartar. These chews are typically made of a variety of ingredients that have been shown to promote dental health and are intended to be chewed on for an extended period of time. Using specific ingredients, textures, and chewing action, they can be a convenient and effective way to promote your dog’s dental health and keep their teeth clean and healthy. 

Types of dental chews 

There are several different types of dental chews for dogs available on the market today, coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. One of the most common types is rawhide chews, which are made from the inner layer of cowhide and are typically shaped into various sizes and shapes. Another type of dental chew for dogs is synthetic chews, which are made from materials such as nylon or rubber and can be designed to be long-lasting and durable. 

Some dental chews are made with a specific focus on dental health, such as those that contain enzymes or abrasives to help break down plaque and tartar. Others are made with a focus on taste and texture, which can help to keep your dog interested and engaged while they chew. Additionally, there are dental chews that are specifically designed for certain sizes or breeds of dogs, as well as those that are made with certain dietary restrictions in mind, such as grain-free or low-fat options. 

How do dental chews work? 

Dental chews for dogs work by using a combination of texture, chewing action, and ingredients to help clean the teeth and gums. When a dog chews on a dental chew, the rough texture of the chew helps to scrape away plaque and tartar from the teeth, while also massaging the gums, which can help prevent periodontal disease. Chewing also helps to stimulate the production of saliva, which can help to wash away bacteria and food particles in the mouth. Many dental chews contain ingredients such as enzymes, minerals, and fibers that can help to break down plaque and tartar and promote overall dental health. 

Benefits of dental chews for dogs 

Dental chews for dogs offer several dental health, nutritional, and behavioral benefits that can help to improve your dog’s overall well-being and quality of life. 

Dental health 

The best way to maintain your dog’s dental hygiene and keep their gums and teeth free of plaque is by scheduling regular teeth cleanings at the vet and brushing their teeth daily with a dog-safe toothpaste and toothbrush combo. Dental chews can also help by scraping away plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums, which can reduce the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental issues. By promoting healthy teeth and gums, dental chews can also help to prevent bad breath and promote fresher, cleaner-smelling breath. They can also help to strengthen the jaw muscles, which can improve chewing ability and overall oral health. 

Nutritional benefits 

Many dental chews are formulated with ingredients that can provide essential nutrients and promote overall health and wellness. For example, some dental chews may contain ingredients like vitamins and minerals that can support immune function, while others may include protein sources such as chicken or beef to help build and maintain lean muscle mass. Additionally, dental chews that are made with natural, whole-food ingredients can provide a healthy source of fiber, which can promote digestive health. 

Behavioral benefits 

Dogs are natural chewers, and providing them with safe, healthy chewing options can reduce destructive chewing behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or shoes. Chewing is a stress-relieving behavior for dogs, so longer-lasting dental chews that provide mental stimulation for an extended period can both prevent boredom and reduce stress. 

How can ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA help stressed dogs? 

Dogs can experience generalized or acute stress for a variety of reasons. ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA chews, soft gels, and oils can help dogs’ general stress levels decrease and return to a normal state of balance. CBD + CBDA can be extremely helpful in truly calming without sedating so these dogs can learn to relax in highly stimulating situations and environments.   

For dogs who experience situational stress, ElleVet’s Calm & Comfort chews act quickly to provide maximum support when dogs need it most. When given 1.5-2 hours ahead of your departure, a new experience, or other triggering event, these chews are extremely effective in addressing dogs’ acute level of stress.   

As always, consult your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of stress. For any questions about ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA products or how CBD can help your dog live their best life, give us a call (844-673-7287) or send us an email ([email protected]). We are here to help. 

CBG for dental health 

While CBD + CBDA can help dogs with both chronic and acute stress, another cannabinoid, cannabigerol (CBG), has anti-bacterial properties that can be very beneficial in supporting dogs’ dental health. CBG can address the bacteria in dogs’ mouths that get stuck between teeth and under gums and cause serious infections. 

Potential risks and concerns 

While dental chews for dogs can offer a range of benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and concerns associated with these products. 

  • Overconsumption Some dental chews can be high in calories and fat, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues if your dog consumes too many. Consult your veterinarian about how to incorporate dental chews into your dog’s routine in a healthy way. 
  • Choking hazard – Some types of dental chews, such as rawhide chews, can be difficult for dogs to digest and may pose a choking hazard if your dog tries to swallow large or broken-off pieces. This risk can vary depending on the type and size of the dental chew, as well as your dog’s chewing habits and behavior. Always choose easily digestible dental chews that are appropriately sized for your dog, monitor them while they are chewing, and remove any small pieces that may break off. 
  • Ingredient safety – Dental chews may contain questionable ingredients that could potentially be harmful to your dog’s health. Certain chemicals or additives can cause allergic reactions or other adverse health effects, and low-quality ingredients can lead to digestive issues or other health problems. Talk to your veterinarian about the best dental chew options for your dog.  

Choosing the right dental chew for your dog 

When choosing the right dental chew for your dog, there are several factors to consider: 

  • Size – A chew that is too small can pose a choking hazard, while a chew that is too large may be difficult for your dog to chew and digest.  
  • Ingredients – Look for products made from safe, high-quality ingredients and those that do not contain harmful additives or chemicals. You may also want to consider your dog’s dietary needs and any specific health concerns they may have, such as allergies or sensitive stomachs.  
  • Appeal – You want a dental chew that your dog will enjoy and that they will be motivated to chew on regularly. Some dogs may prefer certain flavors or textures, so it may take some trial and error to find a dental chew that your dog truly loves.   

Ingredients to look for (and ingredients to avoid)

According to the American Veterinary Dental College, some of the best ingredients to look for in a dental chew include natural enzymes, such as lactoferrin and lysozyme. These ingredients can help break down plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Additionally, certain types of herbs, such as parsley or mint, can help freshen your dog’s breath and promote overall oral health. Other beneficial ingredients to look for may include probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin. The AVDC recommends choosing dental chews that are made from natural, digestible ingredients that won’t pose a risk of harm to your dog. 

Avoid products that contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, as these can potentially cause allergic reactions or other health issues. You should also monitor your dog’s sodium and calorie intake. 

Considerations for specific health conditions 

Dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs may require dental chews that are made from hypoallergenic ingredients or that are free from common allergens such as wheat, corn, and soy. Dogs with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, may require dental chews that are low in sugar. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best dental chew options for your dog. 

Take home message 

Dental chews can be a valuable addition to a dog’s dental care routine. They can help to remove plaque and tartar buildup, freshen breath, and promote overall dental health. However, it’s important to choose high-quality dental chews that are appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing habits, and to use them as part of a comprehensive dental care plan that includes regular veterinary checkups and daily tooth brushing. By taking good care of your dog’s teeth and gums, you can help to ensure that your furry friend enjoys good oral health and a happy, healthy life.