Whether they’re rewarding positive behaviors, returning from a nightly walk, or giving one just because, most pet parents love giving their dogs treats. Dogs find them pretty irresistible, too.
Generally speaking, most treats are just that — treats. Others, however, pull double duty. In addition to being a delicious addition to a dog’s day, they work to minimize oral bacteria and plaque, reducing the risk of gum disease and other oral health issues. Those treats are known as dog dental chews.
How Dogs Develop Gum Disease
Like humans, dogs have bacteria in their mouths. Over time, these bacteria mix with food particles to form plaque, a sticky film that adheres to their teeth. Eventually, it begins to harden into tartar or calculus. These substances irritate the gum tissue and trigger inflammation, leading to the earliest stage of gum disease (gingivitis).
Without treatment, gum disease worsens. Dogs can experience bone loss in their jaws, which compromises the stability of their teeth. It may be difficult or painful for them to eat. In more advanced stages of gum disease, bacteria can travel into a dog’s bloodstream and increase their risk of heart disease and other issues with vital organs.
Around 80% of dogs have some form of gum disease or other oral health issues by age three. Good dental hygiene is crucial. Daily toothbrushing is one of the best ways to protect a dog’s teeth and gums. Supplements like dog dental chews can help, too.
What Are Dog Dental Chews?
Dog dental chews are specially-formulated treats that taste great and help to combat bacteria and plaque buildup in a dog’s mouth. They’re available in different shapes and sizes, allowing pet parents to find ones that work best for their dogs.
How They Work
Dental chews work in a couple of different ways. They may contain various ingredients that help to protect oral health. For instance:
Many treats also contain ingredients such as chicken and apples. These ingredients make them taste just as good as regular treats. Another way dog dental chews help remove plaque and bacteria is by taking advantage of a dog’s natural chewing. Oravet treats and Cleanz-a-Dent Dental Chews scrub a dog’s teeth as they chew on them, effectively reducing harmful buildup. In a way, they’re kind of like natural toothbrushes. That doesn’t mean they can replace actual toothbrushing.
Why Give Dental Chews for Healthy Dog Teeth?
Ideally, pet parents should brush their dog’s teeth once a day. Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and pet-friendly toothpaste is the best way to minimize the risk of gum disease and other oral health issues.
Some dogs do great with brushing. They’ll sit still almost every day for their pet parents to clean their teeth. Other dogs aren’t thrilled with the idea of having their teeth brushed. They may not sit still long enough or may refuse to let their pet parent touch their teeth altogether. That’s where dog dental chews come in. Even if a pet parent can’t brush their dog’s teeth every day, the treats provide additional support for gum disease prevention.
Dog Dental Health Tips for Using Chews
Now let’s take a look at a few tips for using dog dental chews that can help pet parents ensure the best possible results:
Pet parents should choose the right treat size. Treats come in different sizes. No matter which brand they choose, pet parents should match the chews to the size of their dog.
Pet parents should watch their dogs if they’re offering dental sticks. These sticks can break into large pieces that may get lodged in a dog’s throat if they try to swallow it.
Pet parents should be mindful of their dogs' caloric intake: Just like other dog treats, chews provide dogs with extra calories. While they can offer them daily, pet parents should avoid giving too many chews to avoid potential weight gain.
The Importance of Good Dog Dental Care
Using dog dental chews in conjunction with regular tooth brushing helps pet parents protect their dog’s oral and overall health. They’re an easy addition to a dog’s daily life. And since they taste like any other dog treat, dogs will enjoy them and won’t even know they’re doing something good for their teeth.
Fuzzy has a variety of dog dental chews and other dental health care products that allow pet parents to help their canines live healthier lives. As a Fuzzy member, pet parents also have access to the 24/7 Live Vet Chat feature that connects them with a professional vet any time, day or night. Sign up to become a Fuzzy member today!