Dog chewing dental treat.

We get lots of questions about dental treats at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital. While grabbing a chew bone that advertises dental health support may seem too good to be true, dental treats for pets can (and do) have some value. Learn how they can be a valuable part of your pet’s home dental care routine: 

The Verdict

So, do dental treats for pets really work? The answer really isn’t a simple one because the answer is both yes and no.

Brushing your pet’s teeth remains the most effective way to reduce plaque and tartar and prevent periodontal disease. Unfortunately, though, many of our pets are not as willing to have their teeth brushed as we might hope. It is also something that needs to be done on a daily basis, and with other life commitments, brushing your pet’s teeth often falls to the wayside. 

When tooth brushing isn’t happening, other dental care products can be a helpful substitute. Think of them like swishing with Listerine–not entirely as good as brushing or visiting the dentist, but something that you can do to support your other efforts.

Dental treats for pets can help to limit plaque and tartar buildup when appropriately designed and utilized. That’s not to say, though, that they are all created equal. Just because something says it is good for your pet’s teeth doesn’t mean that it actually is.

Choosing Dental Treats for Pets

If you have decided to incorporate dental treats into your regular pet care routine, it is important to choose wisely. These things can add up, and you want to be sure that your money is buying something worthwhile. 

When considering dental treats, make sure to consider the following:

  • Is the product certified by the Veterinary Oral Health Council? The VOHC independently tests veterinary dental health products and gives them their seal of approval
  • Is the product safe? Some chews can be choke hazards or cause broken teeth.
  • Is the dental treat likely to cause your pet stomach upset or interfere with other health conditions?
  • How many calories does the treat contain?
  • How often does your pet need to use the treat for it to be effective?
  • How much will it cost to use the dental treat appropriately?

It is important to remember that there is no dental treat or product that completely takes the place of regular, anesthetized dental cleanings. Rather, consider them an adjunct to your pet’s care routine and dental health support. 
If you need help formulating a plan for caring for your pet’s mouth, don’t hesitate to call us. Your pet’s dental health matters, and we are here to help!