Although chewing is essential for animals to try to keep their teeth clean – they need to chew on the right things. Things like veterinary-approved dental diets, dental treats, rubber toys by companies like Kong are effective but also safe – in that, they are very unlikely to break or damage teeth.
The trick in making a good dental toy or treat is to be hard to chew, but not harder than the tooth itself. Dogs should not chew on objects outside like wooden sticks, mulch, rocks, pieces of metal – basically any non-food object that could potentially break a tooth, get stuck between teeth, act as a sliver into the gums or soft palate, or be ingested. Tennis balls are great for chasing and catching but if they are given to dogs as a chew toy they will act like sandpaper and wear the enamel of a dog’s teeth.
Things like real animal bones, artificial nylon bones, or deer antlers are extremely hard and, although animals really like them and they will help clean the teeth – the risk of tooth damage is too simply too high. Broken teeth can be a source of pain and infection. Examine your dog’s treats and chew toys. Eliminate any bones, antlers, cow hooves, and nylon chews. Throw out chews or toys that do not readily bend.
Ask your veterinarian or look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC.org) seal of acceptance for dental treats, diets, and devices that are safe and effective in decreasing the accumulation of plaque and/or tartar.
Dr. Will’s Top recommended Dental Chews
1. Hill’s TD Dental Diet
2. Royal Canin Dental Diet
3. C.E.T. Chews
4. Veggiedent Chews
5. Kong Dental Toys