Dental hygiene is an extremely important aspect of your pet’s overall care, and while brushing your dog’s teeth on a recommended schedule is the best way to help keep his teeth healthy, there are plenty of other products that you can take advantage of. One of these is dental chews.
Chewing stimulates saliva, your canine’s natural defence against the bacteria in his mouth that eventually leads to tooth decay and periodontal disease. The greater the amount of saliva produced, the more likely the bacteria are to be washed away. The abrasive nature of chewing is also beneficial for your dog’s dental health. Not only will the thing that your pet is chewing rub against his teeth, loosening and dislodging food debris that may have become stuck to or between his teeth, but it also helps strengthen his jaw and gums, two vital supports for healthy teeth.
Dog dental chews can protect your pet from disease and support his oral hygiene. They can also help freshen his breath and give him mental stimulation, which will prevent him from becoming bored and developing bad behavior.
Choking and nutritional content are common concerns for many canine owners when it comes to choosing a dental chew product for their furbaby. With so many different treats available, it can be tricky to decide which is going to be the most effective and safest for your pet.
There are three main types of treats that can be used to benefit your dog’s dental health. These are;
- Chew toys. While they cannot be eaten, abrasive chew toys can act as a natural toothbrush as well as encouraging the production of saliva. They can also be a lot of fun for your pet to play with. Most chew toys are very resistant, but if they are not well built they could break and pose a choking hazard.
- Biscuits and sticks. These tend to contain enzymes that help eradicate oral bacteria and provide a nutritious treat for your pet. However, some ingredients can upset the stomach of dogs with food intolerances and some are high in sweeteners.
- Raw chews. Raw chews are made from the natural hide of horses and cows and there are no additives or colorants. However, if your dog chews them intensively, he may end up breaking his teeth.
Choosing exactly the right dental chew for your dog is often a case of trial and error. It is important to find a chew that your furbaby enjoy the taste of and loves to chew, but if he manages to swallow it in a matter of seconds, chances are it has had zero impact on his dental health. Instead, you need to find a chew that your canine needs to spend a decent amount of time chewing so that his teeth benefit from the action. For this reason, many pet owners choose chew toys that have a compartment in the middle (such as the KONG Treat Wobbler) in which they can hide a dental biscuit. This ensures that your pet spends of time and energy trying to access the treat, so that the toy stimulates saliva and rubs against his teeth. The dog then gets the biscuit treat which contains enzymes to help further fight oral bacteria.
Remember, if you have a particularly aggressive chewer, you should ensure that you choose chew toys that are designed to withstand intensive mastication. You should also avoid giving your dog small treats that he is likely to try and swallow whole, as these put him at greater risk of choking.
If you feel that you need further guidance on selecting the best and safest dental chew for your pet, our veterinarian will be happy to give you a recommendation. Contact us today.