Pet dental chews are touted as being essential to your pet’s oral health, but do they really work? What are the best brands? Are there better ways to care for your pet’s teeth and gums? Do you really need to worry about your pet’s dental health?
Oral hygiene is critical to your pet’s overall health and longevity, and the right dental chew has its place in their dental care plan. The team at Bowman Veterinary Hospital have gathered the facts, and we’re here to walk you through this sometimes confusing, but always important topic!
Pets Need Dental Care, Too
By the time they reach the age of 3, most dogs and cats have some form of dental disease. Pets can suffer from many of the same oral ailments as people, such as bad breath, tartar buildup, pain, infection, and tooth loss. If left unattended, dental disease can affect the major organs and lead to decreased lifespan.
Brushing your pet’s teeth at least three times per week along with regular professional exams and cleanings at your veterinarian’s office is the key to lifelong dental health. The act of chewing also aids in clearing tartar from your pet’s teeth, and that’s where pet dental chews come in.
Pet Dental Chews
It probably comes as no surprise that pet dental chews are not created equal. According to the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), chews, treats, or food must remove plaque or tartar by at least 10% in order to receive their seal of approval. Check their website for a list of products that make the cut.
Finding the Right Chews
Before selecting a dental chew or treat, make sure you’re taking the right precautions when it comes to your particular pet.
- Match pet dental chews to your dog’s size and chewing style. Treats and chews made for smaller dogs can pose a choking hazard to large breeds, and aggressive chewers may need a sturdier product.
- Dental treats may be beneficial for your pet, but the extra calories can add up quickly. Your veterinarian can help you determine how much and how often to give your pet a dental treat or chew.
- Avoid hard bones and toys as these have the potential to break your dog’s teeth, especially if they are already weakened by dental disease. Fresh bones and pig’s ears can splinter or break into pieces, putting your dog at risk of choking or intestinal obstruction and may also be contaminated with dangerous bacteria.
The right pet dental chews can be an effective tool in your pet’s oral health arsenal. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns regarding your pet.