Dog Dental Treats and Chews, What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Oral Health

One of the most important and most preventable diseases that
your dog (or pet) will undoubtedly face in his lifetime is dental
disease.  The
Royal Veterinary College of London
(RVC) published a PDF in
2002 that stated periodontal disease is the most common infectious
disease of adult dogs.  Did you know that it affect over 87% of
dogs that are over the age of three?  That is a lot of dogs,
living with a preventable disease!

The truth is that your dog’s oral hygiene and care of his
teeth and mouth is just as importance as your oral hygiene and the
care of your teeth and mouth!  Not only will good oral hygiene
play a major role in freshening breath; it will give your pet
healthier teeth and reduce plaque and tartar

Could you imagine what your teeth would look like if you only
brushed them once a month, once every 6 weeks, or perhaps never at

I often hear pet owners tell me that the groomer brushes their
pet’s teeth every 6 weeks or so when they take them in for a
haircut or bath.  But, let me tell you that only caring about your
dog’s breath or pet’s breath and oral hygiene every 6 weeks is
not nearly enough for his teeth, mouth and all over body to remain

You see, pretty much immediately after your dog eats his dog
food or even a treat, bacteria, combines with saliva, food and
other substances (that were already in his mouth) to form an
adhesive or gooey film; also known as plaque.  This plaque then
sits on top of his teeth and gums.  Interestingly dogs have a more
alkaline or acidic mouths than his human counterparts, which
promotes more plaque formation.  If this plaque is not brushed off
or dealt with using dog dental treats or dog dental chews; it forms
a hard calcified deposit known as tartar or dental calculus.

Plaque which leads to dental calculus and dental tartar can
cause serious infections and gum disease.


Once plaque begins to form, long term, your dog’s body (or
your body if we are talking human periodontal disease) sends white
blood cells to defend or attack the foreign matter that it does not
recognize.  Due to the bacteria which is located in the sticky
plaque causes the white blood cells to release enzymes that in turn
also break down even healthy gum tissue.

This bacteria and addition of white blood cells can lead to
severe infections that can even affect your dog’s heart, kidneys,
and liver.

This break down and infection leads to destroyed tissue both
healthy and infected, inflamed gums, and loss of bone.  Infections
can spiral out of control quickly and cause swelling around the jaw
and even up underneath the eye socket causing severe pain in and
around the ocular nerve and around  surrounding tissue.  This
often leads to refusal to eat and lethargy.  The swelling can even
get to the point that it ruptures and oozes either outside the face
and eye or inside the mouth.  The veterinary oral health council can also
provide more information for those pet owners who want to stay in
the “know”.   The veterinary oral health council has a lot
of great information.

At this point, a canine dental cleaning and the extraction of
teeth is required to relieve the pain and the promotion of healthy
and regular eating habits to reemerge.


Effective dental cleanings require anesthesia and often dental
x-rays.  These will help your veterinarian to locate problems and
clean up under the gumline.  Awake canine dental cleaning (dentals
without sedation or anesthesia; often offered by non-veterinarians)
are unsafe and can be dangerous if your dog swallows, breathes or
ingests a lot of paste or water.  Your vet will be happy to speak
to you about the risks and advantages for your specific dog.

Did you know that canine dental disease can even lead to a
change in behavior and increase the likelihood of bites and
aggression?  When we or your furry friend are in pain, it often
causes a change in behavior which can lead to a shorter fuse and
more signs of aggression.

Common Signs of Dental Disease

  • Bad breath
  • Build up of yellow deposits on the teeth by the gums
  • Red swollen or bleeding gums
  • Blood in drinking water
  • Pawing at face
  • Head shyness or not wanting to be touched on the head or
  • Trouble eating and obvious pain when chewing
  • Increased salivation (sometimes bloody discharge)
  • Sneezing or nasal discharge (sometimes bloody) because advanced
    gum disease can destroy the bone between the nasal and oral

The good news?

Advanced dental disease is almost completely preventable and

There was a veterinary
study done on 53 Labrador Retrievers
that discovered some very
interesting information!  Essentially age, breed, diet and
nonregular veterinary canine dental cleanings largely contributed
to periodontitis and lasting effects as well as loss of teeth.
  It also stated that some areas were difficult to assess by dog
owners and recommended regular assessment by a qualified
veterinarian (which sometimes might include sedation).

What Can You Do?

  • Daily tooth brushing for your pet is best! Most people brush
    twice a day!
  • Provide a nutritious hard (also known as dry) dog food. Some
    veterinary diets or dog foods are even formulated to help scrub
    your pet’s teeth and prevent plaque and decay.
  • Dog dental treats
  • Dog dental or oral care chews
  • Oral rinses
  • Water additives
  • Gels
  • Yearly and sometimes biannual (especially older at risk dogs)
    dental checkups with your vet

Not only will these things assist your pet with good oral health
and the reduction of bacteria, it will help keep his heart, kidneys
and liver strong all while providing fresh breath.  This reduction
in infection and disease can help your pet’s longevity and help
him live a longer and happier life.

Get your puppy or kitten used to a brushing regimen and these
products early in life; this will prevent a struggle with a full
grown or adult pet and condition him that these habits are happy
and a normal part of a healthy life!  Remember dogs learn best and
acclimate better when they are puppies.

I, for one, would do just about anything to extend my dog’s
quality of life and give him more days, weeks, months or even years
to spend with me.  After all, our pets don’t live long

Specially formulated Dental Dog Food

Most of the dentally formulated dog foods or pet foods are sold
through prescription or your veterinary office only these tend to
be slightly more effective.  If in doubt even a handful of a
prescription diet like Science Diet’s TD will help with your
pet’s oral health.



Just a note.  Avoid grain free diets!  Grain free diets have
been proven to cause some major heart issues in dogs that the
veterinary world has just discovered.  Grain free diets are not
recommended and not safe.  Stick with big dog food companies and
brands and avoid the promises of small claims.

A few of those are:

  • Science Diet TD which combats plaque and tartar
  • Purina Pro Plan DH which combats tartar

Over the counter diets include:

Science Diet Oral Care for dogs which combats both plaque and

Hills Healthy Advance Oral Care for Dogs which combats plaque
and tartar

Eukanuba Adult Maintenance Diet which combats tartar

Dog Dental Treats and Chews

Ingredients Matter

Many of these dental treats for dogs include vitamins and
minerals that not only help with freshening breath, these nutrients
are also crucial to your pets  development.  Many of these
vitamins, nutrients and minerals may not be found naturally.

One of the other ingredients in some of the dog dental chews is
chlorhexidine.  This ingredient is safe to ingest in small doses
and helps to combat the bacteria that can reside in your best
friend’s mouth.  This ingredient also helps to freshen breath
and keep plaque from adhering and forming tartar.

Enzymes are another ingredient that helps to break down plaque
and tartar that are beginning to form. Just like enzyme cleaners
help to break down pet urine, enzyme as an ingredient in treats for
dogs, chews, water additives, gels, and toothpaste can help break
down plaque and tartar.

C.E.T. manufactured by Virbac ® is one of the largest and most
effective brands available. These products can be found online or
at your veterinary hospital for purchase.

Just chewing something for an extended period of time will be
helpful, like bully sticks. Dogs love bully sticks. Chewing helps
to reduce tartar but if you want the best bang for your buck,
research the ingredients that each product offers.

Different ingredients provide a different level of care for
dealing with and reducing tartar and dealing with doggie breath. No
one likes doggie breath. And, all good products will provide you
with an ingredients list. Ingredients can also be researched

Greenies ®

One of the biggest and well known brands of dog dental treats
and chews is Greenies which have been around since the early
2000’s, as I recall.  But, controversy has followed Mars Inc.
the pet care giant  (and the company that owns Greenies).

In 2006, CNN exposed a story that revealed 13 dogs t had died
after ingesting or biting off large pieces of one of the Greenies
dental treats, touted to reduce tarter for healthier teeth and
freshen breath.  Dogs loved Greenies but these large pieces were
not easily digested and some had to be surgically removed from
several dogs.

One set of owners, Michale Eastwood and Jenny Reiff brought a 5
million dollar suit claiming that their dog, Burt, died after
consuming a Greeny.  The suit was settled out of court for an
undisclosed amount.

Interestingly, several months before CNN brought to light the
story and the dog owners brought suit; I had decided to quit
feeding Greenies to my dog.  He had continually vomited large
pieces of undigested matter.

Thankfully, the suit brought about changes to the Greenies brand
and Greenies were reconstructed and made more digestible.  Dogs
love Greenies still!

Years later Mars Inc. was again sued for touting Greenies as
being the #1 veterinary recommended dog dental treats and

Greenies are, however, still available and still very popular
among veterinary staff and dog owners.

Dental issues can be avoided, as can bad doggie breath if you
encourage chewing, brush your dog’s teeth, and implement some
other great ingredients.  You can even extend your dog’s life
with good oral health care!


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Dog Dental Treats and Chews, What You Need to Know About Your
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Source: FS – TheDogTrainingSecret
Dog Dental Treats and Chews, What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Oral Health