Some people love the smell of puppy breath, but once the puppy grows into a full-sized dog, their breath is often bad enough to make plants wither. Bad breath can be a sign of a medical condition, but more often than not, it’s just part of being a dog. Will the best dental treats for dogs actually help?
Brushing your pup’s teeth is a great way to keep their mouth healthy and neutralize some of the bad breath odor. However, a lot of dogs are uncomfortable with having their mouths examined and will try to bite or chew the toothbrush.
That’s why dental treats for dogs are so helpful. To learn more about what to look for in a dental chew treat and get our recommendations for the best treats to try, read on.
Top 10 Dental Treats for Dogs
Now that we’ve gone over what to look for in a dental chew, let’s take a look at ten of them that check all the boxes.
First up on our list are Greenies, one of the most popular brands of dental chews for dogs. These one-a-day treats are shaped like toothbrushes. The combination of their chewy texture and grooved shape work together to scrub your pup’s teeth clean of plaque and tartar, all the way down to the gumline.
Greenies are made of all-natural ingredients fortified with vitamins and minerals. They’re made in the USA, recommended by many veterinarians, and promoted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
Greenies come in large, regular, and teenie sizes so all breeds can enjoy them. They also come in a variety of formulas including weight management, aging care, puppy, and grain-free. Pups that aren’t a fan of the original flavor may enjoy the “fresh” spearmint, pumpkin spice, or blueberry greenies.
2. True Acre Foods All-Natural Dental Chew Sticks
If your dog prefers the taste of meat over mint and fruit, they might enjoy the chicken-flavored All-Natural Dental Chew Sticks from True Acre Foods. Like Greenies, their grooves and chewy texture help scrub dogs’ teeth clean of buildup.
These treats only come in one size and are big enough for large dogs to chew on. However, they are breakable, so you can give smaller pups a portion of a treat at a time. They’re easy on your dog’s stomach and are free of preservatives, added sugars, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.
3. Pedigree Dentastix
The Pedigree brand is well-known for its balanced, high-quality dog food blends, and their Dentastix chew treats are no exception. Their patented x-shape is proven to clean dogs’ mouths and their variety of tastes makes them irresistible to even the pickiest of pups. Dentastix treats come in original (poultry), beef, mint, and bacon flavors.
Reviewers say that these treats do a great job of cleaning their dogs’ teeth when they take their time to chew. If your pooch tends to inhale their food and swallow without chewing, it might be better to choose a tougher treat instead. Choose between small, medium, and large treats to ensure they’re the right size for your dog’s mouth.
4. N-Bone Puppy Teething Rings
Just like human babies, puppies who are teething need to chew on foods and toys that stimulate their gums and help their tiny teeth break through the surface. The N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring treats can keep your pup’s mouth occupied, protecting your shoes and furniture from bite marks.
Because puppy teeth are delicate, these teething rings are slightly softer than the other dental treats on this list. They don’t contain any corn, wheat, soy, or rawhide but are packed with healthy fats to boost your pup’s skin and hair. Reviewers state that these treats are a hit but they do get sticky when chewed, so give them to your dog outdoors or on a hard floor.
5. Get Naked Weight Management Grain-Free Dental Stick Dog Treats
Struggling to help your pup lose a few pounds while still working treats into their diet? The Weight Management Grain-Free dental treats by Get Naked could be the solution.
These low-calorie chicken-flavored dental chews only contain natural ingredients without any grains or preservatives. They’re packed full of healthy fruits and vegetables like carrots, cranberries, apples, and flaxseed. A mix of decaf green tea extract, parsley, and peppermint soothes dogs’ stomachs and freshens their breath at the same time.
Older and less active dogs often benefit most from low-calorie dental treats. Remember, though, that even low-calorie treats still add calories that need to be budgeted into your pup’s complete diet. Eating these treats won’t help your dogs lose weight, but they can help them avoid packing on the pounds from extra snacking.
6. Purina DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dog Treats
Like Pedigree, Purina is another trusted brand of dog foods and treats. Their DentaLife Daily Oral Care treats have a unique porous, bubbly texture and a patented eight-ridged shape to scrub your dog’s teeth clean of buildup. DentaLife treats also come in Advanced Clean Dental Twists, a longer-lasting variety that’s best suited for vigorous chewers.
As with the Greenies and Dentastix, pay close attention to the size of the treats you buy. If they’re too small, your dog will eat the whole thing without chewing for long enough to clean their teeth. If they’re too large, the grooves and ridges won’t be able to clean the smaller areas of their mouth.
7. Starmark Everlasting Dental Treats for Dogs
Does your dog swallow most dental chews before you can even blink? If so, give the Starmark Everlasting Dental Treats a try. These chews are specially formulated to keep your dog busy for hours.
As a bonus, you can also put these chew treats inside Starmark’s Everlasting Puzzle dog toys to extend the fun even longer.
8. Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Dental Dog Chews
C.E.T. dental chews for dogs are some of the most highly recommended by veterinarians across the nation. These dental treats are made from a base of beef hide that provides gentle abrasion while your dog chews. They also use a dual-enzyme formula to kill foul-smelling bacteria and keep their breath fresh.
9. Dr. Lyon’s Grain-Free Mint Flavored Dental Dog Treats
While some dogs can digest grains without trouble, others can end up with skin allergies or an upset stomach after eating them. If you think your dog might have a sensitive stomach, look for grain-free treats like the ones from Dr. Lyon’s.
Dr. Lyon’s mint-flavored grain-free dog dental treats leave your dog’s breath smelling like they just brushed their teeth, without the hassle. They’re flexible to prolong chewing time and don’t contain any ingredients that are difficult to digest. Reviewers say that these chews are great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
10. Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Grain-Free Dental Dog Treats
These are some of the best dental treats for dogs who refuse to let you brush their teeth. The Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste treats are unique because along with the typical chewy exterior, they’re also filled with a soft edible toothpaste center. The toothpaste is made out of breath-freshening antibacterial ingredients including alfalfa, cloves, and cinnamon.
If your pet has allergies to soy, wheat, corn, or other common dog food fillers, these treats should be safe for them. Even so, it’s best to read through the ingredients carefully to be sure.
Why Dental Treats Are Beneficial for Dogs
Like humans, dogs can suffer from tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath if you neglect their oral hygiene. Dental chews contain antibacterial, breath-freshening ingredients that help your pup’s mouth stay healthy even if they won’t let you near them with a toothbrush. They’re also longer-lasting than standard dog biscuits and are designed to scrub your pet’s teeth clean as they chew.
Dental treats are excellent for motivation, training, and enrichment activities. Even so, remember that they should only make up a small part of your pet’s diet (the ASPCA recommends 5% or less of their total daily food intake). Most dental chews recommend giving your dog 1-2 per day to keep their mouths healthy without overdoing it.
Ingredients to Look For
Dogs can’t live on carbs alone, but neither are they strict carnivores. Contrary to popular belief, they’re omnivores like humans. If they eat a diet of strictly meat or veggies, they’ll miss out on critical nutrients.
That’s why most modern dog foods and treats are meat-based with small amounts of other ingredients. Unfortunately, meat-based treats will only add to your dog’s breath problem.
As such, most dental treats are plant-based with a small amount of meat flavor added in. Some dogs are sensitive to common treat bases like corn, soy, and wheat, so it’s best to look for grain-free dental treats for dogs if your pooch shows any signs of food allergies. If they don’t, allowing grain-based dental treats to be a small part of their diet is fine.
For maximum breath-freshening, try to find treats that contain chlorophyll, mint, cloves, or peppermint oil.