Dog Dental Treats (cont.)
Types of Dog Dental Treats and Diets
A wide variety of dog dental treats and diets make claims of reducing plaque and tartar or improving breath. Some have voluntarily been tested and received the VOHC seal of approval. Most are available in stores, but some you can only purchase through veterinarians. Here are the main types.
Taking Precautions with Dental Dog Treats
Not all dental dog treats are created equal. Some are more effective or safe than others. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you're choosing a dental treat for your dog.
Make the right match. Match the treat or toy to your dog's size, preferences, or personality. For example, aggressive chewers may need a product that is firmer.
Limit edible treats. Depending on the type of edible treat, it may go down too fast to be of much benefit to your dog's teeth. And these treats can quickly add lots of calories. The general rule is the smaller the dog, the fewer the treats. Ask your vet if you have questions about this.
Avoid hard bones and pigs' ears. If your dog has diseased teeth, he or she is likely to break them on hard chews, hard plastic bones, sterilized beef bones, or cow hooves. Fresh bones with meat and cartilage may be easier on the teeth but should be used with caution because of the risk of bacterial contamination or ingestion of sharp bone fragments by aggressive chewers. Take them away after a few hours, as they become hard and dried out.
Although pigs' ears are often a favorite of dogs, studies have not shown them to offer any dental benefits. They are also sometimes contaminated with bacteria.
Be careful with compressed chews. Edible treats such as rawhide chews can help with dental health. But some dogs, especially aggressive chewers, consume them too quickly or may swallow pieces whole. This can cause choking or blockages. These products may also be contaminated or cause gastric irritation. Watch your dog while he's consuming these products. If your dog swallows a large chunk, contact your vet. And watch for signs of intestinal upset. Be sure to limit how much your dog - especially a smaller dog - consumes at one time.
WebMD Veterinary Reference
SOURCES: Veterinary Oral Health Council: "Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) is the Most Common Disease Occurring in Pet Dogs and Cats" and "Products Currently Awarded the VOHC Seal."