Dogs

The 5 Best Dog Dental Treats

May 2, 2022

The 5 Best Dog Dental Treats

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Nothing is better than coming home to a wet nose and a few slobbery kisses after a long day at work. When your dog hops up to greet you, tail wagging, you kneel down to give him a hug.

And you’re hit by a wave of dog breath.

It’s nearly impossible to have fresh breath all the time, but dogs are notorious for being a little extra stinky. Proper oral hygiene is the key to keeping your dog’s mouth healthy and his breath fresh, but a daily dental treat can help.

The best dental treats for dogs are made from high-quality ingredients, low in calories, and approved by veterinarians. We’ve taken the time to sort through the options on the market to bring you our top picks for the best dog dental treats.

Compare Best Dog Dental Treats

Overall Best
Whimzees Natural Dog Dental Treats

1. Whimzees Natural Dog Dental Treats

Runner Up
Virbac C.E.T. VeggieDent Tartar Control Chews

2. Virbac C.E.T. VeggieDent Tartar Control Chews

Best Budget
Milk-Bone Original Brushing Chews Daily Dental Dog Treats

3. Milk-Bone Original Brushing Chews Daily Dental Dog Treats

Best for Small Dogs
Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats

4. Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats

Best for Large Dogs
DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dental Dog Treats

5. DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dental Dog Treats

Type
Dental stick
Type
Dental stick
Type
Dental stick
Type
Dental stick
Type
Dental stick
Flavor
Potato
Flavor
Corn
Flavor
Chicken
Flavor
Poultry
Flavor
Chicken
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
Yes
Top 3 Ingredients
Potato starch, glycerin, powdered cellulose
Top 3 Ingredients
Corn starch, glycerin, soy protein isolate
Top 3 Ingredients
Rice, powdered cellulose, chicken by-product meal
Top 3 Ingredients
Wheat flour, wheat gluten, gelatin
Top 3 Ingredients
Rice, glycerin, wheat flour

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Dental health is an essential component of overall health. If you care about your teeth, you brush your teeth twice a day and have a good habit of flossing regularly. Doesn’t your dog deserve the same?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a progressive oral condition caused by bacteria in the mouth that causes damage to the gums, bone, teeth, and supporting structures. According to some studies, as many as 90% of all dogs display some form of periodontal disease by the age of two years.

The signs of dental disease vary greatly, but may include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Abnormal chewing habits
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pain in or around the mouth
  • Reduced appetite
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Swelling in the mouth or gums

Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth made up of bacteria. It’s generally soft and easy to remove but it hardens over time into tartar, a much more stubborn substance.

In the first stage of periodontal disease, your dog may develop gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. This stage progresses to a loss of the tooth’s attachment to supporting structures of less than 25%. Symptoms may include red or puffy gums, bleeding gums, bad breath, and receded gums.

By the third stage of periodontal disease, between 25 and 50% of the tooth’s support is lost. Most dogs display moderate gum recession and loose teeth. Teeth may need to be extracted at this point and extraction is even more likely in stage 4.

Periodontal disease is generally reversible in the first stage. Damage incurred during later stages may not be reversible, but proper treatment can help prevent progression. Daily brushing and regular oral exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent dental problems from progressing.

Do Dental Treats Really Work?

Dental treats for dogs are not designed to be an alternative to daily dental care. They can remove plaque from the surface of the teeth and may help reduce tarter buildup and freshen breath. As is true for any pet product, however, the results depend on the ingredients and their quality.

According to Gary Richter, DVM, the founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition, dog dental products “work by scraping the teeth as the dog chews on them.”

The key to achieving dental benefits, however, is making sure your dog chews on the product for at least five minutes. A dental treat won’t do your dog any good if he swallows it immediately.

What To Look For In Dog Dental Chews

Treats are tasty little tidbits your pet can snack on between meals, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also support his overall health and wellness. Dog treats made from high-quality ingredients boost your dog’s nutrition and can provide additional benefits – like dental health benefits.

The best dog dental products are evaluated and approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).

This is an organization that evaluates the efficacy of dental sticks and other products in reducing plaque and tartar. The product must reduce plaque and tartar by at least 10% in order to receive a VOHC seal of approval. In products that utilize chemical anti-plaque agents, plaque reduction must be at least 20%.

In addition to VOHC approval, look for a treat that will complement your dog’s diet with wholesome ingredients but doesn’t contain too many calories.

The size of the treat should be appropriate for your dog as well. Look for a treat that is larger than your dog’s mouth to prevent choking hazards and to make sure your dog chews the treat long enough to obtain its dental benefits.

NOTE: Bully sticks and rawhide are not recommended as dental sticks for dogs. Rawhide can break into chunks and the materials is not easily digested. Bully sticks are generally more digestible, but the material can be contaminated with bacteria, and they contain a surprising number of calories.

Now that you have a better understanding of when your dog might benefit from dental treats and how to choose them, let’s get into our top picks.

Our Top Picks For The Best Dental Treats For Dogs

All of the following are top-rated products that have earned a reputation for safety and effectiveness.

Overall Best
1.

Whimzees Natural Dog Dental Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Potato
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Potato starch, glycerin, powdered cellulose

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 1%
Crude Fat: 2%
Crude Fiber: 14%
Moisture: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 1.14%
Fat: 2.27%
Fiber: 15.91%
Carbs: 80.68%
Pros
  • Ridges and grooves help scrape your dog’s teeth
  • Pawfect Paw Pad make the treat easy to hold while chewing
  • Completely free from gluten, grains, and artificial additives
Cons
  • May be too hard for some dogs
  • Fairly pricey
Whimzees dental dog treats are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes. The Brushzee shape is uniquely designed with ridges and grooves to help scrape your dog’s teeth clean as he chews. It also features Whimzees’ patented Pawfect Paw Pad which helps your dog hold the treat in place.

These dental treats offer a limited list of ingredients in a formula free from gluten, grains, GMOs and artificial additives. Plus, they’re a long-lasting alternative to traditional X-shaped dental chews.

Whimzees are approved by the VOHC to remove plaque and tartar. While some dogs find the bones a little bit too hard, the variety of shapes and sizes seems to appeal to dogs of all breeds and ages. Just be mindful of the carbohydrate content when adding these treat to your dog’s diet.
Runner Up
2.

Virbac C.E.T. VeggieDent Tartar Control Chews

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Corn
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Corn starch, glycerin, soy protein isolate

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 17%
Crude Fat: 0.4%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 15%
Ash: 2%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 20%
Fat: 0.47%
Fiber: 2.35%
Carbs: 74.82%
Pros
  • Approved by the VOHC for plaque and tartar removal
  • Texture and unique Z-shape promotes chewing
  • Available in four sizes for different dog breeds
Cons
  • Contain no animal-based ingredients
  • Fairly pricey
Approved by the VOHC and available in four sizes, these tartar control chews are formulated to clean teeth, freshen breath, and support digestion. The chewy texture helps clean your dog’s teeth and gums as he chews and the unique Z-shape that helps ensure the treat reaches different parts of your dog’s mouth.

These chews come in a plant-based formula with a relatively short list of ingredients. They also contain prebiotics to support a healthy microbiome for optimal digestion.

Virbac C.E.T. VeggieDent dental treats are gluten-free and do not contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. They do contain several plant ingredients, however – including corn – but are made in the USA.
Best Budget
3.

Milk-Bone Original Brushing Chews Daily Dental Dog Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Rice, powdered cellulose, chicken by-product meal

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 1%
Crude Fiber: 8%
Moisture: 18%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 14.63%
Fat: 1.22%
Fiber: 9.76%
Carbs: 74.39%
Pros
  • Affordably priced and available in several sizes
  • Nubs and ridges help scrape the teeth clean like toothbrush bristles
  • Supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals
Cons
  • Made with some artificial color
  • Contains dairy and vaguely named animal digest
With over 11,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.7 out of 5-star rating, these Milk-Bone brushing chews are incredibly popular. More importantly, however, they’re approved by the VOHC to fight tartar buildup.

These dental treats are made with a patented design featuring nubs and ridges designed to act like the bristles on a toothbrush. They scrape and clean your dog’s teeth as he chews while the twist design of the chew makes sure the treat reaches even the back teeth and all the way down to the gumline.

Milk-Bone Brushing Chews are fortified with essential nutrients including calcium for strong bones and plenty of fiber to support regular digestion. These treats do contain dairy and artificial color but they’re higher in animal protein than other products on this list and very affordable.
Best for Small Dogs
4.

Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Poultry
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Wheat flour, wheat gluten, gelatin

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 30%
Crude Fat: 8%
Crude Fiber: 6%
Moisture: 15%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 35.29%
Fat: 9.41%
Fiber: 7.06%
Carbs: 48.24%
Pros
  • Chewy texture cleans teeth and promotes gum health
  • Designed to bend, not break, for a deeper clean
  • Available in a wide variety of different sizes
Cons
  • Contains wheat ingredients
  • May not be tough enough for heavy chewers
While it’s important to select a large enough dental treat that your dog will have to chew on it for a few minutes, big chews are difficult for smaller dogs to manage. Greenies dental dog treats come in a variety of different sizes including the Teenie size which is perfect for toy and miniature breeds.

Greenies are easily one of the most popular dental treats on the market, and for good reason.

They’re approved by the VOHC and are designed to deliver a deeper clean than traditional dental treats. They feature a brush-like shape to encourage chewing and they bend instead of breaking, helping reach under your dog’s gumline to scrape away plaque and tartar.

These dental treats are made with natural ingredients in a highly digestible formula supplemented with essential nutrients. They do contain wheat ingredients but are free from artificial color, flavor, and preservatives.
Best for Large Dogs
5.

DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dental Dog Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Rice, glycerin, wheat flour

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 6%
Crude Fat: 2%
Crude Fiber: 1.5%
Moisture: 15%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 7.06%
Fat: 2.35%
Fiber: 1.76%
Carbs: 88.82%
Pros
  • Scientifically proven to reduce tartar by 57%
  • Ridged design and porous texture cleans under gumline
  • Available in several sizes and quantities
Cons
  • Contains wheat ingredients
  • Made with artificial preservatives
These tasty chicken flavor dental treats are a hit with over 6,500 reviews on Amazon. They’re available in several sizes and bags from 18 count up to 60.

Purina DentaLife dental sticks come in a large size for big dogs, made with a ridged design and porous texture to clean even the hard-to-reach places under your dog’s gumline. They’re scientifically proven to reduce tartar buildup by 57% and approved by the VOHC.

The primary downside of these dental chews is that they contain wheat ingredients and BHA, an artificial preservative. They are, however, free from artificial colors and flavors and contain more animal protein than other options.

Other Dog Dental Treats to Try

There is an abundance of dental treats and chews on the market for dogs, so it’s impossible to include everything we’d like to. If none of the treats on the list above seem like the perfect fit, one of the options below might be worth considering:

1.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Bones Grain-Free Dental Chews

Product Info

  • Chewy Conscious: BPA-Free
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Medium Breeds
  • Food Form: Treats
  • Special Diet: High-Protein, Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Rawhide-Free

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 23%
Crude Fat: 3%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 20%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 28.75%
Fat: 3.75%
Fiber: 1.25%
Carbs: 66.25%
If you prefer to stick with familiar brands, these dental bones from Blue Buffalo might be right up your alley. They’re available in three sizes and their bone-shaped design encourages gnawing to help remove plaque and tartar.

They are made from wholesome ingredients and free from soy, wheat, and artificial additives. The downside is these treats are fairly high in calories and they are not approved by the VOHC.
2.

OraVet Hygiene Dental Chews

Product Info

  • Weight: 1.325 pounds
  • Features: Tartar Removal
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Small Breeds
  • Food Form: Treats
  • Product Form: Chew
Designed with a dual-action formula to fight plaque and tartar buildup, these dental chews contain delmonipol, a plaque-fighting compound that helps develop a protective barrier on the teeth to prevent the adherence of bacteria. Their chewy texture also helps scrub away plaque on the surface of the teeth.

These chews are available in several different sizes but only recommended for dogs 6 months and older. They are approved by the VOHC for tartar removal.
3.

Dr. Tim’s CLENZ-A-DENT Dog Dental Chews

Product Info

  • Weight: 11.36 ounces
  • Features: Breath Freshening, Plaque Removal
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Breed Size: Medium Breeds
  • Food Form: Sticks
  • Product Form: N/A

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 5%
Crude Fat: 0.3%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 21%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 6.33%
Fat: 0.38%
Fiber: 5.06%
Carbs: 88.23%
Encourage tooth-healthy chewing with these tasty X-shaped dental treats from Dr. Tim’s. They’re available in three sizes and infused with delicious poultry flavor. Their abrasive texture helps scrape the teeth clean while the plant-based formula helps prevent the accumulation of biofilm. These dental sticks are approved by the VOHC for plaque and tartar removal.

Final Thoughts

Dental treats should not be a replacement for daily oral care. Dental disease is incredibly common in pets, and it can have significant negative effects on your dog’s health. But it is very easy to prevent.

It may sound strange to brush your dog’s teeth, but it’s the best way to remove plaque and tartar. That being said, an oral exam should be part of your dog’s annual checkup to keep an eye on his dental health. Plaque and tartar below the gumline are difficult to remove and puts your dog at risk for periodontal disease and related complications like kidney, liver, and heart problems.

Keeping your dog’s teeth clean keeps them healthy and it also helps prevent problems like bad breath. If you’re looking for a simple way to freshen your dog’s breath and complement a strong habit of oral hygiene, the dental treats on this list can help.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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