The Best Dog Dental Chews & Treats in 2021
- Our Top List
- 1. Greenies Original Teenie Treats
- 2. Milk-Bone Brushing Chews
- 3. Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Dog Chew
- 4. Pedigree Dentastix
- 5. Pawstruck Natural Cow Hooves for Dogs
- 6. Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews
- Verdict & Review
- Greenies Original Teenie Dental Dog Treats
- Buying Guide
It’s just a fact that dogs need to chew to maintain oral health, and chewing can also be a soothing activity to help your dog settle down. When it comes to safety, there are 3 questions to consider:
- Is this product fully digestible?
- Can the dog break chunks or splinters off the product and swallow them?
- Can the dog get its jaw trapped in the chew or just swallow the entire thing?
The best ones are products that are soft enough for the dog to sink its teeth into, thus scrubbing away any tartar. Really hard chews have been known to fracture teeth and cause serious tooth wear. On the other hand, a chew that is too soft doesn’t remove tartar and will just be gobbled up in seconds, so you need to strike a balance between the two extremes for the ideal dental chew.
Our Top List
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1. Greenies Original Teenie Treats
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Greenies are one of the most well known and trusted products on the market. These products are shaped like toothbrushes and are easy for the dog to hold with their paws, plus they have no opening a dog can get its jaw stuck in. They don’t splinter, and even if a dog manages to swallow a fairly large chunk, it will just dissolve in the dog’s stomach.
The only downside to Greenies is they can pack a punch in terms of calories, from the teenie size containing 26 kcal/treat up to the large size with 145 kcal/treat. Extra calories per day from treats can rapidly add up, leading to an obese dog. They do produce Greenie products labelled as “weight control” but these products oddly seem to have the same calorie content as their regular line. So simply don’t feed too many and you’re fine!
- Fully digestible
- Comes in a wide range of sizes and flavors
- Comes in either a wheat gluten based formula or a pea based formula for dogs sensitive to wheat
- Has the correct chewy texture necessary to clean teeth
- Supplemented with essential minerals and vitamins
2. Milk-Bone Brushing Chews
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Milk-Bone, another trusted company with a long track record of making safe and tasty products for dogs, produces an interesting dental chew. It is shaped like a bone, but is twisted and covered with nubs and ridges designed to scrape tartar off the teeth as the dog chews. The chews can easily be held by the dog during chewing, don’t splinter, and don’t have an opening the dog can get its jaw trapped in. They are also fully digestible, so if the dog swallows a chunk of one, it will just dissolve in the stomach.
They come in chicken flavor only and are primarily made out of rice, a grain that dogs can digest easily and rarely develop allergies or sensitivities to. They have approximately the same calories per chew as Greenies when the same sizes are compared.
- Cleans teeth efficiently
- Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance
- Comes in three sizes to suit all sizes of dogs
- Supplemented with minerals and vitamins
3. Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Dog Chew
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This chew is a durable chew made out of nylon and flavored with beef, chicken, bacon, or peanut butter. It is shaped like a bone and is easy for the dog to hold while chewing, has no opening the dog can get its jaw caught in, and they are very durable. They are covered with ridges and bumps that help scrape the teeth clean while the dog chews.
Although they are not digestible, they don’t splinter and even a power-chewer cannot break a large chunk off; the dog just chews and gradually removes tiny fragments that pass harmlessly through the dog’s digestive system. I can attest they are durable-my dog has one, chews daily, and it is still going strong after three years.
- Very durable
- Cleans teeth efficiently
- Comes in several different flavors
- No calorie content
4. Pedigree Dentastix
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Dentastix comes in a form made primarily out of rice and a grain-free form primarily made out of potatoes and chickpeas. These are x-shaped sticks that are claimed to help clean the teeth; however, in my experience, the dogs rapidly chomp them up more like they were dog treats than dental chews. Many users do report that they clean teeth and freshen breath.
They have a lower calorie content than some other dental chews, ranging from 21 to 97 kcal/treat, depending on the size and exact version selected.
- Fully digestible, do not splinter, and are safe to feed
- Come in a rice version and a grain-free form
- Come in multiple flavors and sizes
- Supplemented with vitamins and minerals
5. Pawstruck Natural Cow Hooves for Dogs
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These are an all natural product made from cleaned, trimmed, and roasted cow hooves. They contain a natural cavity that you can fill with peanut butter, canned food, or liverwurst and then freeze, which will provide your dog at least an hour of entertainment trying to lick out the frozen filling.
While moderate and light chewers may not suffer harm from chewing on these durable hooves, strong chewers can cause them to splinter, have been known to fracture teeth on them, and can create sharp edges that can cause mouth and tongue lacerations. If they swallow sharp pieces, they can tear up their digestive tracts. They are also small enough that a large dog can simply swallow the whole thing, and I am not sure they are digestible. So be careful with these.
- All natural
- Can be filled with tasty products to entertain your dog
- No calorie content
6. Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews
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These are flat strips made out of beef hide, but unlike regular rawhide, they are very pliable and fairly soft, and they kind of turn into a product similar to chewing gum when the dog chews on them. They have an abrasive texture to remove tartar and have been coated with two enzymes that help destroy decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.
This product is often sold out of veterinary offices and recommended by veterinarians for cleaning teeth. It is fully digestible and fairly low in calories, ranging from 27 kcal/chew for the small size up to 88 kcal/for the large size.
- Cleans teeth effectively
- Often recommended by veterinarians
- Comes in several sizes
Overall, we have to recommend Greenies as currently the best dental chew on the market. They are safe, they work well to clean teeth, they come in a wide range of sizes and flavors to suit any dog, and most dogs love to chew on them.
The dog should be given one Greenie of the appropriate size per day, and for dogs that are prone to gain weight, consider cutting back slightly on their food or other treats to take into account the calories provided by the Greenie. Greenies are fortified with vitamins and minerals and are high in protein, so they are a healthy addition to a dog’s diet.
Dogs need to chew in order to maintain good oral health. However, so many dog chews seem to be unsafe, with endless numbers of reports of dogs choking on them, suffering intestinal blockages or tears, or even getting their jaw stuck in a large hole in the chew, requiring power tools for removal. Thus, venturing out to purchase a dog dental chew can often be a trying experience for a dog owner.
Dog dental chews generally come in three forms, those intended to last and be chewed on for weeks to months, such as antlers and plastic chew bones; those intended to be chewed up over the course of a few days, such as bully sticks; and those intended to be totally consumed on a daily basis, such as Greenies and similar products.
When examining a dental chew bone to see if you want to purchase it, look for the following features:
- Does it have an intermediate degree of hardness, not rock hard and not super-soft?
- For the products intended to be consumed in one or a few days, is it totally digestible?
- Is it possible the dog can break sharp splinters or large chunks off the product?
- Is the product shaped like a stick, rod, or bone? Avoid products shaped like balls or those that have large holes in them because they can be unsafe.
When selecting a dental chew, it is also important to check that the ingredients won’t trigger your dog’s allergies and that the dog is likely to want to chew on the product due to its flavor. There might be some trial and error involved in selecting something the dog will chew, so don’t purchase the largest package available the first time you try out a dog chew.
It is also important to select the proper size of dog chew. You want a chew that is large enough that the dog can’t simply swallow it. On the other hand, if you have a small dog, if the chew is too large to easily fit in its mouth, well, it might have trouble chewing on it.
Tips & Tricks
Always supervise your dog while it is chewing.
- If the dog’s durable chew becomes small enough to be a swallowing hazard, throw it away.
- Check the calorie content of your chews and adjust the dog’s food and treats accordingly in order to avoid weight gain.
- Totally consumable dental chews are only intended to be given as one chew per day, not a non-stop supply.
- If the dog doesn’t seem totally thrilled with a new chew you are trying out, sometimes you can get them to accept it by rubbing a tiny amount of peanut butter, canned food, or liverwurst on the chew; once the dog starts chewing and realizes how good it is, you won’t have to do this again.
We are the Pet Dog Pals, a group of avid pet owners, bloggers, product testers, and writers for all your canine needs! We own a collective 16 dogs and 21 cats to help us test and review pet products. Our top lists and tips come from experience to help you be the best dog owner you can be!