The Benefits Of Dental Chews & Toys For Your Dog’s Teeth

The Benefits Of Dental Chews & Toys For Your Dog’s Teeth

Ensuring that your dog is healthy is one of your main priorities and there are lots of things to consider. One aspect of good health is maintaining your dog’s teeth. While there are lots of ways you can do this, including regular brushing, giving your dog dental chews and toys is a great way to ensure strong, healthy teeth.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people that believe dental chews and toys are nothing more than a gimmick, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, giving your dog chews and toys is a great way to improve their overall dental health and I’ve written a full guide on how dental health affects your dog’s overall wellbeing.

In this post, I’ll be talking about the importance of good dental health for dogs and giving you an insight into the benefits of using chews and toys.

The Benefits Of Dental Chews And Toys For Your Dog’s Teeth


Key Takeaways

  • Dental chews and toys are just one of many preventative methods for dental disease in our pet dog’s.
  • There is a wide range of dental chews available including sticks, rawhide, bones and biscuits.
  • Dental chews are proven to significantly reduce plaque and tartar accumulation which reduces the likelihood of dental disease.
  • Dental chews provide additional benefits, other than just to dental care, including mental stimulation, enrichment and behavioural improvements.
  • Always supervise your dog when giving dental chews, mainly due to the chocking risks associated.

Understanding The Importance Of Dental Health For Dogs

Dental Chews To Prevent Dental Disease

Poor dental health can cause a plethora of problems for your dog. Did you know that periodontal disease is one of the biggest health issues for dogs? What’s more, dogs that are affected by this condition usually start experiencing symptoms before the age of three years.

Symptoms of this disease include bad breath which many people think is normal for dogs, but it isn’t. On top of this, your dog may experience symptoms like weight loss due to not being able to comfortably eat, bleeding gums, discoloured teeth and loose teeth, among other things.

However, providing excellent dental care for your dog from an early age can go a long way in preventing this and other oral conditions. But it’s understandable that providing constant dental care can be difficult but that’s why dog chews and toys are so important. That said, I cannot stress the importance of regular brushing and, if you’ve never done it before, I’ve written a guide with tips on brushing your dog’s teeth at home. I also have a handy guide on other ways you can keep your dogs teeth clean without brushing for dogs that refuse to have their teeth brushed.

What Are Dental Chews And Toys?

There is a wide range of dog dental chews including rawhide, sticks, jerky, biscuits and even specialty chews. You’ll find that they come in many shapes and sizes and are usually made using ingredients that are beneficial to your dog’s dental health.

These chews are designed to reduce plaque, maintain strong teeth and can even decrease bad breath.

You’ll find that the chews contain several different beneficial minerals and there are even dog chews that are specially designed to target certain problems.

Benefits Of Dental Chews For Dogs

Dog dental chews are widely available from pet stores, your vet and even the local supermarket so it’s easy to get your hands on them. There are several benefits to using these chews for your dog and I’ll discuss these in more detail below.

Benefits Of Dental Chews For Dogs

Promotion Of Oral Health

According to research, as many as 20% of dogs were found to have an excessive build-up of plaque on their teeth. But by using dog dental chews, this can be drastically reduced, especially since most chews are designed to maximise contact with the tooth surface, effectively removing plaque and tartar.

But why is plaque so detrimental to your dog’s health? If your dog’s teeth are covered in plaque and tartar, this creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow which can lead to conditions like gingivitis, or gum disease.

Prevention Of Dental Diseases

As I mentioned earlier, periodontal disease is one of the most commonly reported health conditions in dogs but something as simple as offering dental chews can reduce the chances of this happening.

Studies have taken place with breeds that are more likely to develop periodontal disease and the results were promising. Dogs that were allowed to have dental chews showed greater resistance to developing periodontal disease as well as plaque build up, gingivitis and other oral health conditions.

Reduction Of Bad Breath

A lot of pet owners think that it’s natural for dogs to have bad breath but this is not the case. In fact, bad breath could actually be a sign of dental diseases in dogs but it’s been proven that regular use of dental chews can reduce this.

One of the main reasons for this is that chewing on a dental chew causes the dog to produce more saliva. The active ingredients within the chew mix with the saliva to effectively clean plaque from the teeth which can be a cause of bad breath.

Benefits Of Dental Toys For Dogs

As well as dental chews which can be eaten, there are a selection of dental toys that your dog can really get his teeth into. These also come with a wealth of benefits.

Benefits Of Dental Chews For Dogs

Mental Stimulation

If you have to leave your dog alone while out at work, running errands or when you’re spending time away from home, it’s vital that you provide mental stimulation. Just like humans, dogs can get bored but having something to chew on ensures that this doesn’t happen.

Behavioural Improvement

Dogs naturally chew on things to strengthen their teeth but they may also chew when they’re feeling bored. Some dogs may chew furniture, carpet and other unwanted items as this is often seen as bad behaviour.

However, the solution to this could be as simple as giving your dog a chew toy. It’s been demonstrated that dogs who have toys to chew are much less likely to display destructive behaviours.

Teeth Strengthening

One of the major benefits of giving your dog chew toys is that they will strengthen your pup’s teeth. However, you have to be mindful that some materials like bones can do more harm than good so it’s important that you choose the right chew toys to get the most benefits.

Choosing The Right Dental Chews And Toys

When it comes to choosing dental chews and toys for your dog, there are some important things to consider. Different dogs may have different needs so it’s important to take your dog’s needs into consideration.

Size And Hardness

One of the first things to think about is the size of the toy. You should never choose something that is too small and could act as a choking hazard. Moreover, while toys with small parts might look adorable, they’re just a gimmick and these parts can pose a risk to your dog.

You’ll also need to think about the hardness of a toy. While a hard toy is beneficial to your dog’s health, it is important not to choose something too hard. Things like cow hooves are far too hard and could chip or damage your dog’s teeth. Despite this, you’ll still see them for sale but they should be avoided.

Ingredients And Nutritional Value

Dental chews can contain a wide variety of ingredients but you’ll need to make sure that you choose an option that doesn’t contain any additives.

If you choose to give your dog a rawhide chew, it’s a good idea to look at how many calories the chew contains. These aren’t products that are suitable for all dogs as they can be too hard and may pose a choking hazard. However, they may be suitable for some breeds provided that the dog is supervised while chewing and the calorie content is not too high.

I would strongly recommend checking the ingredients which should be listed on the packaging to ensure the chew is going to provide suitable nutrition for your dog. Look for things like flaxseed, mint, oatmeal flour, and organic coconut oil.

Dog’s Age And Breed

Having spent some time looking at different dog dental chew options, it’s evident that some products are aimed at specific breeds and ages. It’s important to check the packaging to see whether the chew is suitable for your dog. Not only could using the wrong chews be dangerous for your pet, they won’t reap the benefits as much as they would when using a chew designed for your pets’ age and breed.

For example, older dogs may need something a little softer as their teeth may not be as strong as they used to be.

Potential Risks And How To Avoid Them

While dog dental chews and toys are largely beneficial, they do come with some risks. Before purchasing a dog chew or toy, it’s important to consider these risks and find ways to mitigate them.

Choking Hazards

As I previously mentioned, some dental chews and toys can be too small or contain small parts which come with a choking hazard. Rawhide is one of the biggest culprits but despite the potential choking hazard, these chews have been proven to be beneficial to your dog’s dental health.

One of the best ways to eliminate these risks is to only purchase chews that are large enough for your dog. What’s more, you should always supervise your dog when chewing so you can be on hand should there be any problems.

By the same token, it is possible to buy chews that are too large for your pet. When you offer a large chew, your dog may rush into chewing it. This can result in small pieces getting lodged in the mouth which may serve as a choking hazard.

Digestive Issues

It’s really important that you choose chews that are not just beneficial to your dog’s oral health but their overall health. Rawhide chews have been associated with gastrointestinal problems especially when combined with a carb-rich kibble diet.

Toxic Materials

It goes without saying that you should never give your dog chews that are made with toxic materials. If you’re buying plastic or rubber chew toys then you should avoid those that are made using BPAs. This is an additive which creates more elasticity in rubber and plastic but can be harmful to dogs.


Keeping your dog’s teeth strong, clean and healthy is an essential part of caring for your pet. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth is one way to maintain good dental health but offering chew toys and dental chews is a viable alternative to this or can be used as well as brushing.

It’s really important to find suitable chews that have excellent nutritional value, do not pose a choking hazard and that are not made with toxic materials. These chews and toys will ensure effective plaque removal, clean teeth, a reduction in bad breath and will lessen the chances of your pet developing periodontal disease.


Are dental chews safe for dogs?

Dental chews are perfectly safe for dogs provided that you choose the right size and make sure that the chew contains beneficial ingredients that won’t upset your dog’s digestive health.

What are the best dental chews for dogs?

The best dental chews for dogs are those made using natural ingredients. These pose little to no risk to your pet and provide great nutritional value.

What are the benefits of dental sticks for dogs?

By using dental sticks, you can ensure that your dog’s teeth remain free from plaque and tartar which, when left untreated, can lead to gingivitis. What’s more, regular chewing ensures strong teeth and can reduce the risk of periodontal disease.

Is there are additional benefits of dental chews, other than just to dental health?

Yes, dental chews & toys have many other benefits for your dog's health. These include mental stimulation and enrichment which in turn can improve welfare and reduce boredom behaviours which can become destructive.

Do dental chews work for puppies?

While ensuring good dental health is important for your dog, your puppy’s teeth and jaw may not be strong or developed enough to handle dental chews. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wait until your dog is fully developed before offering chews. Typically, you can start offering them around the age of six months.

Are chew toys beneficial for a dog’s dental health?

Yes. Not only do dog chew toys eliminate boredom but they are also an excellent way to strengthen teeth and help keep them clean.

Veterinary Author at | Website | + posts

Being a 5th year Vet student and having a passion for improving the health and welfare of all animals, I am providing with a veterinary perspective / insight into the real word applications, including strengths and limitations of the products it reviews. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to the suitability of the pet products reviewed on the site to keep your pet mobile, comfortable and full of life!

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