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Do Dental Chews & Treats Work?

Do Dental Chews & Treats Work?

Many pet owners are aware of dental chews for pets but aren't sure about their effectiveness. Today, our Echo Park vets discuss dental chews and treats for pets and how they can impact their oral health. 

Why Dental Chews & Treats Are Popular

As pet owners, we know that good oral health is critical to our pet's long-term health, and we’re always looking for new tips to help. Though tooth brushing is one of the most effective methods to keep your pet from developing periodontal disease (or an excessive buildup of plaque and tartar or inflamed gums), many pets aren't a fan of our efforts to keep their mouths healthy.

That’s why dental chews and treats have been growing in popularity in recent years. There are plenty of choices out there for products that purport to help keep your pet’s teeth clean. But before you get overwhelmed, let’s review some of these oral healthcare products to identify whether they are worth the cost.

How Dental Chews Effect Your Pet's Teeth

Truthfully there is no straightforward answer to whether dental chews and treats work. These products may help keep your pet’s teeth clean, but while these products may help to reduce tartar and plaque buildup, they’re not a substitute for regular tooth brushing and professional dental cleanings. Pet dental chews and treats should be considered an additional tool when it comes to caring for your pet's oral health.

We recommend that you consider these factors before buying dog dental chews to help keep your pet's teeth healthy:

  • Seek out long-lasting chew products such as nylon, rawhide, knucklebone or rubber chew toys (watch these closely and toss them if your dog gnaws them down so much that it becomes a choking hazard).
  • Make sure any treats or chews you provide are not too hard, as they can damage your dog’s teeth. Hooves, antlers, and bones are likely to cause problems.
  • Find out how many calories are in your pet’s dental chews as you don’t want to deal with a weight problem while trying to reduce dental issues.
  • Be skeptical of any claims that some products support dental health. Check the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s list of product recommendations for buys that are worth your money.
  • Remember to book your pet’s routine oral exam and dental cleanings at your vet’s office.

How Long Should Pets Use Dental Chews

Give your dog about 30 minutes to enjoy their chew each day. This should help to give them the maximum benefit out of their dental chews.


While some dental chews are effective for dogs, these aren’t a replacement for regular toothbrushing or professional dental care routines. These elements of a great oral health care routine should stay on your dog’s calendar, and their teeth should remain in good condition.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Is your pet due for a dental cleaning and examination? Contact our Echo Park vets to book an appointment for your companion.

Echo Park Pets Always Welcome

Echo Park Veterinary Hospital is a walk-in only facility! Improving the health of Echo Park pets is our passion. Arrive early for one of our first-come first-served appointments.

Contact Us To Learn More

Contact (323) 663-1107