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Which dog dental chew is best?

Good oral hygiene is central to the overall health in your dog. A lack of proper dental care can lead to problems with teeth and gums that spread to the rest of the body, resulting in painful, costly and potentially fatal consequences.

Fortunately, dog dental chews are an easy, effective way to aid in teeth and gum care. The best dental treats, like these Greenies Original Dental Dog Treats, help clean teeth while also freshening breath. 

What to know before you buy a dog dental chew

Dental care importance

Cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums goes beyond simply improving breath. Just like humans, poor oral care can lead to a number of ailments, including chipped, rotting or broken teeth as well as sore and bleeding gums.

Bacteria residing in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body via the bloodstream, disrupting other organs and leading to serious and potentially deadly illnesses. At this point, solutions are likely costly and invasive, sometimes requiring surgery. Older dogs in particular may not be suited for such intense procedures.

It’s important to prevent such situations through regular teeth cleaning and maintenance.

How dental chews work

Dental chews are a type of dental supplement designed to maintain and improve oral health. They do this through the continuous chewing action that helps break up plaque from a dog’s teeth. Chews are made to take a while to break apart to increase effectiveness, brushing up against teeth and gums to disturb the surface. 

Natural vs. synthetic chews

There are two types of dog dental chews: natural and synthetic.

  • Natural chews are made from natural animal products, such as cowhides and bones. While they lack common allergens and tend to be high in nutritional value, they can break apart in ways that can cause obstruction in your dog’s digestive tract. It’s important that your dog chew thoroughly to break the chews into small, manageable pieces.
  • Synthetic chews meanwhile, are constructed with a slightly ridged texture to help increase brushing against teeth. They are often infused with enticing aromas and supplemented with vitamins and minerals. These tend to cost more money, and some dog’s aren’t interested in the manufactured look, taste and smell. They may also contain ingredients some dogs are allergic to.

What to look for in a quality dog dental chew


Both natural and synthetic dog chews may come in flavors to increase your dog’s interest or improve their breath. For example, bacon or peanut butter chews are more attractive to your dog, and they will likely associate the chew as a reward. Other flavors, such as mint, will improve breath.


Some chews are soft and easy to break down while others, such as bully sticks, are harder and require more intensive chewing. Consider your dog’s age and the current quality of their teeth and gums. For older dogs or those with sensitivity, you should opt for softer chews to avoid hurting their mouths. Younger and stronger dogs will be well served by more challenging and engaging chews.


The size of the chew should match the size of the dog in order to be effective. A chew that’s too small may be quickly eaten and swallowed, resulting in no brushing against the teeth. A chew that’s too large, however, may be harder to enjoy could cause obstructions if not fully broken down before consumed.

VOHC seal

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) tests products for their efficacy. A VOHC seal on a dental chew affirms it reduces tartar buildup by at least 10%.

How much you can expect to spend on dog dental chews

Quality dental chews cost $15-$30 depending on the size and number included.

Dog dental chew FAQ

What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?

A. Plaque is what will first appear on teeth. Plaque is characterized by a yellow film; while it’s unattractive, it can be removed by disturbing it through brushing. However, if plaque sits for too long, it can build into tartar, which is darker in color and more difficult to remove. Tartar may be on the teeth but it can also form below the gum line and lead to serious health problems.

Are dental chews enough to keep teeth and gums healthy?

A. While dental chews are useful in an oral hygiene regimen, they should not be the only means to keep your dog’s mouth and gums healthy. Dental chews should be paired with daily brushing. Dog-specific toothpaste helps keep teeth healthy; while some dogs won’t like brushing at first, they can grow accustomed to it by practicing regularly and rewarding them afterwards. Additional supplements such as pills, powders or liquids may also be worth investing in.

What’s the best dog dental chew to buy?

Top dog dental chew

Best Greenies Original Dental Dog Treats

Greenies Original Dental Dog Treats

What you need to know: These popular and tasty treats clean teeth while improving breath.

What you’ll love: This brand is beloved by owners and dogs alike, as these soft, toothbrush-shaped treats freshen breath and fight plaque. Greenies are offered in different sizes and are suitable for dogs of all ages and lifestyles.

What you should consider: With one recommended per day, you’ll go through these pricey treats quickly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Top dog dental chew for the money

Best Pedigree Dentastix Dog Treats

Pedigree Dentastix Dog Treats

What you need to know: These flavorful and aromatic treats disturb plaque while freshening breath in strong adult dogs.

What you’ll love: The hard, textured treats in this value bag disrupt plaque and clean to the gum line. They are offered in bacon, chicken or beef flavors and contain no added sugars or fillers.

What you should consider: The chews are designed for large, adult dogs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy

Worth checking out

Best Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews

Virbac C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews

What you need to know: These rawhides feature a patented Dual Enzyme System to improve effectiveness at reducing plaque and improving breath.

What you’ll love: These hard chews are coated with chlorhexidine to reduce plaque and even tartar. A rigid texture helps clean teeth and prevent dogs from breaking down the treat too quickly. Different sizes are available to match your dog’s needs.

What you should consider: These treats are expensive and not suitable for dogs with weak teeth.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy


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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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