Best Dog Teeth Cleaning Treats

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best dog teeth cleaning treats

I get it, cleaning a pet’s teeth can be a hassle. Yet, your dog’s oral health is a serious matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Did you know that simply implementing dental treats can reduce up to 70% of the plaque that’s responsible for gum inflammation? And as an added bonus, they even help to improve bad breath!

In most cases, simply the act of chewing can help break down some of the plaque buildup. Crunchy food (like apples) and dental chews often act as a toothbrush, scrubbing away plaque and any food leftovers.

But to be fair, you need to use them before your dog develops a problem, as they will certainly won’t “cure” any dental disease.

Here are a few telltale signs your pooch needs to see a professional:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Teeth discoloration
  • Loose teeth

Below are the best teeth cleaning treats for your dog.

What Are the Best Dog Teeth Cleaning Treats?

1. Best Bully Sticks All Natural Dog Treats

Best Bully Sticks 6-inch Supreme Bully Sticks (25 Pack) All Natural Dog Treats

Best Bully Sticks are not only tasty and highly nutritious, but they’re also perfect for improving your dog’s oral health.

Like most chews, they last for quite a bit of time, and work wonders for scraping away tartar and plaque buildup, which is the primary cause of bad breath and tooth loss.

They’re made from 100% dried beef, which means that there are no other ingredients that can be difficult for your dog to digest.

You can use them instead of rawhide and not having to worry about hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, and unhealthy chemicals or additives.

This product is made in a free-range Brazilian cattle, and it’s an excellent choice for supplying your dog with the nutrition he needs to stay active and healthy.

These treats measure 6″ in length, so they’re appropriate for dogs of all sizes. Though smaller to mid-sized breeds will certainly find them more rewarding than larger pups.

Update: You can now get these in 12″ as well, which is perfect for large dogs.

Pros

  • 100% beef
  • High in protein
  • Easy to digest
  • No artificial ingredients

Cons

  • Perhaps a bit too small for large breeds
  • Sometimes the sticks arrive thinner than usual

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2. Blue Dental Bones Natural Dog Chews

Blue Buffalo Dental Bones Natural Adult Dental Chew Dog Treat Regular 12-oz bag

Blue Dental Bones are designed to scrape your dog’s teeth and gums, and support better oral hygiene. While they’re on the soft side, it’s still firm enough to promote abrasive cleaning action.

The chews are potato-based, and don’t include corn, wheat, soy, or any artificial flavors and preservatives, which makes them easier on the digestive system.

However, they do contain some flaxseed (a vegan source of omega-3), along with parsley for freshening the breath, as well as some minerals and vitamins from carrots and blueberries.

As long as your dog isn’t sensitive to potatoes, this should be a good option. You can get these treats in various sizes to fit puppies and adult dogs ranging from 5 to 50 pounds and above.

Pros

  • Natural ingredients
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • Easy to digest
  • Contains omega-3

Cons

  • Some people think the texture is a bit harsh

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3. GREENIES Original Dental Dog Treats

GREENIES Original Regular Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 27 oz. Pack (27 Treats)

Due to their unique texture and toothbrush shape, GREENIES are ideal for massaging your dog’s gums, fighting against tartar and plaque, and keeping his breath fresh.

The treats contain wheat flour, along with other ingredients that are easy to digest for most dogs. They also include naturally derived colors, and a few vitamins and minerals.

Plus, they’re approved by the veterinary oral health council. While not a must, the presence of a VOHC seal of acceptance is always a good indication of quality teeth cleaning treats for dogs.

Keep in mind that wheat flour is listed as the first ingredient, which means this product has a lot of empty calories.

However, since you only need to give your dog one treat per day, you shouldn’t stress too much about it. Unless, of course, your dog is sensitive to gluten.

You can get these treats either in a small bag or a large box. They’re available anywhere from teenie size (for 5-15 pounds dogs) to large size (for 50-100 pounds dogs). Be sure to pick the right one for your pup.

Pros

  • Toothbrush design
  • Low in fat
  • VOHC approved
  • No corn or soy

Cons

  • Some people didn’t find them easily digestible

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4. GREENIES Grain Free Dental Dog Treats

GREENIES Grain Free Regular Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 27 oz. Pack (27 Treats)

These grain-free dental chews are pretty much similar to the Original GREENIES. They help with plaque and tartar buildup, while also freshening bad breath.

However, the treats don’t include wheat flour or other grains, so they’re more suitable for sensitive dogs with allergies or food intolerance.

Instead, they include pea flour and potato, which are tummy-friendly and easy to digest.

Plus, they share all the same advantages and shape of the classic product. In fact, they even taste the same!

As mentioned above, you can get these treats in different packages and various sizes.

Pros

  • Toothbrush design
  • Grain-free
  • Low in fat
  • VOHC approved

Cons

  • Some people say they smell different from the Original GREENIES

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5. GREENIES Weight Management Dental Dog Treats

GREENIES Weight Management Regular Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Weight Control Dog Treats, 27 oz. Pack (27 Treats)

When your dog isn’t as active as he used to be, excess calories can become an issue.

Luckily, GREENIES have a solution for overweight canines, and it has the same benefits, brush design, and taste as the previous ones.

The treats also have a low-fat percentage, although the number of calories is nearly the same as in the Original GREENIES.

Actually, the only difference is that they contain L-carnitine, which is known to boost metabolism, and can help reduce the storage of body fat, as well as the amount of fat in the bloodstream.

Here, too, you can choose between a variety of packages containers and sizes.

Pros

  • Toothbrush design
  • Low in fat
  • VOHC approved
  • No corn or soy
  • Contain L-carnitine

Cons

  • A negligible difference in the number of calories

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6. Natural Balance Dental Chews

Natural Balance Dental Chews Dog Treats, L.I.T. Limited Ingredient Treats Duck Meal Formula, Grain Free, for Medium Dogs, 13-Ounce

Both me and my dog ​​love Natural Balance. These treats have grooves that encourage chewing, and that alone should help reduce plaque and tartar, as well as bad breath.

They’re made with a minimal list of grain-free ingredients, such as potato, sweet potato, or pumpkin for easy digestion, and they even include real meat for great taste.

The chews also have a special flavor, which includes spearmint and parsley. Not only do these herbs have a deodorizing effect, but they also leave a minty-fresh breath behind.

All their products are supplemented with vitamin C, an antioxidant that has many important roles in the body.

Other than that, the fat percentage is pretty low, and there’s even a moderate amount of protein.

If you already feed your dog a grain-free diet, then this is an excellent addition to his menu. These treats come in four different flavors, and you can pick between three treat sizes depending on your dog’s weight.

Pros

  • Grain-free
  • Contain vitamin C
  • Low in fat

Cons

  • Some people mention the treats are a little hard

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7. Nature Gnaws Jumbo XL Thick Bully Sticks

Nature Gnaws Jumbo XL Bully Sticks 11-12 inch (6 Pack) - 100% All Natural Grass-Fed Free-Range Premium Beef Dog Chews - Our Longest Lasting Bully Stick for Large Breeds

These Bully Sticks by Nature Gnaws help promote oral hygiene when used on a daily basis, and they’re also extremely long-lasting.

This means your dog will stay occupied for long periods of time, while helping his teeth and gums at the same time.

The sticks are made entirely from meat. Unlike other treats that contain fillers and unnecessary additives, there’s nothing here but grass-fed beef.

This makes them high in protein and essential nutrients as well, along with being tasty to boot.

Since this product can stand up to some serious chewing, this makes it ideal for overly anxious dogs, or those who are aggressive in their chewing.

Plus, this is an excellent natural alternative to rawhide without added hormones, preservatives, or other chemicals.

These treats come in two sizes, but they may be a bit to0 much to handle for small dogs. Larger dogs, however, will find that this is a treat they’re able to enjoy for more than a few seconds.

If you have a dog under 15 pounds, get these extra-thin bully sticks instead.

Pros

  • Long-lasting treat
  • 100% beef
  • High in protein
  • Perfect for larger breeds

Cons

  • Not many sticks inside the package

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8. Native Pet Yak Chews for Dogs

Native Pet Yak Chews for Dogs (Bulk Size - 10 Medium Chews). Pasture-Raised and Organic Himalayan Churpi Chew. Long Lasting, Low Odor, and Protein Rich Reward Treat.

Native Pet Yak Chews are simple, wholesome treats. They’re quite hard in texture, meaning your dog will happily occupy himself with them while they clean his teeth.

The chews are made from only 3 ingredients: Yak’s milk, lime juice, and salt. So you basically know exactly what your dog is getting, and you don’t have to worry about chemicals or other additives.

Interestingly, yak’s milk is lactose-free, so it’s perfect for dogs who have issues with milk products.

While there isn’t any meat in the product, the yak’s milk is rich in protein, essential vitamins, and minerals.

In addition, the lime juice provides an added boost of vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system.

These treats are appropriately sized for small, medium. and large breed dogs, though they can be cut in half if needed. If for some reason you’re not fully satisfied with the product, you can simply ask for a refund.

Pros

  • All-natural
  • Only 3 ingredients
  • Gluten, grain, and lactose-free
  • Rich in protein
  • Includes vitamin C
  • Money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Some people notice that the thickness of the treats may vary

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9. Merial Oravet Dental Hygiene Chew

Oravet Dental Hygiene Chews for Medium Dogs, 14 Count

Merial Oravet chews are an excellent choice for giving your dog the best shot at perfect oral health.

They reduce plaque and tartar build-up, while actually repelling bacteria from attaching to your pup’s teeth. Less build-up means less decay, and much better-smelling breath.

The chews are plant-based, and they’re specifically designed to release an ingredient called delmopinol hydrochloride.

This substance works to coat your dog’s teeth, tongue, and gingiva in order to protect against bacteria, bad breath, and the forming of plaque.

On top of that, the treats contain parsley for added freshness.

Unfortunately, the company can’t release a full ingredient list due to patent and licensing regulations.

Also, keep in mind that when this product is first introduced, it may alter your dog’s potty habits somewhat until he’s used to it.

Although I only link to the medium-sized treats, they also come in other sizes. From extra small to large, there’s a size that will fit your dog just right.

Pros

  • Coat your dog’s teeth
  • VOHC approved

Cons

  • No ingredients list
  • May contain corn, wheat, and soy

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10. Whimzees Natural Grain Free Dental Dog Treats, Brushzees

Whimzees Natural Grain Free Dental Dog Treats, Medium Brushzees, Bag Of 12

WHIMZEES Brushzees have a unique shape consisting of grooves, knobs, and hollow spaces for reaching the small gaps between your dog’s teeth.

They also have ridges that help prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar, the primary cause of bad breath.

The treats are potato-based and contain a handful of natural ingredients, which means no artificial flavors or colors.

Plus, they’re GMO, gluten, and grain-free, so they should fit dogs with digestion issues, allergies, or sensitivities.

Since this is a vegetarian product, there’s even a good amount of fiber inside which is great for weight management and regular bowel movements

These treats come in four sizes suitable for dogs up to 60 pounds. If you like, there are other shapes besides toothbrushes, such as alligators and sticks.

Pros

  • Toothbrush design
  • No GMOs, gluten, or grains
  • Low in fat
  • High in fiber

Cons

  • Some people believe the treats are a bit hard to chew on

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11. Zuke’s Z-Bone Dental Chew Dog Treats

Zuke'S Z-Bone Dental Chew Dog Treats

Zuke’s Z-Bone chews have a great texture that helps them polish the teeth, and maintain clean and healthy gums, as well as fresh breath.

The treats are free of grains, artificial colors, and flavors. Instead, they’re made of ground potatoes, peas, and other wholesome foods such as apples and carrots, and even spinach, peas, and pumpkin.

In addition, they include parsley, which is a natural deodorizer that has antibacterial properties.

If you’re looking for a product that’s made in the USA, and doesn’t use source ingredients from China, you should give this one a go.

These treats come two fruity flavors, and they’re available in mini, regular, and large sizes.

Pros

  • No grains
  • No artificial additives
  • Low in fat
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Some people say the treats don’t last long enough

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List of Safe and Dangerous Dog Treats

Dental Treats

Dental treats are a convenient way to take care of your dog’s overall oral health.

They’re based on glycerin, which makes them chewy, and they’re also very flexible and specifically designed to fit between the spaces of your dog’s teeth to remove tartar and plaque.

Just stick to giving one treat a day to avoid weight issues.

Milk Bones

Milk bones are basically dog biscuits, which are indeed tasty. They’re similar to dental treats in that they remove tartar and plaque, but they don’t last as long since they tend to crumble and dissolve pretty easily.

Rawhide

Rawhide is a natural treat made from 100% dried animal hide.

You can find it in different sizes, and it’s usually shaped like a bone. It also takes a significant time to chew on, which is why it’s so effective at eliminating plaque and tartar.

However, I’m not a fan of rawhide ever since it can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs. Additionally, large rawhide may cause cuts in the mouth and even tooth fractures.

Compressed rawhide is an exception, as it’s less likely to break into large chunks.

Bones

I don’t recommend giving your dog nylon or regular bones simply because they pose a risk of ingesting sharp bone fragments, along with potential bacterial contamination.

The same goes for pig ears, which can leave cuts in the dog’s mouth or windpipe. Pig’s ears also haven’t been shown to offer any benefit in regards to dental health.

Homemade Treats

Carrots, apples, and celery are healthy treats that don’t stick to your dog’s teeth. Additionally, chewing hard fruits helps clean the tooth surface without damaging the enamel.

Dry Food

While not technically a treat, it’s worth mentioning that dry food may help to scrub your dog’s teeth naturally while he eats. This is especially true for larger kibbles, which are harder to break.

Feeding dry food has been shown to reduce dental tartar in dogs by 42%.

Tip: Check your dog’s food for the presence of an ingredient called Polyphosphate. Studies shows it can further reduce tartar by 55%, while preventing future build-up.

Are Dental Treats Really Enough?

We all know that good oral hygiene is all about daily brushing, but that’s much easier said than done.

Dogs love dental treats because they have a natural urge to chew things. These treats satisfy this need, and we can avoid some of the issues related to poor mouth hygiene just by giving our dog a chew.

Dental chews act like a real toothbrush in a way, because they have a particular texture that allows them to reach in between the teeth, close to the gums, as well as into other problematic places.

Also, if you need to divert your dog’s attention from thunderstorms or other stressful situations, they can be a great distraction.

So, while treats shouldn’t replace brushing your dog’s teeth or visiting the vet for a full cleaning, they certainly help you keep your dog’s mouth clean and fresh in between brushes.

RELATED: How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth with Coconut Oil?

Bottom Line

Just as you take care of your own teeth, you should help your dog avoid unnecessary tooth loss or gum disease.

Be aware that some dog treats for teeth cleaning include controversial food colors and preservatives that may do more harm than good. In this post, I included only the ones I’d feel comfortable giving my dog.

Clearly, dental treats are an important part of your dog’s oral health, but don’t give up on brushing his teeth just yet. After all, this is the best way to get rid of plaque, tartar, and stinky breath.

That said, remember to always supervise your dog, and have fresh water bowl available when you give him a dental treat, as large chunks can be dangerous if swallowed whole.