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Hanford Veterinary Hospital Blog

Are Dog Dental Chews Worth It?

Dog chewing on bone.

You’re reading this because clearly, your pet’s dental health matters to you. Hanford Veterinary Hospital is passionate about pet dental health because we know it affects overall health. Did you know bacteria can pass into the bloodstream through unhealthy gums and even cause kidney disease? 

Pet dental chews are popular for a reason, but they do bring extra calories into your pet’s diet, and do they legitimately help with dental health? Let’s look at what dental chews often replace and if they’re worth it.

Calories Count For a Lot

According to most estimates, 50 to 60 percent of pets are overweight today. Dental chews are not calorie-free, which is problematic for pets trying to lose weight

Weight aside, dental chews usually mean you are handing over a tasty toothbrush-shaped treat to your dog who trots off somewhere on their own to flop down and chew in peace. In other words, it’s a passive activity. For many pets who are either young or need behavioral improvements, those calories could be better spent on treats used for training. This includes cats, too, as training your cat can provide an excellent bonding opportunity. 

Minty Fresh Puppy Kisses

Now, if you’re using dental treats as a temporary break from horrible dog breath, that’s a sign we need to see your pet. Bad breath is not normal and is, in fact, a sign of disease. Most pets show signs of periodontal disease by age three. Think of how humans have bad breath after certain meals or just in the morning. Well, imagine if someone had bad breath all day, every day. You would know something was wrong, and it’s the same case for pets. The main difference is that it’s more typical for pets to go to bed without brushing their teeth than people. In an ideal world, they would get the same dental care

We can teach you how to brush your pet’s teeth, no matter how impossible it may seem. It’s important to remember never to use human toothpaste, which can be toxic. You can use a human toothbrush, but there are low-cost pet toothbrushes that will make brushing easier on both of you. 

Now back to our similarities. Just like us, pets need to go to the dentist once a year, and that’s where your veterinarian is able to clean your pet’s teeth, plus perform x-rays and possible tooth extractions. Your dentist takes x-rays because, just like us, simply looking at the teeth won’t give us the whole picture. So you certainly wouldn’t be able to notice this at home, but you will be able to detect the stink  Gingivitis or rotting teeth are common culprits for bad breath, and no amount of dental chews can mask that! 

Customized Chewing Plans For Your Pet

Chewing is an essential natural behavior that all dogs need a healthy way to express. So are dental chews good or bad? It all depends on your dog! Our veterinarians will work with you to find the best options for your furry family member. 

Maybe they need to shed a few pounds before they can add any new calories to their diet. Perhaps it has been a while since their last dental exam, or maybe they need their first one! They should never be given to overweight animals without an appropriate weight loss plan. They should certainly never be used as a breath mint to cover up bad breath, which is a symptom of poor dental health that will only get more painful for your pet and your pocketbook.

Give us a call at (559) 584-4481 to schedule an appointment with your Hanford Veterinary Hospital veterinarian and let’s discuss your pet’s unique needs one-on-one! 

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