Best Dog Dental Chews - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: August 2019​

Oral hygiene is an important but often neglected part of maintaining your dog’s health. The best way to keep your dog’s mouth clean is to use a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for dogs. Getting dogs used to toothbrushes can be a huge struggle, though. Dog chews are a fantastic alternative to brushing and can be used to keep your dog’s teeth in tip-top shape during cleaning sessions.

dental health dogsDental chews usually come in two forms: edible and non-edible. Edible chews make for great treats while maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene. Non-edible chews will clean your dog’s teeth while they act out their urge to chew down on everything.

You may even find that your dog prefers their non-edible chew toy to your slippers. The main drawback with non-edible dental chews is that some dogs will destroy any chew toy, so, to get the maximum benefit, choose a durable one.

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of choice, we’ve done all the research for you and come up with some great options for dental chews for all types of dogs and preferences. And if you’re not convinced by our picks, we will also provide a guide for what to look for when choosing the perfect dental chew for your pooch.

Best Dog Dental Chews 2019 - Reviews

1. Arm and Hammer Gator Dog Dental Toy

If you’re looking for a budget buy, the Arm and Hammer Gator dog dental toy may be your best bet. Arm and Hammer has a wide range of dental care products for dogs, and they have plenty of experience with knowing what both dogs and owners need.

The Gator dental dog toy comes with plenty of ridges and textured areas, perfect for gently scraping away plaque, and keeping your dog’s teeth clean while they gnaw happily. The chew toy is infused with baking soda, a well-known tooth-cleaning agent that will help scrape away any tough plaque that may otherwise have remained. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer, so if your dog’s breath is getting a bit too much to handle, a good chew on this toy will freshen that problem right up.

The Arm and Hammer dental toy is made of natural rubber, which is more than tough enough to handle most dogs. It’s not as resilient as tougher products, however, and you may find your dog plowing through this like it was an edible chew toy.  

If you don’t like the Gator design, Arm and Hammer also makes other types of chewable dental toys, in other shapes. So, you’ll be sure to find something that both you and your dog appreciate. Each toy comes with a hole for treats, perfect for encouraging reluctant dogs who aren’t too interested in gators or gorillas.

Though not suitable for aggressive chewers, this chew toy will keep any dog busy for a while, simultaneously cleaning their teeth and providing a great supplement to brushing.

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Pros

  • Contains baking soda for extra cleaning power and deodorizing
  • Has a hole so it can be used as a regular chew toy, too
  • Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes

Cons

  • Natural rubber may not last very long if your dog is an aggressive chewer

2. Nylabone Dura Chew XL Textured Dog Chew

When you’re looking for a non-edible dental chew, you want value for money and impressive durability. Nylabone products use a durable material that will last for months, no matter how hard your dog chews. The XL version of the Dura Chew is recommended for dogs larger than fifty pounds, but there are also smaller sizes for smaller dogs.

Nylabone is one of the best-known dog toy manufacturers on the market, and their products are renowned for their longevity and lasting value.

The Nylabone Dura Chew is designed from the ground up to be an excellent dental chew. When your dog initially starts chewing, they’ll take advantage of the nubs and ridges on the bone to clean their teeth.

But as the Nylabone is chewed, it will break down into a highly textured surface that will act like a toothbrush when the ridges have worn off. By creating this surface, the Nylabone Dura Chew will continue to be useful and effective at cleaning teeth even months after your dog first started on the toy.

Some dogs need some encouragement to start chewing on new toys. That’s why Nylabone has infused their toys with a variety of flavors specifically designed to appeal to dogs. What dog can resist beef jerky or peanut butter?

If your dog is a heavy chewer, you may want to monitor their use of the Nylabone. The material used in Nylabones is non-digestible, and if your dog gets too enthusiastic about chewing, they may be at risk of intestinal blockages. Try to limit the amount of time your dog spends with their Nylabone and make sure to monitor their use carefully.

If you’re looking for a non-edible chew that will last for months, the Nylabone Dura Chew is probably your best option. Not only is it made of incredibly tough material, but it’s also designed to clean your dog’s teeth throughout its lifespan. This feature makes it excellent value for money, despite a steep initial price.

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Pros

  • Designed to be long-lasting, even for aggressive chewers
  • Comes in different sizes so you’ll always find the right one for your pooch
  • Designed to function as a toothbrush as well as relieving stress

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Nylabone material is non-digestible, and aggressive chewers may get intestinal blockages if they consume too much in a sitting

3. Greenies Original Dental Dog Treats

Some dogs prefer edible dental chews to non-edible ones. There are thousands of products available, and many of them are very similar, making it difficult to know which one to choose. Greenies Original Dog Dental Treats is a hugely popular product and has thousands of positive reviews online.

Not only are dog owners satisfied with the convenience of using dog dental treats, but even the pickiest of dogs also seem to love these chews. This product has languished on the market for a long time. The formula has been revised, and improved upon, resulting in a high-quality product your pooch will love.

What’s even better, is these dental treats are made in America, and the Veterinary Oral Health Council has approved the product wholeheartedly. You can be sure that you’re getting a high-quality and effective product.

The chews are made of easy-to-digest materials and are packed with vitamins and minerals. So, not only will your dog enjoy their oral hygiene experience, but it’s good for their health as well.

The Greenies chews come in a variety of options for various types of dogs, and each one is specially formulated to produce maximum results. The puppy chews contain extra calcium while the aging care chews are softer while still providing excellent tooth and gum care. No matter what your requirements, Greenies will have an option for you.

They also have four sizes of chews for different size dogs, and you can choose how many treats you get in a pack as well. If you’re not sure that your dog will love the taste, you can order a 4-treat box as a tester, before you commit to a larger quantity.

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Pros

  • Approved by the VHOC and designed to be a nutritionally complete treat in addition to being a dental chew
  • Their product range has chews for all types of dogs, from puppies to seniors
  • The flavor profile is attractive to most dogs, even the pickiest eaters
  • Soluble ingredients mean that these chews won’t cause any digestive issues

Cons

  • May disappear very quickly if your dog is an avid eater or chewer
  • Relatively expensive

4. Natural Balance Dental Chews

Natural Balance Dental Chews are a great alternative to your dog’s regular treats. Not only do they work very well as a dental chew, but they’re also specially formulated to have a complete nutritional profile. If you can’t get around to brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, these dental chews make an ideal alternative.

Natural Balance dental chews also contain extra vitamin C, to support your dog’s immune system—a welcome benefit during the frigid winter.

Natural Balance makes a whole range of dog food and dog treats and has decades of experience in the pet nutrition business. This expertise carries over to their dental chews, which are designed to reduce plaque and tartar as well as freshen your dog’s breath.

With all the recent dog food safety scares, Natural Balance makes sure to test all their products for contamination and potential health risks. When you buy Natural Balance dental chews, peace of mind is assured. You’re giving your pooch a premium product, which is clinically proven to work and safety-tested regularly.

The dental chews come in a vast range of flavors, and you can even get a variety pack if you can’t decide on one. All the chews are made with meat and vegetables, which is easy to digest and provides a healthy nutritional boost.

If your dog has allergies or a sensitive stomach, you can try limited ingredient products. These alternatives only contain ingredients stated on the packaging, such as Duck Formula or Sweet Potato and Chicken Meal Formula.

All products are grain-free and enriched with Vitamin-C. It carries with it the promise of a premium product, which is both healthy and delicious.

The chews are available in three sizes, each specially designed with grooves to clean your dog’s teeth effectively. Thanks to their natural formulation, however, these chew toys are also softer than most alternatives on the market. Some dogs may be able to devour them without even chewing, completely negating the intended function of the product.

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Pros

  • Made with natural ingredients that are easy to digest
  • Added vitamin C for an immune system boost

Cons

  • Expensive when compared to other edible dental chews
  • Softer and less durable thanks to the natural formulation

5. Nylabone Puppy T-Rex Chew Toy

You may think that you don’t need to pay attention to your puppy’s oral hygiene since they lose their teeth early on. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Oral hygiene refers to the entire mouth and not just teeth. Gums play a pivotal part in oral health, and healthy gums usually mean healthy and strong teeth as well. By ensuring that your puppy gets the best oral care from a young age, you can prevent severe problems from cropping up in the future. The best way to do this is to use a puppy toothpaste and toothbrush, but dental chews are a reliable alternative.

Puppy chews are great for many reasons, apart from maintaining oral health. Chews are a fantastic way to train your puppy to chew on designated items, instead of your slippers or underwear. The process can also help relieve the irritation and pain that comes with teething.

Also, puppy chews can help promote good gum health, which is essential for great oral health in general.

The Nylabone T-Rex Chew Toy is specifically designed with puppies in mind. It’s softer than adult chews because it of the rubber it contains, which is gentle on your puppy’s gums and teeth. It’s infused with a delicious chicken flavor, too, so if you’re only starting to introduce your puppy to chewable toys, this is a great place to start. The massage nubs are resilient and will stand up to even the most determined puppy while giving them an amazing oral massage.

As is the case with many non-edible chews, always monitor your puppy when they play with their dental chew toy, especially with soft rubber ones. Puppies will often get very enthusiastic, and if they start ingesting too much rubber, they’ll suffer from digestive problems and even blockages down the line. If you’re unsure if a product is suitable or not for your puppy, consult with your vet beforehand.

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Pros

  • Designed specifically for puppies
  • Infused with chicken flavor to appeal to most dogs
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Excessive use can lead to intestinal blockages

How to Choose the Best Dental Chews for Your Dog

Each dog is different and will have different requirements when it comes to dental chews. They’re such a fabulous addition to your dog’s daily routine, so conduct extensive research on a dental chew toy for your furry companion before deciding.

Dental Chew Features to Look Out For

When looking for a dental chew, make sure to keep your particular dog’s quirks and tastes in mind. If your dog is always hungry and wolfs down their food, edible dental treats may not be a good option. They may not even touch your dog’s teeth before winding up in their stomach. Here are some features that will help you find the best dental chew for your dog.

  • Edible or non-edible. Dental chews can either come in the form of treats that your dog chews and digests or non-edible toys that are designed to be used for months on end. Which one you choose will depend on your dog’s habits. Some dogs enjoy the treat of an edible dental chew and will take their time licking and chewing it. Other dogs may just wolf it down in a single gulp. Many dogs will actually benefit from both edible and non-edible chews. They’ll enjoy the treat and then resume their continuous gnawing on a non-edible toy, and all the time they’ll be cleaning and brushing their teeth, combine this with some quality fish oil for dogs, and your good to go.
  • Will, your dog eat it? Some dogs can be incredibly fussy about what they do and don’t like. These dogs may dislike their chew toys and won’t play with them at all, while other canines might hate the smell of a particular edible dental chew.All dental chews are only effective when they’re used correctly, so make sure to try out a variety of flavors to find one that your dog likes. If your dog doesn’t understand the point of chew toys, get one infused with an enticing flavor that your dog loves. The taste will hopefully encourage them to start chewing for longer.
  • Effectiveness: There are so many products on the market, making the same claims that it can be challenging to know who to believe. Not all dental chews are created equal, and it’s difficult to tell the difference just by looking at them.A good indicator of quality is a certification from the Veterinary Oral Health Council, which evaluates products on their cleaning power. You can also check online reviews to see how other people responded to certain products that you’re interested in.
  • Size: Make sure you get the right size dental chew for your dog. Buying a chew that’s too big or too small will just result in problems and lessen the effectiveness of the chew. Small dogs will struggle to wrap their jaws around large chews and eventually give up, while large dogs may choke on chews that are too small for them.Most dental chews will have a size recommendation chart to guide you.
  • Durability: If you’re getting a non-edible dental chew, make sure that it’s durable enough for your dog. Some dogs are gentle nibblers while others are ravenous beasts that will tear a toy to shreds. Toys and chews that aren’t durable enough will actually pose a health threat to your dog as they rip off big pieces that can then cause blockages and other health issues. Also, if your dog is old or has tooth problems already, make sure to get them a softer chew that won’t hurt their gums or jaws when they chew on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can puppies have dental chews?

Yes, dental chews are an excellent way to maintain your puppy’s oral health. They’re great for promoting bite inhibition and will help relieve the pain of teething. Just make sure that you get a product specifically for puppies, as adult chews will be too hard and one that is right for their current weight.

Will dog dental chews get rid of my dog’s bad breath?

Some dental chews contain ingredients that are supposed to combat bad breath. In general, bad breath can be a symptom of gum disease in dogs, and dental chews can help combat gum disease as part of an oral hygiene plan. However, if you find that the bad breath persists despite a good oral hygiene regime, speak to your veterinarian as it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Can I use dental chews as a replacement for brushing my dog’s teeth?

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No. Just like people, dogs benefit from regular brushing to remove plaque, tartar, and improve gum health. Some dogs really dislike getting their teeth brushed, but this can be alleviated through training or by taking your dog to the vet for a regular clean.

Dental chews are a great supplement and should be part of your dog’s oral hygiene routine. They help clean off any plaque or tartar on your dog’s teeth and will also massage their gums for improved gum health. However, they should be viewed as a supplement to brushing and not a replacement.

Can I use raw bones as a replacement for dental chews?

Raw bones are meat bones that haven’t been cooked in any way. Incorporating raw bones into your dog’s diet a controversial topic amongst veterinarians. While they do provide the dog with many nutritional benefits, and also clean teeth well, there are significant risks attached to eating raw bones.

Many dogs that get too enthusiastic about the bones may break their teeth on the hard substance, especially when it is too big and too hard for them.

If you want to go the raw bone route, make sure to speak to your vet before proceeding. They’ll be able to advise you on the responsible way to start giving your dog raw bones and will also give recommendations on safe places to get bones from. They’ll also be able to advise you on the size of bone you should get for your pooch and tell you what signs of harm you should keep an eye out for.